“One unique element was the direct interaction between Historic England and Strode College in the course design, development and delivery. Historic England weren’t just the employer, they were a subcontracted trainer for technical aspects, for instance arial photography of historic sites. Historic England recognises the importance of this programme and has dedicated staff resource to support it. We believe this partnership working was key.
“Another unique aspect is that it is a national programme, engaging employers throughout the country, with training consisting of block release workshops supported by e-learning. Pastoral support and workplace assessments were scheduled between workshops, whilst preparation for block release and the EPA-focussed assignments were done virtually. Fieldwork videos, webinars created from research, and presentations of archaeological sites were shared digitally or through video conference. We believe it is a model that can be adopted in other specialist fields.”
Obviously the Covid situation has had enormous impact on all aspects of education. How did you adapt the delivery of the initiative in the light of the current pandemic?
“Because of the restrictions, we were not able to offer the field-based workshops. Initially we anticipated being able to run some hands-on work later in the programme, so we rearranged the timetable to delay the practical elements. As time went on, we accepted this would not happen, so we looked at how we could deliver practical elements online.