Our News

28 March 2013

Cardiff and Vale College develops life-saving e-learning tools

Cardiff and Vale College has teamed up with the Surf Lifesaving Association of Wales to develop ground-breaking distance learning manuals for lifesavers – the only e-learning lifesaving tools in the world.

The Association and College have come together under a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. Under the KTP the College works with local businesses and organisations to identify current and future training needs and develop a programme to meet those requirements.

This can include bringing in a graduate who has the knowledge a firm requires, if not the experience. It works both ways – giving graduates valuable experience while filling skills gaps for local businesses. Employers that take on KTP graduates are eligible for Welsh Government grants.

Dean Morgan originally came to the College via Go Wales, a Welsh Government project that gives businesses the opportunity to hire graduates on short, subsidised placements.

Now Dean works for the Surf Lifesavers Association Wales, but based at the College’s Knowledge Base – the e-learning section of the International Centre for Aerospace Training’s Business Service. ICAT is more used to providing e-learning tools for the Aerospace industry but was happy to help the Association deliver online training manuals.

“For the first time we are offering our KTP service to a third sector, voluntary organisation, to a registered charity,” CAVC Engineering Lecturer and KTP Co-ordinator Phil Rees said. “What’s fairly unique about this from our point of view is that it’s an entirely voluntary organisation with no paid members of staff and no headquarters. Dean would normally be placed with the company but in this case the association is placed in the Knowledge Base, which is the e-learning section of the ICAT Business Service.

“E-learning at ICAT has been developed for more than ten years and is seen as a European leader for Aerospace courses. The team are applying that 

knowledge in a different field and it seems to be working quite well. Drawing a turbine engine is a little bit more complicated than one of our little drawings!”

The KTP project will create four e-learning manuals to cover different age groups of the voluntary lifesavers and lifeguards. One manual will also cover rescue boat training as well. Funding for the project comes from the charity itself, the RNLI and the Welsh Government through the KTP programme.

Dean Morgan said: “I joined initially through Go Wales. Originally I was working on online and printed books, helping with formatting and illustration for aerospace materials. Then I started with the Surf Life Saving Association Wales putting together their interactive training sites.

“It’s a different discipline but it’s much more suited to the areas I was originally trained in, where I was doing animation. Getting to do the Aero stuff has prepared me for the more technical aspects of this project. It’s been brilliant; I’m getting to learn more about the web design side of things and how to put together learning materials. Basically it’s more to do with HTML. Before I could do all of the graphic side and I could do programming.”

SLSA Wales chair Pat Thomas added: “It’s a breakthrough. We are not the biggest organisation in the world but we seem to be leading the way at the moment. We’re getting a lot of interest from other organisations at the moment.”

The Royal Life Saving Society and another organisation are coming to the College for a demo of the distance learning programmes, Pat explained.

Lyle Bluck, Quality Manager at SLSA Wales and a former educationalist, said: “It’s very interesting and the feedback we’ve had so has been extremely positive. People are finding it a lot better to use than the old manuals and it’s a lot more interactive. We’ve been told that people love the graphics and find it easier to use.”