How We're Responding to Our New Reality

How We're Responding to Our New Reality

The Coronavirus crisis has turned our lives upside down.

Our educational/professional, home and social lives have changed beyond recognition. Day by day, each of us are learning to navigate a new and challenging world. We’re all being called on to rise to this new challenge, each in our own way.

You will know the advice by now – stay home, adhere to social distancing and wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!

While we change and adapt to limit our physical movement and interaction, people everywhere are changing and adapting to increase our virtual access and interaction.

Life has not stopped. It’s just taken on dramatically new forms. New ways of communicating with our friends and family, new ways of continuing our learning and creative expression.

Across the further education and training (FET) sector too, we’re adapting to the new reality. We’ve been working hard to ensure that we can continue to offer learning and training opportunities wherever possible, as well as support the national effort to combat this disease.

We will be here, throughout this crisis providing learning online. As the crisis continues, then slowly gets better and when life eventually begins to return to normal, we’ll be here providing education and training in all its forms to new learners across Ireland.

For now, we’ve been adapting to the new reality. You can read about what we've been doing below.

Free Online Learning

SOLAS has made the entire eCollege platform available for free. This is an online training facility that provides a range of accredited online courses, from graphic design to data analytics. The courses focus on digital skills and are designed to match the skills employers look for when hiring. Make the most of your time spent at home - boost your skills to begin your career or move into a new one. It’s free!

Courses Moving Online

Our Educational Training Boards (ETBs), who oversee the provision of further education and training in their area, have now begun to run courses online, making sure that current learners can continue learning throughout of the Covid-19 crisis. From webinars to Zoom, we’re delighted to see each ETB facilitate their learners, apprentices and tutors with online learning.

Supporting our Healthcare Professionals

The FET sector is also helping to develop the skills around the country required in the national effort to combat this pandemic and protect people as best we can.

For example, Laois Offaly ETB are currently providing bitesize online training in Infection Prevention and Control to people who have particular qualifications, which will increase the number of frontline staff tackling the crisis.

We’ve also heard from ETBs who have donated their personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, and from others who are using their 3D printing technology to produce face masks. ETBs are also using their training kitchens to prepare meals for healthcare staff; and have given the use of their vehicles to organisations and people who need it most.

Across the sector, our organisations and our people are showing immense innovation, adaptability and solidarity, and are working hard to provide all possible help that they can.

Supporting Communities

Community education is very important in these challenging times. We understand that for parents with difficulties in reading and writing, helping children with their schoolwork can be tough. The National Adult Literacy Association (NALA) is offering free, over-the-phone training on topics ranging from fun learning resources, to support for those who may need help understanding health information.

AONTAS has developed a useful resource on their website to help learners, tutors and the community.

Further Information

If you would like to find out more about how we are supporting learners, you can find more information on the SOLAS website, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

We’re proud to be part of the national effort during this crisis and we look forward to continuing to support learners, ETBs and employers when the crisis has passed.

Further education and training will be essential to helping Ireland recover. We look forward to playing our part in helping people begin their careers, return to employment and upskill for our shared future.