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How Makers’ software bootcamp training is carrying on with a key focus on mental health

Learning at a time of corona - business almost as usual

By Evgeny Shadchnev, CEO, Makers bootcamp

Evgeny Shadchnev, CEO of Makers bootcamp
Evgeny Shadchnev, CEO of Makers bootcamp

We live in a digital world – and our role as a software bootcamp is to train the future workforce to shape it.

While we enjoy having a full classroom to instruct our cohorts – we also know that life can present challenges to that outcome.

This includes the unprecedented arrival of Covid-19. We’ve acted swiftly to protect the wellbeing of our students – and have begun distance learning. In fact, we’ve always offered this option for those unable to join the classroom due to their personal circumstances.

They include mid-career changing stay at home mums that organise their training modules around childcare responsibilities, as well as individuals who simply cannot afford to study in London for the entire duration of the programme.

Diversity is about widening the net in search of talent, and because diversity has also been at the heart of what we do, we’ve always used technology to harness the ability to help people cope with the challenges of their circumstances, and to give them the chance to learn on their own terms.

From apprenticeships to video delivery to childcare facilities, this is what all 21st century learning centres should offer.

In other words, always be flexible. Don’t wait for a pandemic.

Of course, we cannot downplay the significant threat posed by Covid-19 and the strain it’s having on the NHS and our mental health, thanks to the ongoing news flow that brings a daily dose of morbidity, mortality and response.

But there’s an urgency to continue as best we can and to use this crisis as an opportunity to continue learning and to make the most of the time we have. Why not become a digital professional?

It is a great time to learn to code with Makers bootcamp
It is a great time to learn to code with Makers bootcamp

All of Makers’ students are now being instructed remotely – and while it was initially challenging for most who started with in-class learning, the adjustment has been achieved fairly smoothly, and it’s not only due to the enabling factors of technology and committed teaching.

I believe a big part of the successful continuity of our programme has been the ongoing focus on wellbeing.

Emotional intelligence during remote delivery

This is critical for anyone running courses – how do you keep students emotionally nourished during the entire duration of the learning process?

Mental health is important – and we’ve always incorporated activities during our programme to ensure that everyone stays strong and connected. In the classroom we offer daily meditation, yoga, wellbeing coach sessions organised by our chief joy officer and break sessions to engage with others.

But achieving this is harder when everyone is remote learning and in isolation from their fellow trainees. How we’ve prepared to overcome this challenge is by enforcing the following actions:

  • 1:1 Holistic Coaching Sessions. If something is getting in the way of learning or wellbeing, students can send a message to a dedicated coach, who then sends an invite for a remote call, which happens via slack.
  • Daily Meditation continues as usual remotely in its regular time slot. The team sends a link for a virtual meditation room.
  • Emotional Intelligence Curriculum is adapted for remote delivery.
  • Yoga takes place virtually via video link at the same time for everyone to perform at the comfort of their homes.
  • The #wellbeing slack channel helps keep everyone grounded, resilient and connected through this challenging time. The Makers team posts regular updates, resources and reminders and invites students to interact and share as much as they wish.
  • Throughout the duration of the coursework, trainers are encouraged to join links to ‘virtual water coolers’ for light hearted discussions as well as prompts for more in depth sharing spaces to connect as students move through all this together.

If we can keep morale up, anything is possible – and we are confident that, with a positive state of mind, our temporary adjustment to our delivery model will still result in the same quality of outcomes.

We are experienced in remote training, we’ve done it for five years, and we have many successful students who have trained away from the classroom.

This might be the first time we are training everyone offsite, and having to manage the emotional anxiety of Covid-19, but things are progressing well.

Inspiring others to learn from home

For anybody who’s been sitting on the fence about whether to learn how to code, this is actually a great opportunity to learn remotely while quarantined during this unprecedented pandemic.

At a time of crisis, learning a new and valuable skill could be the distraction one needs to get through a difficult period.

Our lives have been altered temporarily as a result of Covid-19, but learning to code is even more life changing and relevant to our digital world – and, unlike a virus, will last a lifetime.

Visit makers.tech to find out more and apply.

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