Last Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Adult Achievement Awards – Covid-19 response, developed for online delivery

What is this?

Adult Achievement Awards have been creatively adapted to enable them to be delivered online, including assessment to continue delivery for learners achieving qualifications.

This resource is for anyone in education looking to learn more about Adult Achievement Awards, or looking to develop their delivery to an online learning opportunity.

Who is this for?

It is aimed at staff involved in education of adults, Community, Learning and Development (CLD) and further education; all practitioners who have a role to play in supporting adult learners, or learners using online platforms particularly when considering remote approaches.

Screenshot of Newbattle Abbey College websiteThe Adult Achievement Award Partnership in Dundee and Angus consists of a number of partner agencies which work together to support and develop the delivery of the award, including a tutor network. The organisations include Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action, Dundee Carers Centre, Dundee City Council CLD, Angus Council Planning and Communities, LEAD Scotland and Alexander Community Development.

Following Covid-19 most partner agencies now have the ability to provide learning via online platforms such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams. The tutor network began meeting again towards the end of 2020 which allowed tutors to share their experience of delivering Adult Achievement Awards during lockdown.

Due to digital exclusion, lack of devices or connectivity and lack of digital skills most learners opted to complete their journals, working at their own pace and tutors supported via telephone. Some learners who have access to relevant devices have used online platforms and organisations have supported people to access funding for devices as well as offering digital training to improve skills and confidence.

In the future the network plan to develop blended approaches to Adult Achievement delivery including all the learning from lockdown using a variety of methods of delivery – face to face can be well supported by online platforms and email communication. However the big learning point has been the reminder of the importance of the good old fashioned telephone to keep people in touch!

Improvement questions

  • How do I identify the needs of adults in the current circumstances?
  • How am I helping adults to continue to engage in learning and wider opportunities?
  • What support and information can I signpost adults to?
  • How might the support and provision for adults need to be adapted or done differently during Covid-19?
  • How can I raise awareness of the needs of adults during this time and ensure that their needs and voices are heard in recovery planning?
  • How am I measuring the impact of new approaches and services and evolving these to suit the needs of adults?

Case studies

Brechin and Montrose Communities Team

During lockdown the Brechin and Montrose Communities Team have managed to support 3 learners to achieve their Adult Achieved Award and have two learners currently working on them. Awards were started before the pandemic and then adapted with support offered remotely via phone. The learning was split into more manageable smaller sections with learner’s answers scribed thus giving reflection time for answers.

The worker has found the experience of doing the Adult Achievement Awards during lockdown incredibly positive. Stating they found the learners more forthcoming with information over the phone compared with face to face. The learners also gave more detailed answers enhancing the relationship with the worker and allowing more insight into their life and experience.

One of the learners who took part in the award is a nervous person and has suffered with her mental health as a result of several bereavements. She was initially a little daunted about starting the award as she was left with little confidence in her abilities after school. She felt she got flustered and a little panicky when she was working through the award in the same room as other people. Working through the award over the phone made it easier to talk about herself. She was “so chuffed “to have completed the award as she had not done anything like this before. She told her son and daughter after she received her certificate and it means even more to her because they are so very proud of her.

“My son said that if he was me, he would have that in a frame”.

Talking about her experience the learner said it has been positive to keep busy, learning and focussing on something during lockdown.

“I feel when I am sitting everything dwells in your head”

The confidence she has gained has enabled her to look towards other challenges and she is now working on her digital skills as well as supporting her mental health during the pandemic.

Dundee Carers Centre

Dundee Carers Centre supported families during lockdown with accreditation – in particular Adult Achievement Awards and supporting families with children to complete Hi5 awards. Eight carers and volunteers have worked on adult achievements since March 2020 and 5 have completed. The learners were a mix of carers receiving one to one support reflecting on learning gained through their caring role, participants in the group work programme and volunteers.

Delivery of learning was adapted to be delivered via the telephone using the tutor guide as a support.

Quotes from a volunteer:

“The adult achievement is very good for me.
It improves my learning ability and skills.
The key lessons support my daily life and carer's job.
I think more advanced education is good.
After I finish Adult Achievement Award Level 3, I would like to find out more about advanced learning opportunities because I like this kind of learning and course.”