Further Education and Training (FET) students undertaking full and part-time courses with Donegal ETB’s FET Service had an opportunity to give feedback on the Service last week at an online FET Student Voice Roadshow.
This was the second annual FET Student Voice event following a successful inaugural event in February 2020, when over one hundred students from across the county gathered together to provide feedback. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ETB’s FET teaching and Quality Assurance staff decided that rather than miss out this year, it would go online, facilitating more students to get involved with almost 150 attending online sessions over the course of the week.
The purpose of this annual Student Voice event is to collect feedback from students on the effectiveness of Donegal’s FET provision to ensure it is responsive to student needs. It is also essential to the development of policy and planning and for improving the quality of the Service.
Speaking about the event, Donegal ETB’s FET Quality Assurance Coordinator Joanne Whitelock said, “We were delighted to have this opportunity to meet online with so many students from across the FET Service, to capture their views and opinions of their learning journey with us. We will be analysing the contributions from their lively discussions in the coming weeks to help shape future learning opportunities within our Service.”
Students were asked to consider and feedback on a range of issues such as how the ETB can best capture the Student Voice especially within its governance and management structure, how it can support their health and wellbeing as they return to learn and evaluating their current practice in how they share information and communicate with students.
They were very positive and gave constructive and relevant feedback, reporting that they were delighted to be part of the event and to have the opportunity to have their voices heard.
The Forum also considered student wellbeing and the return to learning, focusing on the supports required for students to successfully return to face-to-face learning following last year’s remote emergency learning phase. Activities included survey feedback and group discussions.
Feedback taken via a Mentimeter survey, which meant that students were able to share their feedback anonymously, included one student highlighting how, “Donegal ETB is like a second home”, while another commented, “At present, for us older people, everything is working great. It is a dual benefit to us aged, as we are learning how to use the internet and also, we are socialising/learning, and it all helps to get over loneliness.”
Charles Gorney, an Adult Education Officer with the ETB noted that, “Donegal ETB takes a student-centred approach to the delivery of its education and training provision and this annual Forum allows us to place the student at the centre of our FET provision by seeking and incorporating their experience and views into our planning.”
In the coming weeks, feedback from all students will be summarised and a report produced for further discussion and action. The findings will also help inform Donegal ETB’s FET Service Quality Assurance action plan.