After a strong response to a recent grant call from the Education and Training Foundation (@E_T_Foundation), six new Essential Digital Skills Champions have been appointed from the FE and Training sector.

The Champions will contribute to the ETF’s Essential Digital Skills (EDS) professional development programme which supports teaching of essential digital skills for life and work based on the national standards.

The Champions will advocate essential digital skills provision across the sector, share good practice and help to connect those involved in EDS courses.

The EDS Champion role is for individuals, but the grant is made to organisations to support their Champions. The six selected organisations and individuals represent a cross section of the FE and Training sector:

  • Birmingham Adult Education Service (BAES) – Anke Jacobs
  • HSDC (Havant and South Downs College) – David Galloway
  • New City College, London – Andy Greaves
  • Our Newham Learning & Skills, London – Farhad Esfandiari
  • Runway Apprenticeships Limited t/a Runway Training, South East – Leanne Selway
  • WEA, East Midlands – Nusrat Bhatti

Andy Greaves, Deputy Director Digital at New City College and one of the newly appointed EDS Champions, feels it’s an exciting opportunity to build on progress to date:

“We supported 850 EDS learners last year and learnt a lot through that process. We want to share that learning with colleagues across the sector and also continue to learn from others. The EDS Champions programme provides that mechanism for cross-sector collaboration and peer-to-peer support. I am really looking forward to engaging with colleagues and helping to build a strong and sustainable support network.”

The specific responsibilities of the EDS Champions include:

  • running a Reflective Exploration project with at least two colleagues in their own organisation to reflect on a specific aspect of EDS delivery then sharing that learning
  • leading live Q&A sessions for the EDS Community of Practice
  • running live online meetup events
  • organising a face-to-face celebratory event to share learning from the Reflective Exploration
  • contributing materials and discussion on the EDS online Community of Practice.

The six EDS Reflective Exploration projects will focus on essential digital skills activity in Vocational, Preparation for Life and Work and ESOL provision. The EDS Programme is also collaborating with the ETF’s latest Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA) programme, which includes EDS Action Research projects focused on the EDS offer for Prison Education and SEND.

To help launch the EDS Champion programme, a new series of Live Chat sessions is starting every Wednesday lunchtime at 1pm. The live online sessions will last just 30 minutes and give an opportunity to meet the EDS Champions who will start to share some of their experience, ideas and resources from their essential digital skills delivery.

With so many providers starting to deliver Essential Digital Skills qualifications, the aim is to offer practical support and draw people’s attention to the resources available in the ETF’s overall EDS programme.

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