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UK Employers Urged to Upskill Workers
November 26, 2019
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As businesses around the world race to upskill their workforces, City & Guilds Group warns that UK employers risk being left behind

UK employers must do more to upskill their workforces or risk lagging behind employers in other parts of the world, according to City & Guilds Group.

It surveyed 6,500 employees and 1,300 employers across 13 international markets and found significant differences in L&D investment in different parts of the globe.

The research showed that employers in developing countries with rapidly emerging economies are among the most likely to ramp up investment in upskilling their workforce in the near future, compared to developed economies such as the UK.

A significant proportion of Indian (92%) and Kenyan (78%) employers predicted a net increase in L&D investment in the next 12 months, compared to just 54% of employers in the UK. 

This is concerning considering only 13% of UK employees would rate the L&D opportunities at their organisation over the past year as very effective, compared to 31% of employees in India, researchers said.

When asked about skills, 71% of employees globally recognised that the skills they need to do their job will change in the next three to five years. However, only 66% of UK workers think their employer is keeping pace with these changing skills.

UK employers had a more positive outlook, with three-quarters (75%) saying they’re confident they have the skilled staff they need for the next three to five years. 

This highlights a worrying gap between employer and employee perceptions which could lead to lower retention rates, poor performance and opportunities as for employees to seek out organisations which can better meet their training needs.

John Yates, group director for corporate learning at City & Guilds Group, said the research shows that upskilling is less of a priority in the UK than he hoped. 

“Businesses worldwide are navigating a period of immense transformation – and this is particularly evident in emerging economies where organisations are ramping up their investment in L&D as they embrace technology and hone the skills required to compete on a global stage. 

“However, our study shows investment in skills is less of an immediate priority for employers in the UK – putting us at risk of lagging behind other, more future-focused countries,” he said.

He urged employers to listen to workers’ needs on training and development: “With the workforce becoming increasingly mobile – and the influx of overseas talent crucial to the future of British businesses – UK employers cannot afford complacency. 

“Employers need to listen to their workers’ training needs and ensure they continue to focus on upskilling or risk losing talent to other markets who are making this a priority. Equipping workforces with the skills to succeed in the future is a marathon, not a sprint, but those who overlook the importance of skills investment risk dropping out of the race altogether.”

The study also found that employers in developing economies are feeling the impact of technological advances in the workplace most acutely.

While just 25% of employers in the US and 42% in the UK recognise the impact of digital transformation on their business, this rose to 65% of Kenyan and 62% of Indian employers. Equally, when it comes to automation and AI, the majority of employers surveyed in Malaysia (60%) and India (58%) found this to be a major driver of change, compared to just 27% of employers in the UK.

Paul Grainger, co-director of the centre for post-14 education and work and head of enterprise and innovation for the department of education, practice and society (EPS) at UCL, said technology can help to support the changing workforce. 

“The foreseeable future is likely to be dominated by emerging digital technologies. These can help individuals and communities to grow, become more agile, develop skills and network with a wider, global community,” he said.

“As these technologies are able to transcend borders, they help organisations and the communities in which they are based to adapt to the evolving needs of the community and the world at large. They support agility. And as workplace change is increasingly rapid, it is likely that those regions actively engaged in emerging markets will be better placed to manage the tensions between flexibility and predictability.”

14 Best Sites for Taking Online Classes to Boost Skills
September 4, 2019
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If you, your colleagues or your clients are looking to pick up a new skill, then an on-line course may be appropriate. They are shorter than a college course, they’re typically self-regulated, and they cover just about every skill, topic, or hobby you can possibly imagine.

But with this luxury comes great responsibility—mainly, the task of finding a site that works best for you.

Below is a list of resources that offer free, cheap, and quality classes right here on the internet.

Now all you have to do is sign up for one!

1. ALISON

ALISON has a large range of free, comprehensive classes on financial literacy, personal and soft skills, digital skills, entrepreneurship and then some. It targets all kinds of learners, from professionals and managers to teachers and freelancers.

2. Udemy

Udemy has plenty to offer for the learner on a budget, from completely free courses taught by experts, professors, entrepreneurs, and professionals, to frequent discounts and class specials. In addition to classes in tech, business, and marketing, you can also explore options in productivity, health, hobbies, and lifestyle.

3. Coursera

If you want to receive a college education without the high cost of tuition, Coursera is the best stop. This website offers amazing courses in all kinds of fields, from professional development to psychology, history, and literature—all created and taught by professors at top institutions nationally and across the globe. Their universities include Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and plenty more.

4. edX

Just like Coursera, edX offers anyone, anywhere the chance to take university classes in various departments—and get certified. Some of their big partners include Harvard, Berkeley, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and the University of Chicago (and that’s not all!).

5. Udacity

Udacity focuses on software development, offering free courses in programming, data science, and web development. The website also offers a nanodegree program for individuals who want to master a skillset or pursue a full-time career in tech.

6. Lynda

By subscribing to Lynda, you’ll have access to thousands of courses in business, design, art, education, and tech. And it offers a free 10-day trial so you can test the waters!

7. General Assembly

General Assembly offers both online and in-person classes, as well as full-time and part-time options. It focuses mainly on digital skills, covering subjects such as digital marketing, iOS and Android development, data analytics, and JavaScript.

8. Skillshare

Skillshare provides “bite-sized” classes to learners who only have 15 minutes a day. It has over 500 free classes and several thousand premium classes to choose from in topics such as film, writing, tech, lifestyle, and more.

9. LearnSmart

LearnSmart’s orientated toward career development, which is why it’s a great place to learn about IT and security, project management, Office, HR, and business.

10. Codecademy

Codecademy wants to teach you how to, well, code—and for free. It covers all kinds of programming, including JavaScript, Ruby, HTML, CSS, and Python.

11. Pluralsight

After subscribing to Pluralsight (or using its free trial!), you’ll be able to explore classes in software, 3D development, VFX, design, game design, web design, and CAD software.

12. Adobe TV

Not sure how to use Photoshop or InDesign? Don’t worry, Adobe TV will walk you through all its programs with tutorials, manuals, and more.

13. FutureLearn

FutureLearn’s completely free, with classes taught by universities and special organizations. Its big topics are business and management, creative arts, law, health, politics, science, digital skills, sports and leisure, and teaching.

14. Academic Earth

And if you’re looking solely for academic classes, this website is perfect for you. It has courses in the arts, science, humanities, economics, computer science, and more, all for free.

Still don’t know where to start? Try Class Central—it personalizes your class search by asking you from the get-go what you’re interested in learning and from whom. Then, it pairs you with options from Coursera, edX, and other forums to find what best suits your needs, making the process even easier!

Problem-Solving Ranked by Employers as the Most Important Skill for their Employees
May 24, 2019
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LifeSkills created by Barclays asked UK employers across a range of different sectors and industries to choose the skills that matter most to them when building their workforce.

The seven core skills identified are:

  1. Proactivity
  2. Adaptability
  3. Leadership
  4. Creativity
  5. Resilience
  6. Communication, and
  7. Problem-solving

When asked which of these seven core skills was the most important, problem-solving was number one, ranking higher than creativity, leadership or communication. Read more

Ofsted’s New Provider Monitoring Visits
January 18, 2019
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Chris Jones, HMI, Specialist Adviser for Apprenticeships, on Ofsted’s new provider monitoring visits (8th January 2019)

Since April 2017, any provider wishing to train apprentices must be included on the register of apprenticeship training providers. We inspect all providers that receive apprenticeship funding from the Education & Skills Funding Agency or through the apprenticeship levy and that deliver apprenticeships at levels 2 to 5. A number of these providers are now eligible for inspection for the first time.

We usually inspect a new provider within 3 years of it beginning to deliver education and training programmes. But, because of the large volume of these new apprenticeship training providers and the potential risk to quality, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announced in November 2017 that inspectors would carry out early monitoring visits to a sample of new apprenticeship providers. The Department for Education (DfE) has since provided additional funding to make sure that we have the resources to carry out monitoring visits to all these providers.

We will now be carrying out a monitoring visit to all newly funded apprenticeship training providers that have been delivering level 2 to 5 apprenticeships since April 2017. This visit will normally be within 24 months of their starting to deliver funded training. They will then have a full inspection normally within 24 months from when we publish their monitoring visit report.

By the end of November 2018, we had published more than 90 reports from monitoring visits to new providers.

Themes that inspectors look at

Monitoring visits for new providers are different to full and short inspections. They normally take place over 2 days. Inspectors do not cover all aspects of the inspection framework. Inspectors make progress judgements on 3 themes: Read more

Qualifications – What Qualifications? Deregulation of Qualifications in England
November 21, 2018
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The following article is by Ann Gravells, Author and Education Consultant.

If you are a practitioner in the further education, training and skills’ sector, it can be confusing knowing which qualification you should hold.Ann Gravells, Author and Education Consultant

I say ‘should’ hold, but you might not need one since the deregulation of qualifications in England in 2013 (there are different requirements for the other nations).

It’s now the responsibility of the individual employer, college or university to make the decision as to what qualifications their staff should hold. However, there might be requirements to hold certain teaching and/or subject qualifications as part of the programme being taught and assessed.

Practitioners are ‘dual professionals’ i.e. they are a subject expert as well as a teacher, trainer, assessor or quality assurer.

Teachers and trainers

The most popular qualifications for teachers and trainers are the:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET)
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (CET)
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education (and Specialised Diploma) (DET).

Read more

ViewPoint: By David Hughes – Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges
November 8, 2018
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By ignoring colleges, the Budget ignored the UK skills crisis Far from being a “People’s Budget”, the Chancellor failed to address the critical need amongst young people and employers for investment in colleges.

“The hard work of the British people is paying off. Austerity is coming to an end.” These were the words of the Chancellor as he introduced his Budget for “the strivers, the grafters and the carers”. I’ve even heard commentators talking about it as a “People’s Budget”. The problem, as always, is which people?

There are many other commentators who will pore over the tax and benefits announcements to declare how fair or otherwise the Budget was and who won and who lost. What I saw was a Budget that was more about politics and potholes than about the jobs, skills and life chances.

Any long-term view of our country will recognise just how important it will be to improve our education and skills investment as the weaknesses in our labour market become more exposed. Employers in private and public sectors have become reliant on skilled and semi-skilled people moving here to work, many from the EU. Nurses, teachers, engineers, construction workers, carers, shop workers – the list goes on and on. That reliance has hidden the misfit between our education and skills investment and the jobs that are available.

Read more

Educating for the Modern World: Increased demand for Higher Skilled Roles
November 7, 2018
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The CBI reports that more than three-quarters (79%) of businesses expect to increase the number of higher-skilled roles over the coming years.

Yet two-thirds (66%) fear that there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies. 

That’s according to the 2018 CBI Education and Skills Annual Report, in partnership with Pearson.

The report represents 28,000 businesses and reveals that 85% of firms are expecting to maintain or increase investment in training in their workforce. Currently, UK employers spend £44.2 billion on training expenditure each year.

When asked about the impact of the apprenticeship levy, the report highlighted a drop in the number of firms offering apprenticeship programmes (from 83% in 2017 to 70% in 2018). Worryingly, 59% of those firms that offer such programmes have experienced difficulty in recruiting apprentices or expect to do so in the next three years.  And over a quarter (26%) have taken the decision to absorb the levy as an added cost of doing business. Read more

How Useful is The Concept of Skills Mismatch?
October 1, 2018
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The following blog was written and published by dmh Associates.DMH Associates

The term skill mismatch is very broad and can relate to many forms of labour market friction, including vertical mismatch, skill gaps, skill shortages, field of study (horizontal) mismatch and skill obsolescence.

This discussion paper  written by Seamus McGuinness ESRI and IZA, Konstantinos Pouliakas Cedefop, University of Aberdeen and IZA and  Paul Redmond ESRI and published by the  I Z A Institute of Labour Economics provides a clear overview of each concept and discusses the measurement and inter-relatedness of different
forms of mismatch.

It presents a comprehensive analysis of the current position of the literature on skills mismatch and highlight areas which are relatively underdeveloped and may warrant further research.

Using data from the European Skills and Jobs Survey, they assess the incidence of various combinations of skills mismatch across the EU.

Finally, the paper reviews the European Commission’s country-specific recommendations and find that skills mismatch, when referring to under-utilised human capital in the form of over education and skills underutilisation, receives little policy attention. Read more

Employer Skills Survey
September 6, 2018
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The UK Employer Skills Survey (ESS) is one of the largest business surveys in the world, with the data in this report based on survey responses from over 87,000 employers.

Recruitment and skill-shortage vacancies

Growth in recruitment activity was evident across most of the UK.

In line with previous years, a third of vacancies in the UK (33%) were considered hard to fill.

There has been an 8% increase in the number of skill-shortage vacancies compared with 2015. They were most numerous in the Business Services sector (just under 52,000 at the time of the survey), though as a proportion of all vacancies in the sector, the density of such vacancies was highest in Construction. By occupation, employers were most likely to have experienced skills-related difficulties when recruiting for Skilled Trades positions. The skills disproportionately lacking for Professionals included advanced IT skills and complex analytical skills.

The proportion of vacancies proving hard to fill exclusively for non-skills-related reasons was highest in Health and Social Work.

Among employers who had vacancies that were proving hard to fill, 34% had attempted to recruit EU nationals to try to help overcome recruitment difficulties. This was a particularly common way of trying to fill hard-to-fill vacancies in the Hotels and Restaurants sector (53%). Read more

75% of Firms Expect Increase of High-Skilled Roles in Coming Years
August 8, 2018
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Nation’s prosperity relies on more people of all ages going to university, educating more people at university could bring significant benefits to our economy, according to a new report published today [6 Aug] by Universities UK. The report, ‘Solving future skills challenges highlights the need for continual skill upgrading, lifelong learning and study of higher education qualifications at all levels.

The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and digital technology – and challenges of Brexit and an ageing population are creating rising demand for those with higher level skills, which include qualifications at level 4 and 5 (such as HNCs, HNDs, and Foundation Degrees), level 6 (bachelor degrees) and level 7 and 8 (postgraduate and research degrees)

John Cope, CBI Head of Education and Skills, said:

“UUK is right to highlight the growing need for higher level education, training, and skills, as well as the importance of lifelong learning. CBI research has found that three quarters of businesses expect to increase the number of high-skilled roles over the coming years, and many have concerns about skills shortages.

“Better information and careers guidance for people – alongside greater numbers of flexible learning opportunities – is vital to help people choose the best route for them to higher level skills, whether that’s at a university, college, or learning on the job through a degree apprenticeship.”


Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK
, said there is significant evidence of the need to increase student numbers:

“There is rising employer demand for the broad skills developed at university across a wide range of subjects and levels. The UK economy and society needs more graduates. Educating more people of all ages at university would grow our economy faster, by increasing productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.

“The analytical and learning skills developed at university help people adapt in the rapidly changing jobs market. To meet future challenges, the government should develop new policies to make part-time study more appealing, upskilling easier and encourage lifelong learning among our ageing population.” Read more