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Working towards a BTEC - part 1

Soon after starting Survival Skills, I decided to look for some kind of recognised qualification as a post-test instructor. Although I was already a CBT and DAS qualified instructor and have a Masters degree in a science, something more relevant would look good on the CV, I thought. The best bet at the time looked to be a Driver Education course at Middlesex University, at least partly because it had a distance learning option, and secondly because it could be extended through NVQ to degree, master and even PhD level. After signing on and parting with the relevant amount of cash, my first modules arrived in the autumn. I knuckled down and got stuck into the work. With the deadline approaching two months later, I presented the work only to discover my tutor had taken a holiday just as we were supposed to be submitting the work. I was told it would now be marked too late to move onto the second module in the spring. I wasn't particularly happy about that. I was even less happy when several of the topics I'd submitted were rejected because they were motorcycle-specific - I was told they didn't have a tutor who knew anything about motorcycles. Hardly my problem, I thought. Eventually, I gathered a couple of points towards an NVQ, but as the experience hadn't been brilliant I reluctantly decided to drop it and save my money. Instead I turned to the BTEC in Advanced Motorcycle Instruction that was run by South Lincs Motorcycle Training. It turned out to be a far better choice than the Middlesex University course.

Both courses used an element of 'accreditation of prior learning' (APL) element for instructors with previous experience to replace traditional 'taught' courses. The idea is that you show the assessors that you have not only been teaching, but that you have used the courses you have taught as a learning experience for yourself to develop and improve both personal skills and the training being delivered. It avoids the need to spend weeks in the classroom being taught what you already know.

The required format for the BTEC was slightly different from the Middx course. This meant the original submission I had made to Middx was a useful background document, The main exhibit was to be a portfolio which still needed fleshing out with the hard evidence.

Sounds easy? Yes, at first sight. Easy enough to provide photocopies of my driving licence and CBT card. Not too difficult to provide copies of my current training notes. But to demonstrate learning?

Fortunately I'm one of those people who NEVER throws anything away. That does mean the office is knee-deep in paperwork and old bike magazines but it also meant I could lay hands on old notes which I used to develop the syllabus, briefing notes at various stages of development, course details themselves including debriefing notes and so on, right up to the current 'in-use' stuff.

First up I assembled notes from the original instructor training course I attended in 1995. I added the DAS training course I personally wrote back in early 1997 for the basic training school to help instructors pass the Direct Access assessment. I had a large pile of notes which became the drafts, redrafts, final versions and revised final versions of my advanced training syllabus itself. I had the same stacks of papers showing the various stages of development of the course handouts that go to the trainees. I added copies of other training materials such as training aids and assessment sheets. I added items of interest from from the website and motorcycle forums. I added original drafts and photocopies of items that appeared in the various magazines I have had articles published in. Finally, I added selected emails from trainees requesting courses and the follow up written debriefs that are provided with the courses.

The result? An overflowing A4 box-file on which I couldn't actually shut the lid.

I made a date for an interview to determine whether the portfolio was up to the job and to see if I could justify the learning I was claiming. It wasn't quite the grilling I had expected - Malcolm Palmer popped over to meet me in Oxford and spent a long evening chatting informally over several mugs of tea and a plate of fish and chips, whilst going piece-by-piece through the file. However, he was thorough - around 4 hours later (too late for a quick pint) Malcom left me with a list of what he would like included and copied for the formal submission for APL.

Now all I had to do was copy those I needed to submit, and annotate them to explain what they were and why I was submitting them. Job done, I thought.

Ha. What seemed like a couple of hours work dragged on into weeks of sifting the box, and hunting for the original files on the PC and long-lost zip disks (remember them?). Sometimes I discovered they were formatted for an extinct version of a word processor it seemed no-one else had ever used. In some cases I was able to reformat and print a copy, but where the notes were handwritten or the PC version was long gone, I had to scan then print page-by-page for the portfolio.

Eventually, everything was neatly placed in a large red ring binder and dropped off to Malcolm the evening before the second part of the APL assessment.

.... to be continued ....

Kevin Williams
Survival Skills Rider Training

...because it's a jungle out there


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What is Survival Skills all about?

How are Survival Skills Courses put together and taught?
The Making of a Good Instructor - musings on my Driver Education course

Would a National Standard for advanced training be appropriate?
Writing a riding tip - what detail is necessary?
What to do if you've had an accident
Accident Statistics - dispelling some myths

Improver or advanced, pragmatism or perfection?
Piling on the miles
Compartmentalisation & Practice -  the key to learning new skills
Countersteering - Question and Answer

Braking Rules and Tips
Over-confidence and Riding at the Limit
Practice makes Perfect
The Danger of Misunderstanding
Learning from your Mistakes
A Moment of Inattention
Staying Warm
Staying Awake
Don't just ride for yourself, ride for others
Filtering - what's legal and how to do it
Cornering Problems 1 - Lean or Brake?
Springing into Summer - polishing off the winter rust
Group Riding - Rules and Tips
Awareness of Risk and Risk Management
Cornering Problems 4 - Stability and the "Point and Squirt" technique
Cornering Problems 3 - Staying out of trouble! Pro-active Braking or Acceleration Sense?
Cornering Problems 2 - Staying out of trouble
What is Risk?
Avoiding Diesel
The Vanishing Point - is it enough?
Posture - the key to smoother riding
When the Two Second Rule is not enough
Riding in the Dark
Roundabouts - straight lines, stability and safety
Slow Speed Control
Aquaplaning - what it is and how to deal with it
Rear Observation - when to & when not to!
Staying upright on icy roads
KISS - 'Keep it simple, Stupid' or Low Effort Biking
Overtaking Safety - avoiding vehicles turning right
Proactive versus Reactive Riding
Living with  Lifesavers
Which Foot? The Hendon Shuffle - Question and Answer
Carrying a passenger - Question and Answer
Riding in the rain
Riding in strong winds
Sorry Mate, I didn't see you - an analysis of SMIDSY accidents
Ever gone into a corner too hot and had it tighten up on you?
The Point & Squirt approach to corners
A time to live...
Target Fixation - Question and Answer
The Lurker, the Drifter and the Trimmer
The five most important things I learned as a courier
Overtaking - Questions and Answers
Precision riding - or keeping it simple?
Wide lines, tight lines, right lines - the law of Diminishing Returns
Surface Attraction
Euphoria - when your riding is just too good to be true
Straight line -vs- trail braking
Sit back, close your eyes, relax... and hope for the best
Before you overtake, do you...?
Do you need to blip the throttle on a downshift?
Holiday Riding Tips 1 - Dealing with hairpins (a new occasional series)
Holiday Riding Tips 2 - The (drive on the) Right Stuff
Why SMIDSYs happen
Avoiding dehydration - riding in hot weather
Riding errors - and avoiding them
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness - riding in fog
Where does Point and Squirt come from?
Overtaking - lifesavers and following distances
Offsiding - what is it, and why you should think before you do it!
Anger Management - dealing with "red mist" and "road rage"
That indefinable gloss
Overtaking on left-handers - experts only or best avoided?
Apex or Exit - what's important when cornering?

Developing 'Spidy Sense'

Armchair Riding - how to improve summer skills in winter

Working towards a BTEC in post-test instruction part 1

Working towards a BTEC in post-test instruction part 2

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IMPORTANT: The information on the Survival Skills website is for your general information and personal use and should be taken as a guide only. Survival Skills Rider Training provides no warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness, clarity, fitness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements and you acknowledge use of any information and materials is entirely at your own risk, and that neither Kevin Williams nor Survival Skills can accept responsibility for your interpretation or use of this information or materials. The content of these pages is subject to change without notice. 

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