Continued from previous page However, as necessity remains the mother of invention, I am confident that there will be additional innovation post-COVID-19 in this arena. I refer to the creation of electronic or online simulators, by which a student may manipulate a virtual tool, be it a hammer, saw, trowel, or scissors to modify a virtual piece of wood, steel, brick, or any other material using the click of a mouse. This would be enhanced greatly were it to include the use of Virtual Reality where the student utilises a visual aid and tactical gloves to ‘feel’ the nuts tightening in the virtual engine as they practiced. This type of technology would represent the gold standard in remote learning and would be expensive whenever available … but one can certainly dream. Until then, I’m sure with 3D printing becoming more commonplace, we should be looking forward to affordably printed realistic miniature tools, equipment, and mock-ups of engines, toilet tanks, and circuit breakers for students to practice on at home with guidance from instructors in an online classroom setting. In the medium term, it would be of great benefit if multiple modular, detailed pre-recorded videos for each trade could be created so that students can watch them in the online classroom setting and have a visual reinforcement of what is outlined in the theory. It would be ideal for these videos to portray their course instructor, or a local instructor from another institution if videos will be shared among local vocational institutions. This may make them more relatable to the student. In the short term, the availability of mobile devices to students and instructors, preferably laptops or large tablets with keyboards, is essential to the advancement of our technological stance within training at the BVTB. This would enable BVTB staff and students to utilise the G Suite products to their fullest extent and make their use a normal aspect of training even while face-to-face instruction is ongoing, so that if training at any time needs to be fully online there would be very little adjustment required by the instructor and students. The New Normal… The achievement of any good outcomes from this disruptive pandemic requires a willingness to change. From a technical standpoint there are few administrative tasks that cannot now be undertaken online and remotely. However, the BVTB be must be willing to adopt new procedures to facilitate this. Such changes will require transformational leadership at several levels. Leaders who can inspire those in the organisation to embrace progress, even in the face of the teething problems that are inevitably experienced in any major procedural change. Success is also dependent upon having a talented, committed, reliable team determined to make sure the work is done to a high standard whether they are physically present or not. The BVTB has several dedicated staff, however, success requires more than willingness and effort. Sometimes the missing element is adequate financial resources. Technological solutions are not cheap, especially if they are to be constructed correctly and securely, and the money is not always available to be spent in this area. Fortunately, there are often many open-source (non-proprietary) solutions that can serve as alternatives to some extent. Continues on next page 9

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