Dragon Naturally Speaking e-Learning - Training

Saturday, August 31, 2013

British and US workers differ on what makes a ‘boss from hell’

A new poll on bad bosses gives an insight into what workers in Britain and the United States want - and don't want - from their leaders.  

Learning content specialist Video Arts asked employees to vote for the worst bosses depicted in film or on television either side of 'the pond'. The poll shows that Britain's 'boss from hell' is David Brent from The Office (portrayed by Ricky Gervais). America's worst boss is Miranda Priestley, from The Devil Wears Prada (played by Meryl Streep). 

Martin Addison, CEO of Video Arts, said: "500 years ago, Machiavelli posed the question of whether it is better to be loved or feared as a leader. Interestingly, when asked who they would least like to work for, British workers chose a boss who strives to be loved by those around him, whereas US workers opted for someone who wants to be feared."  

The poll indicates that the worst-possible boss in Britain is an insecure and self-deluded individual who is desperate to be popular and tries too hard to be funny. In the US, the nightmare boss is someone icy, dismissive and condescending who believes they are always right and who psychologically abuses subordinates. 

"Machiavelli claimed that it is desirable to be both loved and feared as a leader but he acknowledged that this is difficult to achieve.

"He concluded that its safer to be feared than to be loved. Above all, he said, a leader should strive to avoid being hated. This is where David Brent and Miranda Priestley fail, as both are despised by their teams. Having a miserable workplace may be entertaining on film or TV but in reality it is never a good thing. There's a lesson in that for every boss," he added. 

According to the poll voters, Britain's top 'bad bosses' are: 1. David Brent, The Office; 2. Malcolm Tucker, The Thick of It; 3. Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers; 4. Edmund Blackadder, Blackadder; 5. Lord Alan Sugar, The Apprentice; 6. Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter, Only Fools and Horses and 7. Captain Mainwaring, Dad's Army. 

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Skills minister welcomes fall in number of young people not training

Skills minister Matthew Hancock has welcomed a fall in the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The NEET stats for the second quarter of the year (April to June) were published today and they show the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds who are NEET is 9.1 per cent (168,000), a drop of 1.4 percentage points (28,000) on the same period in 2012.

There have also been five consecutive quarters of year-on-year falls in the rate of 16- to 24-year-olds who are NEET.

The statistics also show, when compared to the same quarter in 2012, that:

- the proportion of 19- to 24-year-olds who are NEET fell by 0.5 percentage points (24,000) to 18.3 per cent (767,000)

- the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds who are NEET fell by 0.8 percentage points (51,000) to 15.5 per cent (935,000)

Furthermore, the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds in education or training in this quarter was 83 per cent (1,526,000), up by 2.2 percentage points (27,000) on the same time last year. This is the highest level of participation in this quarter since consistent records began in 2000, where it was 74.2 per cent.

Some employer surveys suggest young people lack the experience and skills required to be successful in the workplace. That is why the government is continuing its reforms to ensure every young person is prepared for the world of work, enabling them to prosper and compete in the global race. This includes:

- raising the participation age from this September. Young people will be required to continue their education to the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. From summer 2015, this will rise to staying in education until their 18th birthday

- spending £7.4 billion in 2013 to 14 to fund an education and training place for every 16- or 17-year-old who wants one and £4.1 billion on adult learning and skills in the same time period

- implementing the proposals from the Richard Review to increase the quality of apprenticeships. Higher levels of English and maths achievement will be demanded of all apprentices

- introducing traineeships from August, to help young people develop the skills and characteristics they need to compete for apprenticeships and other jobs. Lasting up to 6 months, traineeships will offer young people training to prepare for the workplace, English and maths, and a high quality work placement

- reforming vocational education in line with Professor Alison Wolf's recommendations. From September, all 16- to 19-year-olds students will be able to study courses tailored to their prior attainment and career aspirations. These courses will focus on those areas that employers value most - English and maths, substantial qualifications and work experience

These reforms and investment complement the £1 billion Youth Contract which provides a range of extra targeted support for 16- to 24-year-olds who are NEET to help get them back on track.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: "With GCSE results now out, I am heartened to see the fall in the number of young people not in work, training or education. We are heading in the right direction, but one young person out of work, education or training, is one too many.

"That is why we are continuing to work hard to give young people the skills, confidence and experience demanded by employers and universities. Only then can we say we have done everything we can to ensure young people reach their potential and help us compete in the global race."

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Businesses should capitalise on over 60s skill-set, say Skillsoft

Businesses should be looking to capitalise on what the over 60s have to offer, according to learning pioneers Skillsoft.

Kevin Young, general manager Skillsoft EMEA, believes that by setting up mentoring programmes, older staff can guide, pass on knowledge and help younger workers in an easy and effective way to both include and utilise the over 60s capabilities.

His comments come in the wake of a report by the Department for Work and Pensions, which found that the amount of older people working has increased by nearly two million in the last 15 years.

And Young says it's imperative that there is a staunch focus on continuous development of skills of older workers. 

"The latest figures from the Department from Work and Pensions confirm what we have known for a long time: the UK has and will continue to have, a rising number of older workers. However, while enabling the older generation to remain in the workplace for longer is no doubt a vital step in addressing the labour shortage, it will only work if accompanied by a change in attitude by organisations. This includes reworking HR policies and practices to meet the needs of older workers and removing the common stereotypes associated with this demographic," he said.

"Pensions minister, Steve Webb, is right to suggest that older workers can hold the key to drive our economy forward. The stereotypical view that older workers will take time off sick and to visit grandchildren is holding individuals and ultimately, businesses back. Whilst younger employees have the enthusiasm and desire to learn, they do not have the experience to guide themselves through the minefield which is the workplace. Therefore, businesses should be looking to capitalise on what the over 60s have to offer. By setting up mentoring programmes, older staff can guide, pass on knowledge and help younger workers in an easy and effective way to both include and utilise the over 60s capabilities.

"As well as using older workers to educate those around them, it is also important to develop their skills. The younger generation tends to be much more au fait with all things digital and older workers may need training to stay up-to-date in this and other emerging technologies. However, our own research discovered that 92 per cent of UK CEOs do not currently invest in training and development for those employees over the age of 60. 

"Instead of ignoring this age group, businesses need to take the lead and encourage older workers to enhance their skill set by offering both a job and training in one package, as they do for the younger generation. If not, it will be businesses that miss out on this untapped resource that is the experienced and loyal worker and run the risk of a wider skills gap emerging."

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Earn while you learn, training provider urges

School leavers should consider paid training rather than further education if they want to get ahead in life.

That's according to training provider PM Training, who were providing the news as school leavers digest their GCSE exam results today. Like many, PM Training is offering apprenticeship places in the next year so young people can earn while they learn.

One of the suppliers for the Government's new traineeship programme, PM Training celebrates five years as part of the Aspire Group this month. It also supports more than 800 businesses in Staffordshire. 

Will Nixon, chief executive of PM Training, said: "We are finding increasing numbers of young people and businesses attracted to the training schemes we offer. Around 70 per cent of trainees positively progress through PM Training's skills programmes and 95 per cent of these go on to full-time apprenticeships, giving both companies and young people a chance to flourish."

John Edmonds, 18, was taken on by Stoke-based Listers Trade Frames two years ago. Edmonds originally went straight to college after GCSEs but regretted the decision and then turned to PM Training. 

He said: "I'd advise anyone leaving school to go onto training with organisations such as PM Training. 

"Earning some money has helped me to learn how to drive, so I can now drive the company's vans too - it's made a big difference to my life."

Listers has taken on more than 30 apprentices from PM Training in the last 10 years. 

Mark Warren, Listers' managing director, said: "It's a difficult time for school leavers - studying can be expensive and there's no guarantee of a job at the end of it. An apprenticeship can be so much more attractive, and deliver some real life skills along the way. It's a win win result for both the individual and the company they work for."

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Home building industry investing more in skills and training, study finds

The home building sector is investing more in skills and training as new build demand reaches its highest level since 2008.

That's according to a new report which reveals that 50 per cent of all builders and 80 per cent of housing associations are taking on an apprentice this year.

The report published by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), National House Building Council (NHBC), Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Zero Carbon Hub also found that 33 per cent of home building companies want to increase spend on training and 73 per cen of the existing workforce would describe current skills levels as 'good'.

All home builders provide some form of training to sub-contractors onsite and more than 25 per cent are spending more on training than five years ago. Still, 45 per cent of the home building industry believe more needs to be done to ensure the sector has the right skills in place when industry returns to growth;  

Almost half of the home building sector has been given some form of training in the last 12 months and the industry believes a 'mastercraftsmen' qualification to go past NVQ3 is required. The report also revealed that better links between house builders, educational establishments and the construction industry are needed and the sector must promote itself better to attract school leavers and the best apprentices.

Mike Quinton, chief executive of NHBC, said: "Everyone has known for some time about the ageing workforce and the impact of the recession on our industry's ability to attract and retain skilled workers. As the home building industry shows the first signs of growth after several years, we are now hearing increasing alarm about the availability of the right people with the right skills to allow us to maximise these opportunities for growth."

Worryingly, the report also revealed the impact the economic downturn has had on the home building sector; causing 40 per cent of jobs to be shed from the industry and leading to a third of companies spending less on training than five years ago.

It was also noted that with the general economic climate improving, and the constraints on supply being addressed, Government initiatives such as the 'Help to Buy' scheme were helping to revive the home building industry, which in Q1 2013 saw output increase 29.5 per cent on 2012 and 0.2 per cent on 2008 levels.  

Steve Geary, skills strategy director, CITB said: "This research reinforces the need for the industry to be working with CITB on a skills action plan to meet the current and future needs of the homebuilding sector. With the emphasis on building more homes in the future to meet demand we need more focus on investment in training now if we are to avoid skills shortages."

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Ex-offenders training programme saves taxpayer £10 million

A training programme to help ex-offenders in Greater Manchester rebuild their lives by upskilling and finding work has saved the taxpayer an estimated £10 million, according to latest figures from Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

The CleanStart programme, a social enterprise initiative set up by Trafford Housing Trust and GMP, employs ex-offenders from the local community to clear out and clean empty properties, so that they can be re-let. Former offenders are contracted to work with the Trust for between six and nine months, at the end of which time, it is hoped they will move into permanent employment with local companies.

Since Trafford Housing Trust launched the social enterprise five years ago, thirty nine former offenders have been through the programme, with 22 finding permanent work. 

Figures released by GMP reveal that CleanStart has saved the taxpayer £10 million - by reducing re-offending rates and the burden on the criminal justice system.

Deborah Elgar, Trafford Housing Trust's social enterprise senior manager, said:"CleanStart has been tremendously successful over the past five years in helping ex-offenders to get their lives back on track, by providing them with the right skills and outlook to find permanent work, and avoid reoffending.

"We have had an very healthy conversion rate, with well over half of our participants going on to find permanent employment, and the vast majority staying out of prison for the long-term. The benefits, for the individuals involved, and for society, have been immense."

Trafford Housing Trust has extended the reach of its work by launching the Rainbow Furniture Centre, a Trust-owned furniture recycling centre on Cornbrook Park Road, run by ex-offenders, where customers can purchase low cost, high quality second hand furniture at affordable prices. A successful partnership has also been developed over the past year with HMP Styal - a closed women's prison in Cheshire - in which training and employment opportunities for current inmates are provided, to help them reintegrate more quickly upon their release.

Sergeant Scott Braithwaite from Greater Manchester Police's Trafford Division added: "The CleanStart programme continues to be very successful in reducing re-offending rates, by giving former offenders a chance to forge a new path for themselves. It reduces the burden on the police force, saves the taxpayer money and results in a more positive and fulfilling life for the individuals involved. It's a real success story."   

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Up to 20,000 apprenticeships available, NAS say

As students collect their A Level results today, new figures from the National Apprenticeship Service have revealed that up to 20,000 apprenticeships are now be available online.

While the number of vacancies available on apprenticeships.org.uk varies from day to day, the highest number of apprenticeships recorded in the last three months was 20,615 (on 21st June 2013).

With more than half (54 per cent) of young people in England wanting to do an apprenticeship if one was available and figures from youth website Not Going To Uni showing 71 per cent of employers would recommend young people do an Apprenticeship, the National Apprenticeship Service is anticipating one of the busiest days for young people to apply for Apprenticeships.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "With more vacancies than ever before, apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for young people who want to achieve their career goals through an alternative route to University. We want more employers to take advantage of the advice and support available from the National Apprenticeship Service and consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business." 

The increasing popularity of apprenticeships among young people comes after business research showed that employers find apprentices 15 per cent more employable than young people with other qualifications. In the study, employers ranked higher apprentices as the most employable of all young people - above those with degrees.

David Way, executive director, National Apprenticeship Service, said: "A-Level results day can be a really stressful time for young people, especially as they wait for their results.  The good news is that with ever more apprenticeships, there is an increasing range of high quality options available to young people.

"Higher apprenticeships in particular are ideal for A-Level achievers who want to progress onto further learning, but also want to get a foot on the career ladder at the same time. Higher apprentices have the opportunity to gain degree-level equivalent qualifications at the same time as being in paid employment.  There are an increasing number of opportunities opening up in prestigious occupations and employers as more and more use Higher Apprenticeships as a way of attracting the best talent."

"Last year, the National Apprenticeship Service saw a record number of applications for apprenticeships on A-Level results day, and with up to 20,000 vacancies now available online at any one time, this summer we're expecting that the number of young people applying for an apprenticeship could hit a new high."

Joe Billington, director of the National Careers Service, said: "Young people getting their results today should take pride in their achievement. The National Careers Service is here to support everyone that is getting their results this month and encourage them look at their options and decide what to do next. There are lots of exciting opportunities out there."

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Use top female talent or lose it, CIPD warns

As the green shoots of economic recovery emerge, new CIPD research shows how urgent action needs to be taken by the corporate world to stem the leaking talent pipeline that could hinder the progress of growth.

Building on the messages in a report from the Women's Business Council published in June, it is clear that if business does not adopt flexible or innovative working practices, it will continue to lose impressive women who decide to set up their own businesses to achieve a better work-life balance.

'Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs,' the second report in a three part series by the CIPD on entrepreneurial practices, highlights that there are more than 2.4 million unemployed women who want to work and that if there were as many female entrepreneurs as there are male entrepreneurs, GDP could be boosted by 10 per cent by 2030.

To gain insight into what motivates female entrepreneurs and makes them successful, the CIPD interviewed a number of women to find out what made them go solo, what has made them thrive and what they think would encourage more to set up on their own. What became clear is that employers could have much to gain by creating the conditions in which these talented and committed women could thrive in the corporate world.

Dianah Worman OBE, public policy adviser at CIPD, said: "It's clear from our research that women have a lot to offer to the economy - be it by starting up their own businesses or by letting their entrepreneurial flair and business savvy shine in the corporate world. Employers need to act out of self interest to broaden the pools of talent available to them and ensure they do not lose out on the skills, energy and passion women can bring to their workplaces if they were allowed to work more autonomously and flexibly.

"Government is right to actively stimulate the wider take up of flexible working by employers and to seek to support women in setting up and growing their own enterprises. It makes perfect sense to find ways of helping them to do this in order  to build economic growth."

The CIPD's research shows that female-run enterprises are often particularly successful due to their unique approach to leadership and running their businesses:

• They tend to be motivated more by a sense of purpose than by solely the prospect of generating wealth

• They tend to grow their businesses incrementally and sustainably, avoiding debt in favour of self-financing wherever possible

• They tend to take a personal approach to marketing and relationship management, taking great care to protect their brands and enhance their reputations

• They tend to demonstrate great self awareness and business acumen, with ability to spot opportunities and recognise where bringing in new expertise can drive the business forward.

"The research found that the key drivers that motivate women to set up on their own are the desire for more autonomy and the need for greater work-life balance and flexible working. However, the women interviewed in the report also revealed some of the challenges associated with going it alone, stating that more women would be motivated to start successful businesses if they had access to a central business advice portal with quality guidance on financial business planning, franchising, up-skilling and training," Worman added.

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FLSP calls for greater awareness of apprenticeships

The Financial & Legal Skills Partnership has called for greater awareness of apprenticeships to meet the increasing demand of higher education.

As students collected their A Level results yesterday, Liz Field, CEO of the FLSP, says that apprenticeships need to be continued to be pushed forward as the rising cost of university may burden them with lifetime debt.

She said: "For young people to realise their future potential, we must embrace apprenticeships, and create more apprenticeship places to meet increased demand, while continuing to focus on the quality of the apprenticeship offered by employers." 

Financial & Legal Skills Partnership is responsible for facilitating the employer-led standards on which apprenticeships are based and approving apprenticeship frameworks in the sector. 

"School leavers will have concerns about their futures. We must make sure they can access all the tools and advice they need to take the right steps for a rewarding and fulfilling career. Higher apprenticeships, in particular, can open many doors for young people that may struggle to find ways into work beside traditional university routes."

Her comments follow the release of data from research company ICM, showing that 54 per cent of young people in England would choose to do an apprenticeship if one were available. This follows earlier ICM data showing that employers find apprentices 15 per cent more employable than young people with other qualifications, and ranking higher (degree level) apprenticeships higher than degrees. 

"This data shows that young people have a positive reaction to apprenticeships and vocational routes into jobs. Apprenticeships are not usually associated with the finance and legal sectors, however, the work already done to raise awareness are showing progress, with six employer-led apprenticeship frameworks, and more than 7,000 apprenticeships across the sector."

Data released earlier in the year showed a record 11 applications for each apprenticeship vacancy in the UK. According to the National Apprenticeship Service, there were almost 370,000 applications for apprenticeships between February and April, while 32,600 vacancies were advertised in the same period.

"For school leavers, apprenticeships can offer a viable, exciting alternative learning path to university, combining the practical benefits of vocational learning, with the opportunity to start on the path of a fulfilling career," she concluded.

The Financial & Legal Skills Partnership is an industry partnership and also a UK Government-licensed skills organisation that works across the UK's financial and legal services, finance and accountancy sectors.

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Employers lagging behind in youth engagement, CIPD reveals

As more than 700,000 young people prepare to pick up their GCSE results tomorrow, the CIPD has revealed how few employers are stepping up efforts to reduce youth unemployment.

According to the CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey 2013 , less than a third (29 per cent) of employers are taking on more people aged 16- to 24, despite the upturn in the jobs market.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: "Many 15-16 year olds and their parents will be nervously anticipating GCSE results. CIPD research has shown that many young people fear that they will struggle to find jobs and establish their future careers. 

"Last week's employment figures also highlighted that, while overall unemployment went down, youth unemployment is on the rise. There are some great examples of employers who are seeking to address this trend by implementing youth engagement strategies, creating apprenticeship opportunities or school leaver programmes. These organisations should be congratulated for their great work. However, there remains a significant proportion of employers who are not doing enough to engage with young people to help them to build the work skills they will need, and at the same time to build the future workforce their organisations need. 

"Business has a key role to play in developing our young people in order to bridge employability gaps and skills mismatches. We cannot simply expect governments or education systems to churn out off-the-shelf employees."

The CIPD Learning to Work programme is seeking to increase the number of access routes being offered to young people by employers, and provides guidance on implementing high quality work experience opportunities, apprenticeships and internships. The CIPD also champions two volunteering initiatives that facilitate employer engagement with young people - Inspiring the Future and Steps Ahead Mentoring. Across both schemes, more than 2,000 volunteers are signed up to help young people with their employability skills.

Speaking on the eve of exam results, Katerina Rudiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the CIPD, said: "There are lots of ways and opportunities for businesses to engage with young people. Indeed, many of our members have demonstrated innovative practices when it comes to championing young people in their organisations. 

"There has also been fantastic support for CIPD youth volunteering initiatives - with more than 2,000 HR professionals signed up to help build employability skills in young people. These individuals and organisations deserve recognition for their contribution. However, the recent CIPD recruitment data highlights the need for many organisations to try harder to bring young people in. This is crucial if we are to escape a future skills shortage and avoid creating a generation of people who are disillusioned with the world of work."

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TUC charter to help provide high quality traineeships

A new charter launched by the the learning and skills arm of the TUC will provide assistance for young people and training providers to ensure that the government's new traineeship programme offers young people the best possible introduction to the world of work.

The traineeships programme - which will be launched nationwide this month by unionlearn - is targeted at 16 - to 24 year-olds who are unemployed and who need to gain additional skills to find an apprenticeship or employment.

The TUC agrees with ministers that high-quality work experience is an important factor in helping young people into work. However, The TUC is concerned that poor quality schemes could lead to exploitation, with trainees being used as free labour and possibly even displacing existing workers.

Young people can also become disillusioned with schemes if they are not given relevant high-quality training and work experience or any chance of a job at the end of a placement, warns the TUC.

The TUC has therefore launched its traineeships charter - designed for union reps, but also useful for employers, training providers and young people looking to start a traineeship - that sets out several key points to ensure that a traineeship is high quality.

The charter says that young people should expect the following from a traineeship:

- Where work of value is done by a trainee, employers should pay them. This will also help prevent trainees displacing existing workers.

- Placements should give young people the skills relevant to their aims and the needs of the local labour market to raise their chances of future employment.

- Trainees should be offered careers guidance and advice on other work-related issues such as health and safety and employment rights.

-Qualifications received on a traineeship should count towards an apprenticeship framework.

Director of unionlearn, Tom Wilson, said: "With nearly a million young people currently out of work, unions believe that more needs to be done to help them get their careers back on track.

"'Traineeships can provide a vital bridge between education and work or an apprenticeship - but only if they are of sufficiently high quality.

"'Bad schemes can exploit trainees and displace existing workers from paid employment without doing anything to help young people into work.

"For a work placement to be genuinely useful it should offer fair pay when work of value is done, proper careers guidance and a guaranteed job interview at the end."

He added: "While the TUC traineeships charter is primarily designed for union reps to negotiate better schemes with employers, it should also be useful for training providers and young people wanting to know what to expect from a good quality work placement."

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Third of new employees do not feel ready for the workplace, report reveals

New employees share their employers' concerns about how education has prepared them for the modern workplace, according to new data released today. 

The study, conducted alongside the annual CBI/Pearson business survey, found that many new starters felt unprepared for the world of work. 

Interestingly, 70 per cent felt that lacked the necessary work experience. The most worrying statistic, however, was that a mere 31 per cent thought that they did not have the appropriate work skills when they started their first full-time role. A further 40 per cent did not feel enough time and attention was given to employability at school, college or university. 

Introducing the findings, Roxanne Stockwell, Principal of Pearson College, said: "The survey of new starters shows that there is a pressing need for higher education to link more closely to the professional world.

"High academic standards are vital, and our students will study many traditional business subjects as part of their degree, but this is not enough on its own. This survey, and the wider Pearson/CBI survey, demonstrate that corporate engagement and the chance to develop a sophisticated understanding of the modern business world are also crucial. It is not a question of choosing one or the other - both are essential."

Today's poll is released as Pearson, the UK's only FTSE-100 delivering business degrees, and Ashridge Business School announce a new partnership to address the gap between graduate employability and industry needs, offering business degrees in the UK and a suite of innovative undergraduate programmes in 2014.

The programmes will be delivered by Pearson College, validated by Ashridge, and designed by both along with a network of other industry partners.

This answers a demand highlighted in the annual CBI/Pearson business survey, showing that more than nine out of ten employers (93 per cent) believe that businesses must play a greater role in developing the talent of young people. 

The survey of 294 firms, employing 1.24 million workers, found that the top priority in this new approach is ensuring that qualification design and outcomes are based around employers' needs and industry standards (80 per cent).

Kai Peters, chief executive of Ashridge Business School, said: "The new programmes will develop graduates with the knowledge and skills that businesses are calling for, and give students practical experience of applying management theories in  areas such as marketing and finance. By ensuring students have experience in the corporate sphere and well-honed soft-skills we are developing practicing managers at a younger age, and boosting graduate employability."

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Demand for staff training has increased say, HR and L&D staff

Enthusiasm and demand for training among employees has increased in the last five years, and the majority regard it as an added value benefit that employers should provide.

These are the key findings of a survey of HR and Learning & Development (L&D) professionals conducted by the organisers of the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham on 1 and 2 October.

Among HR and L&D professionals, 88 per cent believe enthusiasm and demand from employees to be trained has increased over the last five years, with 41 per cent stating this demand has increased substantially.

With pay growth at its lowest ever recorded, 77 per cent of HR and L&D professionals surveyed also believe L&D is indirectly becoming part of the added value benefits that employers provide.

Andrew Gee, senior project manager at Venture Marketing Group, the organisers of the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition, said: "Many employees have become extremely keen to be trained, especially as they know it can help them develop their career. Offering good training and development opportunities is one of the best ways of attracting staff and keeping them engaged, and in turn making them more productive, so it is no wonder that L&D is becoming an added value benefit provided by employers."

A guide to increasing learning engagement is one of the topics discussed at the free learning seminar programme at the World of Learning exhibition. Stephen Walsh,director of City & Guilds Kineo, is set to reveal three steps that get learners to talk about and enjoy learning.

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NEETS remain a cause for concern, Welsh minister warns

Reducing the number of young people not in education, employment and training remains a priority for the Welsh Government.

That's according to the new deputy minister for skills and technology, Ken Skates, who was speaking exclusively to TJ about the current state of skills in Wales.

"Skills remain a key driver of productivity and competitiveness for Welsh business and the Welsh Government is well aware of that. We are continually evaluating skills intelligence to ensure we have robust evidence base for policymaking," he said.

"The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) report "Working Futures 2010-2020" predicted growth in jobs requiring high levels of qualification/skill in the UK over the next ten years. There is expected to be a continued trend of employment growth in higher skilled, white collar occupations, including managers, professionals and associate professional roles, providing the most significant increases. However, there is also expected to be continued growth in lower-skilled and intermediate occupations.

"We must ensure that Wales is in a strong position to take advantage of better economic conditions when we emerge from the downturn. Delivering a suitably skilled workforce with high quality opportunities for all will be essential to putting us in that position."

Skates stated the importance of Government doing everything possible to help employers bridge any skills gap, with young people central to these plans. 

"We want to ensure young people have access to high-quality education and training opportunities in order to fulfil their potential, either through a vocational or academic route. We need to encourage greater investment in skills from our partners in the private sector as a driver of productivity and growth. 

"We must support routes to sustainable jobs for the disadvantaged and unemployed, and  we need to ensure the learning infrastructure has the quality and capacity to deliver skills and training for a modern bilingual nation.

"We also need to take account of the implications of an ageing workforce which means that maintaining skills within the workforce through the retaining of older workers needs to be balanced against the demands of young people wishing to enter the labour market," he concluded.

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Skillsoft: Young workers’ training needs not being met

A survey of office workers has revealed that less than half of 16 - to 24 year-olds surveyed (48 per cent) feel that their training needs are being met by their employer, with 20 per cent of this age group working towards a professional qualification outside of work - at their own expense - to further their careers.

The research, commissioned by Skillsoft and carried out by independent research company Opinion Matters, also found that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of young recruits plan to leave within a year of starting a job, with more than half (54 per cent) leaving due to lack of training and career development prospects. For the over 55s age group, more than three quarters of those surveyed (76 per cent) feel their employer is meeting their training needs.

Training is often a double edged sword for employers with many asking why they should train staff, only for them to leave less than 12 months later and take that expertise to a competitor. On the other hand, not investing in the appropriate training will also have an impact on staff loyalty to a company and could hasten the exit of a valuable member of staff. 

Speaking at Skillsoft's recent Perspectives event, Simon Brown, head of learning transformation at Lloyds Banking Group, said: "Businesses need to consider whether they want to have the worst trained people in the industry and feel assured that they are going to stay with them, or have the best trained people and reduce the risk of them leaving by offering them challenging careers. 

"Rather than worrying about losing staff to competitors, companies need to make that investment in people and then make sure there is enough in the role and organisation to keep people there."

Commenting on the findings, Kevin Young, general manager, EMEA at Skillsoft said: "In today's tough job market, younger workers recognise the need to set themselves apart from the competition and grab every opportunity to develop and climb the career ladder. 

"Our research has shown that new recruits are hungry for knowledge, but current training programmes do not always meet this appetite, with many staff choosing to either invest in their own career development or leave a company due to a lack of training opportunities or progression."

"Companies need to harness the enthusiasm and commitment of their staff - who are obviously keen to learn and progress - and help motivate and retain their best employees, instead of letting them slip through the net."

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Apprentices offer online advice to GSCE pupils

A team of industry apprentices has made itself available to help GCSE pupils during results week.

The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC), which was founded and funded by awarding organisation EAL, will take questions from pupils in the midst of making life-changing decisions about their future.

The IAC will be available through their official Twitter and Facebook channels.

The online helpline is available for anyone looking for information or advice on: how to get into an apprenticeship; whether it's the right pathway for them; what they can achieve and where it could lead - among other Apprenticeship related topics.

An IAC spokesperson said: "It wasn't that long ago we went through GCSEs and A-levels and we know how nerve-wracking results day can be. It is a crucial time, when you will be making decisions that will affect your future, and making sure you pick the right next step is important.

"If you would like to know more about apprenticeships we are available to help. Apprenticeships offer a brilliant pathway into highly skilled, fulfilling careers in a wide variety of sectors. We are passionate about the vocational route and are happy to share our experiences with young people who are going through the same process we went through."

The IAC's members are all industry apprentices, aged 18- to 24 years old, from employers including: Airbus, BAE Systems, Caunton Engineering, DAF Trucks, Ford Dealerships, Ford GB, KMF, MBDA, National Grid, Nestlé, Rolls Royce and Vauxhall.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

TJ Awards entries up 30 per cent on 2012 figures

The TJ Awards 2013 are up 30 per cent on the 2012 figures and marks the eighth year of growth in the popularity of the awards. 

This year, new areas were added to the 2013 programme: mentoring and organisational development both of which had a strong number of entries and the commercial and training partnership categories remained the most popular groups. The biggest growing category for 2013 was for Best L&D Professional of the Year with entries rising by 200 per cent on 2012. 

The awards are judged by an independent panel of judges and the shortlist will appear in the September edition of TJ. The shortlisted candidates will be notified in late August and will be required to attend for interview in London during September and October. 

TJ's director of research and awards coordinator Debbie Carter said: "The growth in the awards again this year demonstrates the growing reach of the programme and supports the ethos of the TJ community which is all about supporting best practice in learning, and organisational development. 

"As the awards' programme grows, as well as celebrating the very best in our profession, it gives TJ the insight into organisations and their L&D activity to help inform our editorial content, workshop offerings and conference programmes."

The 16 winners will be announced at a glittering Gala Dinner at The Brewery, London on Wednesday 27th November.

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Apprentice numbers to rise by more than 50 per cent in the next five years

Apprenticeships in the UK are set to rise by more than 50 per cent to 800,000 in the next five years, according to management company Alexander Mann Solutions. 

According to the talent acquisition specialist, becoming an apprentice is proving an increasingly popular choice as employers realise the benefits of recruiting apprentices and seek a broader mix of candidates.

The number of apprenticeships grew by 14 per cent from 2011 to 2012 - numbering 520,600 - with nearly 75 per cent of apprentices now completing their apprenticeships successfully, compared to just 50 per cent in 2006. The sectors currently attracting the most apprentices are business administration and retail.

"There are many bright young people actively opting for apprenticeships over university degrees, and job opportunities for apprentices are growing as employers understand the value they deliver," says Tim Campbell, head of client services, emerging talent, Alexander Mann Solutions.

"It's a win win situation - employers benefit from a team of motivated new employees who are keen to learn the ropes, while apprentices become more confident by learning practical workplace skills."

Interestingly, more than 50 per cent of all apprenticeships are in business administration or retail, followed by healthcare and public services, engineering and manufacturing and construction. London has seen the biggest growth in apprentices (132 per cent), with the North East coming in second (107 per cent), while the South West has seen the smallest increase (60 per cent).

Campbell, who is building Alexander Mann Solutions' apprenticeship proposition, is an apprenticeship ambassador for the Mayor of London. Campbell himself was the first winner of the BBC TV Show 'The Apprentice'.

"Some 80 per cent of workplaces employing apprentices agree that they make the workplace more productive.

"Making the most of the growing numbers of successful apprentices means getting to the heart of their values and skills, and introducing a rigorous talent management process to find and keep the best people," he concluded.

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Retailers support Novus Degree to help graduates find work

Retailers B&Q, Travis Perkins and Dixons have joined Sainsbury's and many other companies in signing up as sponsors for the new four-year Novus Logistics and Supply Chain BSc degree course that offers successful graduates a guaranteed job.

The degree is seen as the long-term strategic answer to the serious skills gaps and shortfall of graduate talent that is becoming increasingly evident in the Supply Chain and Logistics Industry today.

The course covers supply chain management, finance, statistics, organisational structure and methods, sociology and psychology, transport network design, warehouse design, inventory management, supply chain IT and HR management. In addition, the 'core' degree course will be supplemented with further content covering the 'craft skills' required to effectively manage, e.g. leadership, people-management and communication.

Andy Kaye, chairman of the Steering Committee of The Novus Trust, said: "The industry understands that a solution to the impending skills gap is required and is rallying behind this innovative degree, which is set to inspire tomorrow' s supply chain professionals and encourage the best talent to consider a career in the sector. 

"With the pilot course commencing in September 2013, the Novus Trust is now reaching out to all those who are interested in commencing the Novus degree as undergraduates in September 2014. We would also encourage more companies to sign up for the exciting sponsorship opportunities and a chance to recruit the best new talent."

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Partnership agreement to boost skills of unemployed

Sector skills council People 1st and dinning restaurant chain operator Tragus Group have announced a partnership that will help unemployed people find work.

The partnership will see People 1st work closely with the Tragus team to run 'employment academies', which will provide job seekers with the skills they need to work in the hospitality industry.

Martine Pullen, head of pre-employment and apprenticeships at People 1st, said that it was fantastic to work with Tragus.

"Tragus has some fantastic brands and is a huge operation throughout the UK, so we're absolutely thrilled to be working in partnership with them.

"The level of support throughout the organisation has been amazing - every level of the operation has really been able to see the benefits our work can bring."

People 1st's work with Tragus will involve liaising directly with restaurant managers and local JobCentre Plus operations to identify unemployed people, and then train them so that they have the skills needed to work in the hospitality industry, and match them with local job opportunities.

Sara Edwards, group human resources director at Tragus, said: "The new partnership will provide fantastic opportunities both for Tragus and all programme participants. We know that people who are trained through the programme People 1st uses - Employment 1st - have the skills we want and need, so we will guarantee an interview to anyone who completes it.

"The employment academies are in the best interests of the company, but we' re also really happy that we'll be giving something back to the industry and local communities. By supporting a programme that gives people the skills to work in hospitality, we're helping make sure that the industry as a whole benefits from a better trained workforce."

Tragus plans to use the employment academies to help as part of meeting its future recruitment needs.

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CIPD: Traineeships have the power to be “transformative”

Traineeships have the power to be "transformative" for young people who take part in the initiative.

That's according to Katerina Rüdiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at CIPD who was responding to questions on the high level of youth unemployment.

A recent OECD report highlighted the high levels of youth unemployment and the increasing numbers of long-term unemployed in the UK as areas for concern. But with Skills Minister Matthew Hancock announcing the publication of a framework for delivery of traineeships for 16- to 19 year-olds last week, Rüdiger believes that this can help to address the issue of high unemployment.

"Recent CIPD research into recruitment practices found a clear mismatch between employers' expectations of young people during the recruitment process and young people's understanding of what is expected of them," she said. 

"Many young people are struggling during the transition from education into work as they do not know how to write a CV, prepare for an interview and lack prior work experience. Many also lack confidence and do not know how to sell themselves in the best possible way to employers. 

"Traineeships are an important step in helping to address this gap and it is good to see so many employers are committed to offer high-quality work experience placements. Employer involvement is crucial to ensuring that traineeships provide the relevant skills that young people need in order to become work ready. If delivered properly and lead to permanent work or an apprenticeship. Traineeships have the potential to be transformative for the young people who take part."

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School takes initiative to run sales training for students

To help prepare its students for the world of work, a secondary school in Middlesex has run a sales training session using two training films from learning content specialist Video Arts. 

Forty-five students from Abbotsfield School in Hillingdon took part in the one-and-a-half day sales training session. It was held as part of an activity week that was designed to help those entering the final year of sixth form to prepare for life after school, whether they wanted to go to university, take an apprenticeship or enter the workplace. 

"Sales training is useful and not just for a sales career, as the skills you learn are transferable to a whole range of life situations," said Mark Stimpson, the sixth form tutor who organised the session.

"It's about being able to walk into a room with confidence when there are a number of people you don't know and managing yourself professionally, communicating with authority and overcoming any concerns. These are very useful skills to learn." 

The sales training session concentrated on four key elements: assessing customer requirements, presentation techniques, closing the sale and handling objections. 

"I still remember the first sales course I ever attended. It featured a Video Arts film which was very engaging and the learning messages were so memorable. I wanted to run an equally memorable session for our students so I chose two Video Arts films which covered the key points. The films really brought these key learning points to life and the feedback from the students was excellent," Stimpson added. 

Featuring actors such as Martin Clunes, Robert Lindsay and Josie Lawrence, Sell it to me! is a two-part programme which highlights the key techniques for successful selling, from making the initial contact to closing the deal. It includes a course leader's guide, participant worksheets and PowerPoint slides. The films include light-hearted scenarios showing the 'wrong way' to behave, to provoke discussion. The 'right way' to behave is then demonstrated.  

In the Abbotsfield School session, the students were divided into 15 teams of three for a role play scenario in which they had to represent a football club that wanted to sell an idea for a special event to the school. Each team presented to a panel of teachers. The winning team was awarded a certificate at school assembly. 

"This is the first time that our school has provided the type of training that is normally delivered in the workplace. It shows that our students have the capacity and the interest to learn work skills from an early age. It's important that schools like ours prepare students for the workplace and we're always looking for new ways of doing that. We're now considering running this session for lower year groups and offering other soft skills training sessions in areas such as assertiveness and negotiation skills," he concluded. 

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UK will fall behind unless high skills provision is transformed, says CBI

The UK will fail to close its chronic skills gaps without urgent action to boost advanced 'learn as you earn' training and more business-designed degrees, a new CBI report finds today.

The report, Tomorrow's Growth, argues that relying alone on traditional university courses will not meet the growing demand for degree-level, technical skills in key sectors like manufacturing, construction, IT and engineering.

It says that government needs to remove a series of barriers to better co-operation between higher education and industry. And it urges ministers to address the 40 per cent drop in part-time undergraduate applicants since 2010-11.

The CBI warns businesses need to tackle the perception that A-levels followed by a three-year residential course is the only route to a good career, with higher tuition fees meaning young people are getting more astute in deciding what to study from 18.

The UK's biggest business group says there are not enough courses with business links; patchy understanding of student finance; and poor careers advice on options open to young people - arguing a new vocational UCAS-style system could bridge the gap.

It says universities need to boost the number of employer-backed "sandwich" courses and compressed or part-time degrees, which give students practical work experience or allow them to support their studies.

And it says businesses need to expand their commitment to high-quality training schemes - such as higher & advanced apprenticeships; work-based training; and fast-track schemes aimed at school leavers - alongside traditional degrees.

Katja Hall, CBI policy director, said: "The UK needs to vastly increase the stock of workers with higher-level skills to drive long-term growth and stop us falling behind our competitors.

"We need to tackle the perception that the A-levels and three year-degree model is the only route to a good career.

"When faced with £27,000 debt, young people are already becoming much savvier in shopping around for routes to give them the competitive edge in a tighter job market.

"Universities must be much more innovative to take advantage of the change in students' approach. And we need businesses to roll up their sleeves and expand high-quality alternative routes where degrees are not the best option for young people."

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Customers more important than innovation, say UK CEOs

With the UK economy teetering on the edge of growth, research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows chief executives could start to stifle the early signs of recovery and optimism by prioritising customer relations at the expense of innovation.

CMI's research in partnership with The Conference Board shows business leaders around the world are far more focussed on innovation and developing their workforces than their UK colleagues. 

The survey asked CEOs around the world to rank a list of 10 business challenges in order of importance.  It found maintaining customer relationships is the most important strategic challenge among CEOs in the UK.  Chief rxecutives in the UK are also more conscious of corporate brand and reputation than anyone in the world, ranking it fifth.  This is significantly higher than the global position at number eight.

Conversely, innovation ranked eighth terms of UK CEOs' priorities, compared to taking third spot globally and topping the list in China.  

Globally, business leaders view their people as their top strategic challenge in 2013. In the UK, however, they do not share this view, ranking it third. Only American respondents ranked it lower.

Ann Francke, CMI's chief executive said: "It makes sense to put customers at the heart of business strategy, but the danger highlighted in this survey is that UK business leaders may be focussing too much on this at the expense of other key priorities. When the rest of the world is prioritising people and innovation, can we afford not to be? If we don't innovate to better meet our customers' needs, how will our businesses build better relationships with them? How will we deliver innovation and great customer service without prioritising people development?

"Senior executives in the UK should focus more on developing their workforces and driving innovation so they can compete with economic powerhouses like China."

The fact that training budgets in the UK have been under significant pressure for several years may be a factor in this comparatively low ranking. Add the fact that according to UK Commission for Employment and Skills, managers are the occupational group least likely to receive training, with only one in five having formal management qualifications, these findings cast doubt over whether tomorrow's CEOs are developing the skills they will need to succeed.

"CMI research shows investing in management and leadership qualifications makes for better managers, increasing organisational performance by 23 per cent and lifting staff performance by 32 per cent. Good management is inclusive, supportive, collaborative and innovative. Let's do these things so we can improve results and job satisfaction," she concluded.

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Customers to be consulted over apprenticeship funding reforms

The body representing providers who train around 75 per cent of England's apprentices has welcomed the opportunity to consult its members and their employer customers on the future of apprenticeship funding.  

The government has put forward a number of options including the proposal to use HMRC's PAYE system to fund employers' apprenticeship programmes. In the view of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), the proposal will come with as many potential downsides as it will with benefits.  

The proposals all require new systems of funding, inspection, assessment and compliance and are in no way a simplification of the existing system. In particular, SMEs will find it hard to navigate their way around the new systems when they may only have one or two apprentices.  

AELP is particularly concerned that the proposal could have a negative impact on the quality of programmes when the whole thrust of recent government-sponsored reviews of apprenticeships has focused on driving improvements in quality.

AELP was responding to the publication by BIS of a consultation on how apprenticeships should be funded in the future on the back of Doug Richard's recommendation that employers should be given more control over the funding.  

The association supports the objective of increasing the involvement of employers in apprenticeship delivery and to establish the most effective system of funding that meets the needs of employers and encourages all employers to recruit and train apprentices.  However, AELP points out that the Richard review put forward a number of recommendations about the future of apprenticeships which went well beyond just funding and it believes that a solution on funding cannot be agreed until we have agreed a way forward on the system itself.

AELP chief executive Stewart Segal said: "We should be considering a total review of the future of apprenticeships, which is after all what Doug Richard advocated, rather than deal with the funding options separately.  AELP supports the view that funding should be more responsive to the needs of employers. "AELP will be pressing ahead with its own consultation of employers and research to try and ensure that the way forward is properly evidence-based.  If we want to build on the major growth in apprenticeships over the last ten years, then it is vital that we get this reform right." 

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VC: Low percentage of distance learners has potential to grow rapidly

The current low percentage of distance learners has the potential to grow rapidly if educational technology is successfully introduced.

That's according to total solutions provider, Virtual College who welcomed the UK government's publication of its international education strategy.

According to the report, the government will be offering extra support to the UK edtech industry to internationalise its products and services. And Rod Knox, CEO of Virtual College, believes it is vital to recognise the pace of change within the market.

"It is very siognificant that the UK government recognises how important the education sector is to the UK economy and the role that educational technology plays," he said.

"At present, the UK is heavily reliant on students coming to study in the UK but only 20 per cent of these are using distance, flexible, distributed learning.

"It is important to recognise the pace of innovation in the market, and while MOOCs feature in this, they are not the only means of delivery of on-line courses in large numbers."

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Managers becoming increasingly isolated, neuroscientist warns

CEOs and top management are becoming increasingly isolated and are struggling to deal with the pressure placed on them.

That's the view of cognitive neuroscientist and business improvement strategist Dr Lynda Shaw who believes that the increasingly fast pace of life is causing CEOs to neglect their mental and physical health. 

 "As CEO's are responsible for most high level strategic decisions in the corporate world, it can be incredibly intense, and dealing with this level of continued pressure can be detrimental to their own wellbeing and personal lives," Shaw said.

"Rising to the influential position of CEO may seem the height of success and glamour on the surface with the wealth, authority and influence that goes with it, but the flip side is CEO's are increasingly sleep-deprived, stressed and lonely at the top.

"Sleep is more important than food in the short term for survival but long term sleep deprivation is also known to be linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and obesity. A lack of sleep and unpredictable sleeping patterns also affect your mood and behaviour tending to make us very irritable and short tempered, causing a strain on relationships.  A severe lack of sleep will leave you energy-less, unable to do the things you enjoy in life which can be a part of the downward spiral leading into depression." 

An inability to switch off and relax away from work is also a common problem Shaw sees amongst management.

"In evolutionary terms, the brain hasn't structurally evolved for many thousands of years but one thing we do know is that the human brain adapts brilliantly.  It adapts all the time.  It is, however, vital that we don't feel overwhelmed. In my opinion, it is incredibly important to seek respite from work on a daily basis, even if we love or are very driven by what we do.

"It can also be very lonely making cut-throat decisions that can affect any number of people within an organisation.  We get to the top because we are able to make those sorts of decisions but there is a tendency for CEO's to get caught up on the strategic side of a company and to lose touch with the company' s operations and staff, not to mention their own families and friends."

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Executives under increasing pressure to demonstrate ROI, study finds

Professionals in the UK are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the financial return on investment of staff development, according to research from talent and career management specialist, Right Management.

Even though two thirds (65 per cent) of UK-based senior executives surveyed believe that they are already highly effective at measuring the impact of their talent management initiatives, 85 per cent said that they are under rising pressure to demonstrate the outcome of these initiatives in monetary terms.

Right Management's global survey, which examined the challenges of 2,500 senior executives in 14 different countries, found that globally, four in five (82 per cent) executives were experiencing this pressure.

The increased demand for monetary-based metrics was felt most acutely in BRIC economies including India (93 per cent), China (91 per cent) and Singapore (93 per cent). The pressure appears to be less severe in Western Europe but there is still a clear strain on teams with 61 per cent of German executives and 75 per cent of French executives reporting increased pressure to use metrics that indicate a clear return on investment.

Right Management has the following advice to improve organisations' ability to demonstrate the ROI of their talent management initiatives:

 1. Establish criteria in advance - Before embarking on talent initiatives, establish what success looks like and what the quantifiable indicators of that success are in financial terms. It's not always easy to apply metrics to people so it's important to really consider what can realistically be measured before rolling out the programmes.

2. Link strategic functions - Join strategic functions together so the talent agenda clearly links to the overall business strategy. By doing this, executives can develop an overall scorecard which clearly demonstrates that money invested in talent programmes adds value to the business.

3. Review initiatives over time - In order to truly demonstrate that you're making a difference to your business, you need to monitor talent trends over time. Are people in your organisation rotating within the business? Are they moving forward and being fast tracked in their careers? Doing strategic reviews requires time and investment which needs to be planned for at the beginning of the process. 

4. Tailor your programmes to individual groups - If your organisation needs an employee engagement initiative, it is important that you adapt your approach to suit different employees or groups within your business. Not everyone needs the same level of training or coaching and by making your programme relevant, you will be able to measure the progress in particular areas or departments. For example, you might consider a coaching clinic where a specialist coach would see a number of employees in pre-booked slots throughout the day. This provides employees with tailored advice in a one-on-one environment and enables the HR team to review progress against specific targets more effectively.

Mark Hodgson, talent management practice leader at Right Management, said: "It's a tough call to demonstrate the ROI on talent management initiatives. Typically, it's been measured by collecting 'happy sheets' based on feedback from employees but this is a fairly light touch which is no longer enough to satisfy the board. Today's economic climate is compelling HR executives to demonstrate that their talent development initiatives are worth the investment by using convincing metrics which indicate a substantial monetary ROI."

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Skillsoft: Young people need to be given right skills for success

UK businesses have been told to look closer to home for talent and help develop the skills of young people.

The call comes after news last week revealed that major technology companies are struggling to recruit young people from the UK, instead focusing on talent from overseas.

Kevin Young, general manager Skillsoft EMEA, says that people need to be given the right tools in order so that they can further their knowledge in order to meet expectations.

"It is disappointing to hear that major technology companies are struggling to recruit young people in the UK, with many finding that school or university leavers are not ready for work. There seems to be a disconnect between the skills gained while in education and those that employers need their new starters to have. With businesses working leaner and smarter to achieve success, they now expect more from their employees when it comes to basic digital skills, in order to hit the ground running," he said.

"While driving the education system to plug the current gap between what businesses need and what they get from new recruits is important, so too is the role of training within organisations. Workers need to be encouraged and supported by their employers and given the tools to further their knowledge in order to meet expectations. The current system of sitting back and criticising the education system isn't working; employers need to accept that they too have a responsibility to impart relevant knowledge and teach new skills.

"Instead of heavily focusing recruitment efforts on foreign workers, UK businesses should look closer to home for talent and work together with new recruits to fine tune and develop their skills with on-the-job training and support. This means harnessing the latest technologies to deliver increasingly vibrant, visual and interactive multi-channel digital learning programmes within both the school and work environment." 

He added: "Clearly there is value in bringing in highly skilled workers to fulfil positions, but the long term strategy to develop the workforce must be rooted in a closer collaboration with UK industry and education and a culture of training, development and opportunity."  

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Regulation alone will not improve corporate culture, CIPD warns

As MPs urge the Government to pick up the "regulatory stick" to drive forward City reforms on corporate governance, the CIPD believes that proposals made by John Kay last July are not being adopted fast enough but warns that regulation alone is not the answer.

CIPD research published in June 2013 suggested there is still a long way to go in transforming culture in the banking and financial services sector to ensure they become more focused on creating long-term value for the customer and wider society. 

As a result, the CIPD has been supporting the work of the Chartered Banker Institute Professional Standards Board (CB:PSB), which aims to restore public confidence and trust in the industry and promote a culture of professionalism amongst individual bankers. And to help organisations embed professional standards, the CIPD is also working with the City Values Forum and City HR Association to promote training programmes, guidance and tools to support effective culture change.

Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, said: "There's no doubt that more needs to be done to change culture in the City, but our recent research amongst financial services employees suggests that many banks are already taking steps towards a more customer-centric and long-term approach to business. 

"Culture change does not happen overnight and cannot be regulated for - it requires each organisation to revaluate its core purpose and values, which in turn define behavioural expectations and norms that are lived and breathed, day-in day-out, from top to bottom. New rules on corporate reporting are welcome, but the importance of firms measuring and reporting on the people side of their business is too often missed or relegated to a footnote. 

"If the banks had concerned themselves with measures of trust, employee engagement and a real understanding and adherence to shared values, we might have seen some early warnings of the cultural problems that allowed the banks to go crashing so spectacularly over the precipice."

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Acua welcomes CBI report on higher skills

A provider of work-based learning has welcomed a CBI report calling for urgent action to bridge the skills gap in the UK.

Jeannine Mortlock, managing director of Acua Solutions Limited, which is part of Coventry University, supports the findings of the 'Tomorrow's Growth: New routes to higher skills' report that the UK will fail to close its "chronic skills gap" without advanced 'learn as you earn' training and more business-designed degrees.

She said: "There is a real opportunity and need for the government and employers to jointly come to the table to invest in the future development of our young talent as our economy is going to depend on it.

"Where an employer enables employee development, through higher apprenticeships or degrees in the workplace, there is a knock-on effect throughout the business.  The employee is more loyal to the organisation and the pay-back is significant both in terms of a reduction in recruitment costs and an increase in productivity and innovation."

The CBI is calling on the government to remove barriers to improve co-operation between higher education and industry, arguing that traditional university courses will not meet the growing demand for degree-level technical skills in manufacturing, construction, IT and engineering.

And it says there needs to be a greater commitment to high-quality training courses such as advanced apprenticeships, work-based training and fast-track schemes aimed at school leavers alongside traditional degrees.

"Over the past five years, we have been helping to bridge the skills gap with a blended approach to workplace learning which has benefited some 10,000 employees. It provides a foundation of learning that grows with them as they develop their careers.

"Our experience of working with bluechip organisations across a range of sectors, particularly around higher apprentice programmes, has shown the importance and value of focusing that learning on real-time issues, using experiential approaches and moving with the business."  

She added: "While we are part of Coventry University, our approach is far from traditional.  There has to be a blend of technical skills and knowledge with behavioural change otherwise you can end up back where you started.  It's not chalk and talk, it's fluid learning focused on the business with a higher education kitemark."

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PHX Training expand and grow

Lancashire training company PHX Training has extended its network of centres in the region by opening a new centre in Preston.

 PHX Training delivers tailored training programmes to improve skills and qualifications in I.T employment skill, literacy, numeracy, I.T and business and management. 

Now it has widened its reach, delivering government-backed training initiatives including the learndirect scheme, Apprenticeship training and the Work Programme.

Dan Scott, PHX Training managing director, said: "We want to make sure our services are available across the whole of Lancashire and this office will enable people in Preston to benefit from training at a centre which is local to them.

"We also offer structured online training so the combination will mean improved service benefits all round for those wishing to take up this training in this area." 

The new office will be located in the Preston city centre. A four-strong team, headed up by manager Danny McManamon, will deliver PHX Training's wide range of training courses.

In line with the company's continued growth, employment opportunities are opening up for advisors and sales staff as it continues to drive the business forward. It is now inviting applications for roles in both training and business development.

PHX's team of trainers offer wide-ranging online resources as well as face-to-face facilities at nine training centres in Preston, Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Kendal, Millom, Morecambe, Penrith, Southport, Carlisle and Workington.

One of the key contracts operated by PHX is the government's learndirect programme, which helps to give unemployed people the skills they need to find jobs. PHX's 93 per cent success rate for people succeeding on the programme underlines the firm's high standards.

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