COVID 19 Update

A message to our employers and Learners

22/05/2020

As we approach another bank holiday in lock down it seemed like a good time for me to send you a general update from Axia Solutions and to outline our plans moving forward. In the next week Our Work Based Trainers will also provide you with a brief 'learner update' highlighting progress and concerns.

Since the Prime Minister's Sunday address when he urged companies to return to work we have not noticed a great deal of change to the way workplaces have been operating since March 20th. Certainly for Axia, in the main, we continue to work from home.The current system of remote learning is working well for the majority of our learners and staff and is still the safest option. However, our hope is that as we move towards July that we will be able to plan in some face to face learning, back on site.We really miss this part of the job.

Please keep us updated as and when you are allowing visitors to site and what your health and safety protocols are likely to be.

Lots of things are happening on a daily basis across the educational landscape but below are some snippets you may find useful.

Key Training News

  • Throughout lock down Axia continue to support learners to achieve and complete their qualifications. Congratulations to this months successes.
  • To help with the timely achievement of qualifications Ofqual and respective awarding bodies are gradually releasing details of how we can claim Centre Assessed Grades for learners who were due to achieve before the end of July 2020. Axia intend to make use of this opportunity for appropriate learners. We will keep you posted.
  • In addition some assessments are being adapted by awarding bodies and End Point Assessors. Once we have further details about these adaptations we will update you as to which learners may be able to benefit.
  • In recognition that Training will be more important than ever to support economic regeneration we are still working with companies and enrolling new learners. All of our current programmes are running and recent new additions to our portfolio include: Facilities Operative, Facilities Management Supervisor and Lean Manufacturing Operative.
  • The current crisis has highlighted how important it is for most of us to have a basic proficiency in Digital Skills if we are to stay connected both in a work and personal capacity. Axia will be offering the 'new' Essential Digital Skills qualifications once they are released later this year. These are fully funded qualifications. We'll keep you posted on this as details become available.

Sadly Axia are saying goodbye to Andy Clowes who has been with the company for 13 years. Andy is moving on to a new opportunity with Staffs University. We wish him well. There will be no disruption to programmes as Andy hands learners over to trusted colleagues.

All that remains is for me to wish you a pleasant bank holiday weekend - whether you are at home or in work and let's hope the sun continues to shine.


04/05/2020

As we enter the second full month of training via lock down I think it is safe to say that good progress is being made with learners, both furloughed, working from home or key workers. I am delighted that the vast majority of Axia students have remained in-learning with only a few opting for a break in learning.

For those who are on a break I'd like to reassure you that we are still happy to support with none training activity including health,well-being and planning what will happen when they return to learning.

Those who are furloughed or working at home and are still on programme have been able to make great progress on acquisition of knowledge and 20% off the Job learning - this will no doubt be a great help to overall progress when companies become fully operational again.

Now that the dust has settled I wanted to let you know that Axia are in a position to support enrolments of existing staff on apprenticeship training. In particular staff who are at home or furloughed may benefit from the opportunity to use this time productively for themselves and for their organisations. There has never been a better time to complete training in preparation for assisting businesses with the regeneration that will be required post lock down. The learning experience also makes employees feel connected, raises motivation and helps to maintain some of the disciplines required when back in the work place.

If you wish to discuss potential opportunities to engage more of your staff in training now or in the near future please get in touch and I'd be happy to arrange a chat.<

In the meantime have a good week and don't hesitate to contact us about any concerns or questions you might have.

27/04/2020

I hope that you are all coping as best you can as we enter the second week of the second phase lock down. The sun has been shining on us which has helped to keep spirits up.

As a small business we appreciate the struggle all of our partner businesses are experiencing at this time. Axia staff continue to work from home and opted not to furlough its staff as we knew that training would be more important than ever to our learners and our companies. Contact with Axia staff has enabled learners, both furloughed and those who are still at work as key workers, to keep focused on the future, to be productive for themselves and their companies and also to have a link to the outside world that we hope assures them that they are important to us and to you.

The great news is that to date we have managed to remotely engage with 93% of our apprentice learners. In addition, some of our Functional Skill classroom learning was put on hold but this is gradually opening up now as we engage with our FS learners at home or in the work place.

Thank you to all of you who have been so supportive and proactive in helping us to make contact with all individuals, encouraging them to make good use of this time to advance their learning.

So what have we been up to?.... Well we have been communicating with learners through email, telephone, via One File and some learners have now started to be seen on a one to one basis via Video Conferencing. We have also enjoyed success in holding group workshops remotely using VC facilities. Thank you to all who have persevered and made the most of this new opportunity!

We have even been remotely signing up new learners, getting apprentices and Functional Skill learners on board with learning. Axia still have access to government funding for free training so please do get in touch if you require this.

Important Announcements

Friday was a good day for national updates from the ESFA and Government with good news on some of the key issues that we have been lobbying for now since lock down. Primarily, there have been some relaxations around Functional Skills that you need to be aware of. Please read below:

  1. Government have now given Functional Skills teachers permission to teacher assess learner work in the same was as is being allowed for GCSE and A levels. Axia will be using this option with appropriate learners but we are waiting for City and Guilds to release details on how these judgement will be made. They in turn are waiting for Ofqual to provide guidance to them. The consultation is expected to be complete by 7th May. As soon as we have clarity we will be in touch with the Axia learners this applies to. In the meantime I would urge all employers to join in with us to keep learners focused on Functional Skills so we have the evidence that we need for teacher assessed accreditation.
  2. We are also delighted that at last our level 2 apprentices who have completed all elements of their programme, except for the examination in level 2 maths and English Functional Skills can now complete their programme without sitting these exams. The government normally insist that the exam is taken, although it doesn't have to be passed, but for now this has been waived and learners will be able to complete without this.
  3. In addition the government has finally agreed to offer some limited financial support for High Quality providers who have not furloughed their workforce to ensure we have the cash flow to continue operating. We have a 4 day window to apply so a busy week lies ahead!

I will continue to keep you updated on matters around training as we go forward. Once again, my heartfelt thanks to you and your workforce for continuing to work with as part of an effective partnership.

Stay well and stay safe.

Warm Regards

Paula Rowland

Axia: Managing Director

09/04/2020

Dear All

As the Easter weekend approaches I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over the last two weeks helping us to help your learners to continue with their training programmes at Axia as we all try to navigate our way through the effects of the current global crisis.

In just over a week since Axia staff have been working from home we have made positive contact with over 70% of our learners. Most of whom are now engaged with remote learning and have been completing work and sending it to their Work based Trainers and Tutors to mark, return and advise on. For learners who are furloughed we are focusing on the Off the Job elements of training. For those who are in work or working from home this is a very good time to reflect on development of practical skills, as in many cases individuals will be taking on new roles and responsibilities to cope with the crisis. We want to support these learners through training.

In the coming weeks we will be looking at developing more remote learning opportunities including our expansion of video conferencing. There have also been some positive national developments around Functional skills that may enable us to assess learners remotely. As soon as we have clarity on this we will keep you updated.

After the Easter break the Axia team will be aiming to ensure that we pick up learning with those who have not responded or not been able to respond to us to date. We don't want anyone to get left behind! I will be contacting you with an individualised report for your company to keep you updated on the learning activity.

In the meantime I hope you all remain safe and well and if you are not at work, enjoy the sunshine and the Easter break.

Kind Regards

Paula Rowland

Managing Director

Axia Solutions

Urgent update to Employers: Furloughed workers - 30/03/2020

This week many of you will be forced to undertake the difficult process of furloughing much of your workforce. There has been some confusion amongst organisations as to how this affects employees engaged in apprenticeship or other funded training. I wanted to take the opportunity therefore to clarify that the decision to furlough does not, in any way, require employees to discontinue or put on hold their training programmes. Indeed, whilst training is funded learners are required to continue with programmes.

At Axia we have made the decision to work from home ourselves and continue to provide training remotely. It is therefore an ideal opportunity for learners to use their time to make considerable progress with programmes. This will be of benefit both to them and the organisation once they are able to return to work. Contact with familiar staff at Axia should also be a positive experience that will provide a focus and help support individuals who suddenly find themselves in what could be an unfamiliar or isolated situation.

The government and funding agencies have made allowances around furloughing to support training opportunities. Any work undertaken by learners at home can be logged as Off The Job Training. Learners can continue to build knowledge, complete assignments, compile portfolio work and even practise skills. In addition it is a good time to work on functional skills to ensure they are test ready.

Axia's Trainers and Tutors will attempt to make contact with all learners by the end of this week. Please support them in this.

I am happy to receive individual emails or calls from employers about this or any other training related enquiries.

Best Regards

Paula Rowland

Managing Director

Coronavirus Update - 23/03/2020

We wanted to let you know, that here at Axia we are working extremely hard to do everything we can during these uncertain and challenging times to ensure that we continue providing our customers and learners with a robust service. It is of real importance to us that we do not let employers or learners down and we appreciate that over the next few months you will be keen to continue with training. The development of skills is going to be more important than ever now and in the future and is likely to offer a sense of normality and a focus on better times ahead.

With this in mind we have introduced a contingency plan to support all learners whilst face to face contact is not possible. All of our staff are geared up to work from home and provide remote support and training via email, One File, a variety of on-line platforms, video conferencing and telephone conversations. We are confident that in this way learning can be sustained and will be highly effective.

If this is to be successful it is vital that learners communicate with us from either the work place or at home. We are happy to offer guidance on how you can access learning and support whatever your current level of ability in digital applications. You will be able to undertake learning around acquisition of Skills, Knowledge and Behaviours and Maths and English. Work can be submitted, marked and feedback provided and learners can make genuine progress towards completion of programmes. Over time we hope to be able to offer remote examinations and End Point assessments but we currently await awarding body and EPA guidance on this.

We would ask that Employers support employees to continue with regular contact with their Work Based Trainer or Functional Skill Tutor.

If you need any assistance please don’t hesitate in contacting info@axia-solutions.com.

Further updates will follow as events unfold but in the meantime thank you for your patience and co-operation.

kat.norfolk@thekeysupport.com