Springboard and SIGNAL working in partnership to support learners during COVID-19 by Amy Goodall | Apr 16, 2020 | 

Whilst we are all in this period of ‘lockdown’ our students well-being needs are at the forefront of the support we are offering. SIGNAL helps learners to identify their real needs while inspiring them to make the changes that are required to transform their lives. At the same time, it enables organisations to gain clarity and respond more effectively to those needs in any environment.

Using SIGNAL remotely in these unprecedented times allows Springboard to support our students in response to their real-time needs, helping to set our learner’s future goals and therefore improving aspirations and planning to move forward in a world after COVID-19.

We have seen an increase in Mental Health concerns, as Annabell Lowdon, our Pastoral Care Worker, who works with our learners has found; “I am finding many students are struggling with their mental health at this time, more so than ever before. It seems to be a struggle with our learners based around a lack of freedom and their isolation, and/or income-related issues with family.”

Working remotely with SIGNAL has allowed Annabell to continue to support learners, and current technology means the support offered isnt compromised in the current climate.

“I have been supporting students with SIGNAL in their own homes. We have switched to remote completion of surveys, where learners can complete the surveys themselves. This new remote way of doing surveys has highlighted new issues which we would never have discussed before.”

SIGNAL Director Andy Cox understands SIGNAL may raise a wide range of issues, particularly for those aged 16-18; “We at SIGNAL know that poverty or severe and multiple disadvantages or complex lifestyles are terms which describe circumstances where people face a range of pressing issues, which if they are not dealt with effectively, can get tangled up with other life issues to exasperate their circumstances even further.”

Working remotely with SIGNAL has allowed us to look at Careers Education Information Advice & Guidance for our learners and offer pathways that may lead learners onto further education, as well as finding financial and mental health support for those learners who need it. Using the SIGNAL tool has allowed Springboard to untangle learners’ issues, so that we as an organisation and the individual can see what is happening and work together to understand and tackle the underlying causes of the problems, rather than just dealing with the symptoms.

Steve Reay, CEO of Springboard supports the use of Signal within the organisation, and added the following: “Whilst we recognise that initially the completion of a course, development of a skill or achievement of a qualification is identified as the end goal by our learners, many present a range of support needs and barriers not linked directly to their training. SIGNAL identifies these issues, on the learner’s terms and allows staff to work with them to provide individual mechanisms of support to successfully engage in their education and progress.”