With the suspension of teaching and training activities on March 16, decreed by the government of Portugal on March 13 and with no certain date for a return to normality, training entities had to find quick solutions so that trainees would not be harmed for this situation – the solution was to adopt distance education/training, as schools and universities did.
VET entities had to wait for authorization from the Employment and Vocational Training Institute to start distance training, and for that, it was necessary to comply with a series of requirements and to prove that the entities had all the physical and human resources to continue the training, among which stands out, the existence of an online platform, trainers qualified for e-distance learning and get a previous knowledge if the trainees had the technical conditions (internet connection, computer/tablet/phone with cameras…). Mentioning the distance training at Proandi, since April 27th that the courses that were in training in the classroom until the lockdown – the first year courses of Cooking/Pastry and Restaurant/Bar Technician and the second year course of ICT Technician – were allowed to continue distance training. All trainees and trainers use Proandi’s Moodle platform (accessible on website) for synchronous and asynchronous training – conducting assessment tests, written assignments and all activities related to the correct functioning of the sessions. For videoconferences, Zoom tool is already used by everyone. The courses that were performing their internship, and since the areas are related to restaurants/cafes/bakeries, the trainees had to wait for the state of alert to be raised by the government and only on May 18th were there conditions to return to the internship. So, what are the main conclusions we can draw from this situation?
This being a new situation for all of us, it is with certainty that we highlight the work of the entire pedagogical team and Proandi collaborators so that distance training could work as quickly as possible and for everything to go well. It is also worth mentioning the way in which all trainees have adapted quite easily to distance training, always respecting schedules and behavior during training sessions. In relation to some trainees, we have seen some positive surprises of active participation in distance training. Despite the distance, all groups have carried out some activities within the scope of training and with good effort – for example, the celebration of important dates, Portugal Day on June 10, “Santos Populares”, #blackouttuesday, among others. For practical cooking or pastry sessions, trainers encourage trainees creativity to record videos and share their recipes in the kitchen.
Despite the distance, the impossibility of having more personal contact between trainees and trainers and the inevitable fatigue of working from home, the feedback is very positive and we see that the solutions exist and that despite this very complicated phase, we all have to make an effort to make everything as normal as possible. We hope from September to be able to receive our trainees again!