Tutor and Assessor Craig Wiltshire, from Coleg QS in Cwmbran, knew he wanted to improve his technology skills to better relate to his learners, but didn’t quite know where to begin. Thanks to his fully-funded Digital Learning Design Apprenticeship with ACT, Craig, 44 from Tirphil, is not only gaining a recognised qualification but is sharing his knowledge with others.
Digital Learning Design is an 18 month programme, aimed at those in the education sector who have an interest in digital learning and wish to develop their knowledge and skills in this area. The qualification teaches the project tools and techniques associated with digital learning, which learners can then implement into their own delivery and current learning environment.
“I decided to enrol onto the Apprenticeship as I knew I needed to present my classes using technology, to better relate to my learners. I was somewhat in-experienced in digital technology but knew that if I acquired the skills, it would make my learners’ journey much more enjoyable and fun. I also wanted to interact more with my learners as a group so learning about collaborative technology was a huge priority for me.”
Since early 2018, Craig has worked as an Assessor, Tutor and AM2 Specialist for Coleg QS - a Cwmbran based training provider which offers training and learning opportunities within the Electrical, Construction, Manufacturing, Engineering and Motor Vehicle Industries. Craig teaches new Level 1 learners right through to more experienced Level 3 learners. Therefore, it is essential he is as adaptable and innovative as possible in his teaching approach, in order to meet his learners varying needs. Despite having a wealth of experience, Craig knew an Apprenticeship would not only enable him to build on and strengthen the skills he already had, but would create greater career prospects and opportunities for him. On the Digital Learning Design programme, Craig has discovered a range of digital tools from Wix, Padlet and Nearpod, through to QR codes, Canva and Powtoon. All of which he now utilises in his own delivery, along with project management and user experience design.
“I wanted to master the technology, but felt it was important to gain a recognised qualification for my own future career. This enables me to potentially go down a different teaching route or train my peers in the use of this technology.”
Through his Digital Learning Design Apprenticeship, Craig’s confidence with technology has soared. Not only is his Apprenticeship enabling Craig to upskill on the job, but his employer and learners are directly benefitting from his new knowledge too. Incorporating elements of what he has learnt on the programme into his day-to-day role has resulted in a huge increase in the success of his learners.
“I have made an absolutely phenomenal leap in the skills I have gained. Firstly, something as simple as my typing skills have come on leaps and bounds. I now feel very confident and have not only developed a Microsoft Sway for the AM2 practical exam, but I am already delivering the full day session using it. As a result, I have seen a jump in results of candidates passing the exam first time which is great. I am proving that the use of this technology is directly benefiting our learners. The positive feedback from interactive learning is satisfying and rewarding, both to myself and my learners. I also feel confident in training other staff members how to utilise this technology too.”
With technology revolutionising the way we live and work, digital skills are fast becoming an essential requirement in almost every sector or industry. Through his Apprenticeship, Craig has been able to develop his digital literacy skills in the workplace and gain a qualification at the same time. Despite being nervous at first, Craig feels the support he has been given by both ACT and his employers is contributing massively to his success and the positive outcomes he is achieving.
“My employers have wholeheartedly supported me from the beginning and of all the courses I have ever done (not just in education but in my life) I have never received as much support as I have from my assessor at ACT. She recognised I was struggling in the beginning but pushed me to achieve. I am so grateful to her for all the support she has provided me along the way. I am very, very pleased with the support I have received from ACT.”
Speaking on his progress, Craig’s Digital Learning Design Assessor, Angelina Hummel, added: “Craig has made amazing progress and is using new digital tools with his learners, which is resulting in very positive feedback. He is really blossoming as a person and is so much more confident in trying out these new tools and technology in his workplace.”
With employers reporting a lack of digital literacy skills in the workforce, many are struggling to recruit for certain vacancies within their business. Research suggests that by 2040, 90% of jobs will require digital literacy (Jisc 2018). While it’s clear that the digital skills gap is going to be an increasing issue for many businesses going forward, Craig is proof that an Apprenticeship is a fantastic way to equip your workforce with the skills needed for the future. Craig’s advice to anyone who feels nervous about taking on an Apprenticeship is to “just go for it”.
“What better way to improve yourself than on the job learning. The feeling you get when at first you don’t understand something but then progress to being able to pass on that knowledge and skill on to learners and staff alike is a great feeling. My own philosophy on the meaning of life is 'to learn'; there is always something you can do to better yourself and this type of training and learning is perfect for that purpose.”
ACT offer a range of fully-funded Apprenticeships to help employers and their workforce develop their digital skills. In the modern workplace where these skills are fast becoming essential, the question is, can you afford not to digitally upskill? Visit www.acttraining.org.uk/employers or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.