Earlier this month I came across the New Year’s Day cover of the Times from this year which stated that “Britain was entering 2020 with a newfound sense of optimism.” How wrong that headline would ultimately prove to be, as, in a matter of weeks, a pandemic was to spread across the globe bringing 2 national lockdowns with it in the UK, severe restrictions on business and civil liberties and huge operational challenges for learning providers. I know from talking to many of you over the last 9 months that you have very much been in the front line and a number of you also contracted, and thankfully, recovered from Covid.
Challenges and change
What has impressed me, when speaking to you over the last nine months, is how learning providers have responded to the constant challenges brought about by Covid. In many respects, the pandemic has shown the strengths of the sector and individual learning providers. You have played a critical role in protecting the welfare of many of our learners by providing wrap around and pastoral care during the lockdowns and then by providing a Covid secure environment for learning when providers re-opened learning centres. Feedback from Public Health colleagues and yourselves suggests that the sector has been hugely successful in reducing the transmission of Covid and keeping learners healthy. Equally, the pandemic has shown has committed providers are to providing a quality learning experience and just how agile, dynamic and responsive the sector can be, embracing and implementing change quickly in order to continue delivering learning.