A message from Safaraz Ali to colleagues, employers, stakeholders, and the wider community – COVID-19

Safaraz Ali - Concerns Safaraz Ali - COVID-19
Safaraz Ali – Concerns Safaraz Ali – COVID-19

There have been rising concerns surrounding Coronavirus COVID-19 and my assurance to you is that Pathway is committed to maintaining business operations as usual wherever we can.

This is the same message that I have passed on personally to our teams and customers and has been agreed amongst our leaders in the business that our focus is to remain business as usual wherever possible, whilst also ensuring the safety and well-being of our all the team members- whether they are office-based, academy based or out in the field.

We need to mindful that the situation changes by the day and it also varies from source to source. We continue to monitor and be guided by external advice from Department for Education, the devolved authorities, the awarding bodies we work with and of course local and national government. Our Business Continuity Plans are in place to ensure the high level of service and support you would expect from us.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus is going to have an impact on all of us. It already it some cases has and we are still in the early stages. Further disruption is inevitable. We need to find ways to solve the problems we face, their effects and impact. We also need to listen to and guide our customers and each other at this moment.

At the end of the day when all is said and done, Pathway is a people business and our business is about seeing people and working with them, and the key thing for us is primarily how we get that done and how we provide the support to learners and employers.

I would also say that no one has all the answers, no one knows it all and we as a general rule need to be careful who we listen to, everyone out there is giving their “tuppence” worth – some are saying the government is not doing enough and others are questioning experts, at times like now all this does as you have seen is create mass hysteria and herd mentality.

Regardless of your political views and opinions, the best and most reliable source is going to be the government and the civil service incorporating NHS and, that is where we should get our most reliable information, please be careful on what basis you form your views and ultimately make decisions and take any action.

So, generally speaking, how do we reduce the impact of this and look to continue business as usual as much as possible?

The first thing is that no one willingly will encourage anyone to put themselves or anyone else for that matter, at any unnecessary risk. It’s important therefore for each and every one of us to know some facts about this situation – at the very least know what the symptoms are and if we do have them, what we need to do – that is act accordingly -refrain from attending work and follow guidelines in respect of self-isolation.

We already know some of the obvious but very important points mentioned by us by official sources regarding hygiene – there is a duty on us to all to be aware and observe general hygiene standards in respect of washing of hands, sneezing or coughing into a tissue or crook of the elbow, dispose of tissues appropriately

Where possible businesses need to start thinking about using remote communication and working tools and techniques that are at our disposal. At Pathway, we have invested over the last 18 months a considerable resource on this and my message to our team is to make this work for us and let’s make use of what we have.

I have also said to all our team members who have appointments at care organisations or any location where there may be vulnerable groups to arrange remote visits or meet with learners/employers off-site where possible.

Each business needs to have contingency plans and we have ours, and they are being updated to reflect in the event we are advised to or make a decision to close offices/delivery centres – we hope it doesn’t come to this but we need to plan all eventualities.

As things are developing so quickly with the virus, where possible I’d like to increase the frequency of our internal and external communications that we have. We are seeking more updates on the learner by learner basis and to get more transparency on progress and activity.

There may come a time when we are unable to access learners or learners wish to continue and our Tutors aren’t available. It’s important to remain lean and agile in this respect as a business and do what we can to continue activities in a planned manner.

The key message from me is – I know it’s easier said than done but let’s aim for as less disruption as we can – listen to facts, accept we can’t control what we can’t control but what we can control is our response and let’s keep that measured and balanced. We need to keep our wits about us – for all of us to show leadership and provide support to each other.

I trust we will get through this difficult terrain, with the right planning and the right approach.

Thank you for your time, I’m here to serve you – please share your thoughts, concerns and please keep an eye out for each other.

My best