Work Based Learning during the pandemic is the new challenge
The unexpected event of the pandemic, that took the world by surprise might prove to be the landmark of a new era regarding working conditions, teleworking and the importance of safety and health guidelines in the working environment. Obviously, companies and employees all over the globe faced the consequences of Covid-19, and gradually adjusted to these newly discovered circumstances. The hit on the economy has been extremely severe, and for a long period of time, the world was, and still is in a way, in total shock. From health to psychological and financial level, everyone suffered in various degrees and tried to find ways to bounce back and achieve a sense of normality.
One of the numerous victims of the pandemic, were definitely educational institutions and obviously work-based learning programs. Alongside the world’s pause, the life of many students took a turn too. Educational institutions tried hard to continue classes, with the aid of platforms, and managed to achieve at some extent the completion of their curricula. Internships and apprenticeships though paused or were cancelled, as it was expected, leaving students in a limbo situation of not knowing at all what will happen to them job wise. Consequently, the already severe insecurity most of them experience, regarding their financial and professional future, significantly worsen.
Institutions need to find solutions to this grave issue, and assist in every possible way, so work-based learning programs do not fade. Facing the problematic situation of the pandemic as a new challenge, and creatively rise to the occasion is of great importance, nowadays more than ever before. Interns could work from home, as the majority of the employees, which will prepare them for the new era of teleworking, and make them focus on their technological skills. Skills that are necessary world-wide, and also allow the smooth function of work flow in companies and enterprises.
Young people are anyway familiar with the use of technology, so they will not find it hard to adjust, whereas even older interns, will get the opportunity to familiriase with tools that maybe do not fully own. Institutions could organise webinars to inform their interns on the technology used, share responsibilities, hold meetings, as they would normally do. The interns, especially younger ones, could also assist employees that struggle with technology, if any, and prove to be extremely helpful in the end. Tasks and projects, always require more people in order to be completed, and students could play their part from home. Teleworking should not be considered of less importance, for any reason, and educational institutions alongside companies should go on with their work-based learning programs, creating the next generation of employees adjusted to the new post Covid-19 era.
The severe issue of quality assurance can be dealt with the use of the BEQUAL platform, as the main issues of quality remain intact, pandemic or not. BEQUAL provides the appropriate benchmarking tools and resources for the improvement of work-learning based programs, and institutions could adjust their benchmarking assessments according to the new conditions in their work setting. Adaptability is much wanted nowadays, and ways will be found to continue work-based learning and vocational education training programs, with the assistance of the BEQUAL platform, so the future will find everyone as strong and creative as before.