Statement from Minister on vocational qualifications and response from NI College Principals (23 April 2020).
Information for Students and Staff (last updated 23 April 2020)
|The Clinic||028 7034 6028 or https://sh24.org.uk/|
As a College community it is important that we all exercise extreme caution and responsibility during this unprecedented time. Above all, please keep yourself and others safe.
If you have any queries that are not covered by this guidance, please contact your manager or HR Business Partner.
What health advice should I follow?
Guidance is continually changing. You should follow the most current health and government advice being published by the Public Health Agency.
How should I look after my mental wellbeing?
The College’s Inspire service remains available to support staff and students. https://www.inspiresupporthub.org
Staff are encouraged to remain in frequent contact with colleagues and managers should be in regular contact throughout this situation.
Can I work remotely?
Staff are now expected to be working remotely. If you are fit and well you should continue to work in line with your usual working pattern. You should contact your line manager if you are uncertain of what you should be doing.
Family and caring responsibilities may make working from home more challenging for some people – we accept and understand this and would ask colleagues simply to operate as best they can.
Do you have any advice on working remotely?
Advice on working from home is available and further resources on online learning are available on Canvas.
How can I maintain data security?
See guidance for maintaining data protection security whilst working from home.
I am working from home - do I need to keep in contact with my Manager at this time?
It’s important to check in with your manager at least once a day; remain connected by keeping communication lines open. Let your line manager know if you have any spare capacity to assist your colleagues who may be overloaded with tasks at this time.
I am working from home - how frequently should I be in contact with my line manager to discuss my work priorities?
It’s important to check in with your manager at least weekly; remain connected by keeping communication lines open. Let your line manager know if you have any spare capacity to assist your colleagues who may be overloaded with tasks at this time
I am working from home - are the college systems available to access email and schedule meetings with colleagues?
Please continue to check emails daily. Curriculum staff will also need to access Canvas. Use Outlook for scheduling online meetings and Skype for video /audio conferencing. This is also a great opportunity to access Linkedin Learning and further develop your technical and professional skills.
I have caring responsibilities as a result of school/nursery closure. What should I do?
If you are unable to work due to unexpected caring responsibilities, we will deem you to be working from home. We recognise that you might find it difficult to work while caring for dependents, and we ask you to do whatever you are able to do. Please ensure that you keep in close contact with your manager during this period so that they’re able to plan and monitor workloads.
Will I get paid if I’m working remotely?
Staff working remotely will continue to be paid as normal and will not be recorded as being absent.
If you are unwell you should report this as a sickness absence, see below.
Am I going to get paid if the College is closed?
Arrangements are in place to ensure salary payments to staff are made as normal. There may be delays to the processing of travel, expenses and overtime.
I’m not a full-time employee, will I be paid?
We will honour all existing contractual arrangements for staff who are currently engaged on temporary, fixed-term and casual contracts for the remainder of their specified contract period this includes part-time lecturers and Learning Support staff.
How should I report my sickness absence?
As part of the precautionary measures being taken for handling the COVID-19 virus, staff are working from home. If you become unwell and are unable to work, the normal sickness reporting arrangements remain in place i.e. - that you inform your line manager and email email@example.com
If I contract Coronavirus will it impact on my sick pay or records?
Sickness absence related to COVID 19 will not impact on sickness absence records or contractual sick pay, the period of absence will not be counted towards any absence triggers.
I’m not a College employee, how should I report my absence?
If you are on secondment, an agency worker or a contractor then you should contact your parent organisation as well as your direct line manager and follow their absence management procedures.
I can’t get a ‘Fit Note’ what should I do?
Under normal rules you can self-certify your sickness absence for the first seven calendar days before needing to obtain a GP ‘Fit Note’. The requirement to have a GP ‘Fit Note’ has now been suspended for suspected cases of COVID -19. If you are absent due to sickness you should not ask your GP for a Fit Note. Once you are fit and back at work you should forward an extended self-certificate for the whole period of the absence/ period not covered by a medical certificate to your manager.
Should I still record ‘Flexi’ while remote working?
During this period, support staff do not need to record their flexi working hours unless they have specifically been asked to work additional hours by their line manager for a business critical matter. All overtime must be approved in advance. We will assume staff have worked their contractual hours unless specified otherwise.
Can I carry forward annual leave?
In the event of a ‘business critical’ reason requiring you to carry forward leave in exception of 7 days, you should discuss this with your line manager. Approval for additional carry forward of leave needs to be approved with your line Manager (in advance of 31st March) and recorded by HR.
I’m having IT problems, who should I contact?
If you encounter problems with your IT, you should email the Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find yourself in a situation where you think your device has been lost or stolen, then it is vital that you contact the Service Desk and your line manager immediately. This will allow us to remotely disable phones and laptops and identify what potential security compromises may have occurred.
Can I still travel on College business?
All travel on College business is suspended until further notice. The College buildings are closed until further notice from 1pm on 24 March 2020. All staff and students are expected to fully comply with government requirements to stay at home and maintain social distancing. Find out more about staying at home.
Should you have any queries please email us
Is Northern Regional College closed?
No, Northern Regional College has moved online. All teaching and learning will continue through remote learning and students are expected to continue with their studies from home, online.
Are Northern Regional College Campuses closed?
Yes, from 1pm on Wednesday 24th March all campuses are closed to both staff and students.
How will the College update me on issues?
Messages will be sent through to your student email address, through Canvas, on social media and through these pages.
If the College is closed, will evening classes still be going ahead?
No, all face-to-face classes including evening classes are cancelled until further notice.
I don’t know how to contact my lecturer?
Please email Student.Support@nrc.ac.uk stating the name of your lecturer and the course you are enrolled on and we will tell you how to contact your lecturer.
Can I study online?
Yes we have made provisions to ensure that learning materials are available on our digital learning platform, Canvas. Click here to find out more.
What happens if I do not have access to a laptop/computer and/or WiFi at home?
If you do not have access to a laptop/computer and/or WiFi at home please email your course lecturer as soon as possible to advise them of this, so alternative arrangements can be made for you to continue to study at home.
I cannot access the software I need from home to complete my coursework?
Please email your course lecturer as soon as possible to advise them of this, so alternative arrangements can be made for you.
I have applied for an Ulster University validated programme at the College, are there any changes to the admissions process?
Ulster University is dedicated to ensuring that applicants to all UU validated programmes have the support and advice they need to make an informed decision about studying with an Ulster validated programme in September 2020 and beyond. Ulster University know that you will have a number of questions in light of government decisions taken to cancel examinations and closure of the college and university campuses due to the impact of COVID-19 and have provided a list of FAQs.
I am a TFS/Trainee student. How do I hand in my timesheets and should I attend work placement?
Please continue to keep in contact with your Training Support Officer, you should already have their email address. DfE have confirmed that all trainee work placements are cancelled. The Training Office will be in contact with trainees and employers with further information.
I am a Trainee/Apprentice, how do I contact the training office?
Work-Based Learning Manager - email@example.com
Training Support Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Support Officer - email@example.com
Training Support Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Support Officer - email@example.com
Training Support Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Support Officer - email@example.com
Training Support Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Support Officer - email@example.com
Training Support Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Support Officer - email@example.com
As an Employer due to the Covid-19 crisis what if you have had to furlough an Apprentice(s) or Higher Level Apprentice(s)?
Contact the College Work Based Manager on 077554 118467 or Training Support Officer or Course Co-ordinator for further information and support.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme which is intended to keep employees earning, enable businesses to reduce costs or close temporarily, guidance permits the continuation of training during furlough, however any continuation of ApprenticeshipsNI/ Higher Level Apprenticeship directed training during the furlough period must be with the agreement of the contractor, employer and apprentice, taking into consideration HMRC advice: Please note that the cut- off date for Furlough has been extended to 19th March 2020.
As an Employer due to the Covid-19 crisis what if you have had to implement redundancy measures for an Apprentice or Higher Level Apprentice(s)?
Contact the Work Based Learning Manager on 07554 118467 or Training Support Officer or Course Co-ordinator for further information and support.
If your Apprentice is aged 16 or 17 then he/she can join the Training for Success Workbased Learning Programme. If your Apprentice is aged 18 and over then please refer to the link regarding Benefits Support.
As an Apprentice /Higher Level Apprentice due to the Covid-19 crisis if you have been redundant what should you do next?
You should contact the College Work Based Learning Manager on 07554 118467 or your Training Support Officer or Course Co-ordinator for further information and support. The College can suspend your training and help you find further employment. If you are an Apprentice aged 16 or 17 then you can join the Training for Success Work Based learning Programme. If you are an Apprentice aged 18 and over then You can make a claim for benefits by following the guidance at the following links:
You may wish to contact DFE Careers Service Ask Careers (email)/ Free Webchat – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/contacts-az/careers-service
Careers Software - https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/careers-online-support
As an Apprentice/ Higher Level Apprentice due to the Covid-19 Crisis if you have been furloughed what should you do next?
You should contact the College Work Based Learning Manager on 07554118467 or your Training Support Officer or Course Co-ordinator for further information and support. Full Details of the Furlough scheme are available at the link below. Please note that the cut- off date for Furlough has been extended to 19th March 2020.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme which is intended to keep employees earning, enable businesses to reduce costs or close temporarily, guidance permits the continuation of training during furlough. This scheme will allow employers to pay you 80% of your usual monthly wage costs up to £2500 per month. Please speak directly with your employer for further guidance.
You will remain on the ApprenticeshipsNI / Higher Level Apprenticeship programme and with the agreement of your employer and yourself, you will continue to work towards your qualifications with your Course Co-ordinator via online delivery
Can I still apply for courses starting in September?
Yes, applications for our full-time, part-time and work-based learning provisions are open for the 2020/21 Academic year. Visit www.nrc.ac.uk to search for a course and apply online.
Is the College Careers Service still available?
Yes, the College Careers Team is still available to answer any questions you may have. This can be anything related to FE, HE, Work-based Learning, UCAS questions, information about our courses and general careers enquiries.
We appreciate that you may be anxious at the moment but we are keen to let you know that we are still available during this difficult time. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I contact the DfE Careers Service?
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 issue the Careers Service will continue to provide services to all clients via email, webchat and telephone (if required). Service delivery will continue using these methods until further notice. Support is also provided via the careers software tools. Please see links below.
Ask Careers (email)/ Webchat – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/contacts-az/careers-service
Careers Software - https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/careers-online-support
What will happen to my student finance?
Free school meals - Arrangements have been put in place to ensure families who normally receive free school meals do not suffer financial hardship while schools are closed. More information can be found at the following link: Free school meals payments
Further Education Grants - Due to the closure of the Further Education Colleges, students should remain in contact with their course co-ordinator in the College to make sure they are aware of what the plans are for the continuation of the course. The Education Authority (EA) where possible, will aim to pay Further Education grants 3rd instalment directly to the student’s bank account during the second week in April. FE Grant COVID-19 Update
Childcare Grant - for those in receipt of a Further Education Childcare Grant EA will continue to pay the childcare provider where the student continues to study remotely. Childcare Grant COVID 19 Update
Childcare assistance through Care to Learn/Access to Learning Funds - The Department for Economy has confirmed that the College cannot support students through these funds for childcare assistance during lockdown. Childcare providers are only open for childcare of children of key workers. DfE pays childcare providers for a provision of childcare while the student is in College. As Colleges are closed, and students are not key workers, childcare will not be paid during lockdown. Any outstanding invoices for the period of time before lockdown should be forwarded to the student finance office as soon as possible.
FE EMA – payments will continue as normal unless advised otherwise by SLC.
TFS EMA – payments will continue as normal unless advised otherwise by DfE.
Access to Learning Fund - payments for living costs will continue as normal, travel payments can no longer be made as the College is closed.
The situation is under ongoing review dependent upon any new government plans.
I was awarded Student Finance and am waiting on a refund of my deposit
Is Education Support still available?
Yes, if you need to contact your Education Support Co-ordinator, please email email@example.com
Will my exams be cancelled?
All exams are cancelled and we are working in line with the guidance from awarding bodies as it becomes available to conduct assessment of student achievement this year. Please avail of all online learning resources such as CANVAS to support your subject knowledge.
Will I be able to finish my course and how will my grades be calculated?
Northern Regional College delivers courses from many different awarding bodies. It is the decision of these awarding bodies and the government to determine how grades will be calculated.
I want to talk to somebody because I’m worried about the virus, what should I do?
If you are worried about the virus and wish to talk to somebody you can contact Student Services. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a member of Student Services
Has the Clinic been closed?
We have received communication from the Trust that sexual health clinic in College is suspended with immediate effect.
If you require urgent sexual health advice or guidance please do one of the following:
You may telephone the NHSCT Gum Clinic - 028 7034 6028
Visit SH:24 where you can access free, discreet and confidential sexual health advice, support and home testing - https://sh24.org.uk/
When the Clinic reopens we will advise all students.
I have a need to speak to a counsellor? or I have an appointment with a counsellor, is this still going ahead?
We received notification from the College Counselling Service, Inspire Students to say that there will be a slight change to the service, following PHA and HSE advice.
Please remember that the Inspire service is completely free and completely confidential. In the coming weeks please feel free to use this service if you need emotional support.
The following changes are in place:
24/7 Freephone Helpline Service will continue to operate just call 0800 389 5362
face-to-face counselling will now be provided via telephone or online video basis
if you have a forthcoming appointment with an Inspire counsellor they will contact you directly with arrangements.
access to the Inspire Students Hub will continue and Inspire will continue to add content to this which may be particular benefit to you in the coming weeks. Please visit the Student Hub on Canvas for more information.
Looking after your Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19
Working From Home
Should you have any queries please email us