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Thierry Herman, a Community Story from Belgium

25/08/2020
von EPALE Moderator
Sprache: EN
Document available also in: FR

Thierry Herman

After graduation, I started my professional career at the University of Leuven before working for a few years for a training and continuing education organisation. I then joined Cepegra (Centre de compétence de l'Industrie graphique, a training centre supported by the graphic industry and the Walloon public authorities) in 1998. There I worked as a trainer, a technical expert (development of distance learning products, etc.) and as a director, while being involved in international projects (ADAPT, Interreg) and competitions dedicated to the professions (WorldSkills, EuroSkills). So far, our contacts with EPALE have been rather limited and stem from the involvement of our Head Office, Forem.
Training, even if restricted, is possible at Cepegra!

Wednesday, April 1st, 10:00 a.m., almost everybody is present… Thomas Marcoux explains in two words how the presentation will take place and then hands over to one of the trainees. This time, Covid-19 is forcing Valentine to defend her work, not in front of a crowd of spectators but in front of her computer screen. At the other end, the Cepegra team is holding its breath to ensure that this first end-of-training presentation of the lockdown era goes off without a hitch...

Stop or else?

Stop our training courses altogether or continue whatever happens, despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic? The choice was difficult and there was probably no ideal solution. But the decision was made and, whenever possible, Cepegra's activities continued. Of course, the modules for workers had to be cancelled - apart from three distance-learning courses - but four long training courses were able to continue.

The rapid response of the trainers made it possible to provide online courses as early as March 19th. With the help of video conferencing (Zoom, jitsu, etc.), file sharing and collaborative software (Slack, Discord, Trello, Moodle), both workshops and more specific training sessions went off without too much trouble. The good will of the learners - already more than accustomed to technology and relatively well-equipped, as the sector requires - did the rest.
As a result, the training of digital communication officers remains on track, and three others, which have come to an end, ended with online presentations. The trainees on the communication officer training course were the ones who were chosen for this unprecedented exercise. One after the other, the 12 participants explained their approach, detailed the difficulties to be overcome and presented the final result of 10 days of workshops and two and a half months of training.

A few days later, it was the “motion designers”' turn to engage in the same exercise. While their predecessors' web content and social networks did not pose much of a problem, their videos, animations and special effects did not come across as well on Zoom. However the trainees appeared less stressed than during a classic presentation...

Yet their journey has not been easy.

Forced to work at home, they were unable to take advantage of either the centre's equipment, or the varied and often complementary skills of their peers. Fortunately, the trainers were able to compensate as much as possible for these shortcomings to achieve a high-quality result. Lastly, the web designers also saw the end of their training postponed by a few days to make up for the first unproductive times of the lockdown. On April 6th they shared their production with us: sites and especially mobile applications on light subjects (a snail race, etc.) or on more serious ones (an app to help save lives or learn more about women's bodies...).

Overall, the experience was stressful but rewarding in more ways than one.

It will no doubt push us to integrate distance working even more in our future training courses. In the end, the initial choice not to give up completely in the face of the virus paid off... but it  was a little frustrating for the trainees who were unable to celebrate the end of their training in the usual fashion.

Useful links:

Read more and discover other photos as well as the work of the trainees, detailed programmes and practical information of the various training courses cited: https://bit.ly/SeFormerMemeConfineAuCepegra
You can find all the videos produced by “motion designers”’ trainees on Cepegra's youtube channel https://bit.ly/2020MotionDesignCepegra
The trainees of the Web designer training course also used the Zoom platform to present their work at the end of the training. A broader overview of their inspired creations can be found at https://bit.ly/2020WebDesignCepegra


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