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Lakes College praised for response to Coronavirus pandemic

Chris Nattress

THE swift actions of all at Lakes College has enabled thousands of staff and learners to work remotely during the coronavirus outbreak.

The college’s plan for digital remote learning kicked into action after the government announced all schools, colleges and universities would close their doors in a bid to slow down the spread of coronavirus Covid-19.

Staff attended training sessions to prepare themselves for online learning and the digital services team have been working tirelessly to ensure students can continue their learning as seamlessly as possible.

More than 100 extra laptops were made available to staff, and a further 50 for learners, with the college’s facilities team persevering to deliver all of the items.

The digital team set up an online help centre with walk-through videos, help documents and other resources to aid working remotely.

And in just a week, the college’s 233 staff were set-up to work from home.

Neil Hamblin, the college’s digital services manager, said: “We’ve had a fabulous response from the digital services team, even with five out of eight having to work remotely to support.

“There was a five-fold increase in support tickets closed in the first week of remote working.”

Staff and students have been praised for the way they’ve handled the change, enabling learners to continue their education despite the closure of the college buildings.

Principal Chris Nattress is confident this new way of digital learning will continue to improve as soon as learners return after the Easter break.

“The way everybody at the college – both staff and learners – have pulled together at very short notice is incredible,” he said.

“Fortunately we were already very advanced in our approach to digital teaching, learning and support which has no doubt helped us all in the circumstances.

“Although these are unusual times, we are committed to helping all our students and apprentices receive the very best education and results they possibly can.”

College staff were preparing for the outcome for some time and learners and staff have now transitioned their learning into an online format using Canvas and Microsoft Teams.

Copeland’s mayor Mike Starkie has praised the college for its response. He said: “It’s great to see the resilience of all those at Lake College, working together to make sure the learners can continue their education even though the college is closed.

“It’s challenging times like these when the community spirit shines through and makes us proud to be West Cumbrian.

“I want to congratulate those at the college for their hard work and determination – well done!”

Even though faced with the mammoth challenge, the college has also stepped up to help those in the community.

The ActivZone gym and sports facility has donated dozens of supplements and drinks to help keep frontline emergency service teams in the area hydrated and fuelled.

The college is now focusing on recruiting for the wide range of courses it offers, starting in September.

It also has a huge variety of Distance Learning courses which are proving popular as those taking part can study from their own home.

To find out more, visit www.lcwc.ac.uk

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