Update from FET Stakeholders Forum

By piofficer, Thursday, 6th May 2021 | 0 comments

The following agreed communication is issued on behalf of the FET Stakeholders following an engagement yesterday, Wednesday 5th May:

The FET Stakeholders group met on May 5th, 2021, to discuss planning for the next stage of the phased return for learners in FET settings. 

Apprenticeships

The next stage of time-critical return for apprenticeship (consortium-led where required as well as craft) has been agreed.  SOLAS will engage with ETBs who have craft apprenticeship classes starting remotely during May. 

Commis Chef: it was agreed that the 47 apprentices, across 6 ETBs will recommence on-site training for practical elements only from May 10,  2021. 

Butchery: it was agreed that the 75 apprentices will recommence on-site training for practical elements only starting from May 10, 2021.

Programmes requiring on-site delivery

In order to progress the next phase of return ETBs have been asked to provide details regarding the number of learners expected on site in FET centres in respect of the programmes noted below. 

  • VTOS, BTEI and LTI 
  • Skills to Compete, Skills to Advance and Skills for Work programmes
  • Apprenticeship, Traineeships and practical courses e.g., Horticulture, Welding etc.

The date for submission of this return was extended until May 11, 2021, ETBI will revert to each ETB individually in this regard if required in advance of forwarding for endorsement at the next FET Stakeholder group meeting. Those ETBs who have already returned learner numbers in this regard and were agreed at the stakeholder meeting yesterday, will be notified today.

This is not a return to tuition, rather it is a return to facilitate instruction on specialist equipment required for the completion of practical elements. Emergency remote delivery can be augmented by on-site delivery as appropriate, for practical elements only. Onsite presence should be restricted to those engaged in practical elements only and is a subject to maintaining the minimum number of learners required onsite at any given time. It is not expected that the number of learners returning would exceed 5% of the largesse of the ETB FET provision at any one time.

To support this proposed phase of return, ETBs must ensure that the appropriate infrastructure and cleaning protocols provided in the original guidelines issued to the sector are in place and adhered to. (Please refer to Appendix 9 of the FET COVID-19 Procedures Guidelines document Page 33)
 

Schools of Music

The FET Stakeholder group issued advice for a limited return to on-site provision for schools of music in LCETB, Cork ETB and CDETB. Representatives from the FET Stakeholders group engaged with the Arts Council on Friday 30th April. It was noted that no provision had yet been made for a return to on-site provision in the private sector equivalents of the ETB Music Schools. The Arts Council undertook to consider the progress in the public sector provision in their advices.

Further to the advice already issued by the FET Stakeholders group in relation to Schools of Music, the stakeholders confirm that – in common with other programmes – individual teachers may opt to engage, on-site, with vulnerable learners. As with the other programmes, the teacher is responsible for deciding if a vulnerable student requires on-site engagement. They must then consult with management who have responsibility for ensuring that any on-site engagement is planned in line with minimising footfall in buildings in use by the ETBs. As with other advice for vulnerable learners, the on-site engagement must be minimised to the extent of addressing the vulnerability and supporting the student to return to remote delivery, where possible.

The position regarding Music Generation provision will be reviewed at the next meeting and an update will be issued afterwards. 

Hairdressing Junior and Senior Trades Practical Examinations.

The FET stakeholder group agreed a communication to SEC on the outstanding matter of the Junior & Senior Trade Hairdressing Examinations. The absence of information and exams dates concerning the practical elements of Junior and Senior Trade Hairdressing Examinations has placed unnecessary pressure on both FET learners and providers, as both the Junior and Senior Trade Hairdressing Examinations are outstanding from 2020 and now 2021. This situation has not been experienced with any other awarding body.  The FET Stakeholder group confirmed their openness to working with the State Examinations Commission to reach a solution on this matter. Updates in this regard will be shared as they become available.

Graduation Ceremonies

 ETBs should conduct any planned FET graduation ceremonies remotely, with graduands conferred in absentia. 

Youthreach and other programmes delivering Leaving Certificate/LCA

Youthreach and other relevant FET Centres that offer Leaving Certificate/ Leaving Certificate Applied will be closed to learners on May 28th to facilitate the completion of accredited grades process. Learners will not be on-site in the centre for the week of May 31st. Such centres will reopen to learners on June 8th . This provision only applies to the FET centres offering Leaving Certificate/ Leaving Certificate Applied.

Conclusion

The FET overarching guidelines continue to apply. The planned return of FET provision will continue in this phased approach and in accordance with current Governmental COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021 – The Path Ahead frameworkand based on full adherence to the current national guidelines and health and safety regulations. As you are aware the interim arrangements for over 60s ended on April 12th, 2021, and circular letter 0021/2021 remains in place in respect of teachers and SNAs.

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