SMaRT Pathways 2022

First Step Trust

First Step Trust has worked over many years with the long term unemployed to provide a safe learning space that will enable them to develop confidence and demonstrate skills and competence in a practical workplace environment. Many of the workforce members live with issues such as anxiety and poor literacy which disadvantage them in accessing meaningful employment opportunities.

This project will design and deliver a digital programme in motor vehicle maintenance in collaboration with the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) awarding body and Halfords Autocentres. Initial prototype work confirmed that many of the workforce members had difficulty with understanding written instructions and proving their competence through written tests. They also lack confidence in their learning.

This project will demonstrate how VR, video and other vocational technologies can be used to develop a training tool that allows users both to learn and to demonstrate success without requiring high levels of literacy. The long-term aim is to enable those furthest from the labour market to show that they have the skills to succeed in stable employment.

First Step Trust will design all a Motor Vehicle Training programme to IMI Entry Level 3. The project will involve blended technologies, peer trainers and work experience placements - all of which address issues of low confidence and motivation. Using technology not previously encountered by learners means they come fresh to the learning with no memories of failing to learn this way. The focus on practical workoriented skills reduces the likelihood of failure as learners do not have to rely on literacy skills to demonstrate competence.