Dragon Naturally Speaking e-Learning - Training

Monday, April 15, 2013

Partnership to launch new compliance training study

Compliance training providers Sai Global is sponsoring a new independent benchmark study exploring methodologies and practices for improving the impact of compliance training.  

The study has been produced in collaboration with benchmarking company Towards Maturity and the results of the study will be shared through a new report to be issued in July 2013.

Information for the study will be gathered via an online survey, which is open to all those responsible for compliance and ethics training and awareness programmes in the workplace. The final report aims to examine the various methodologies used by businesses for ethics and compliance training, and will investigate the drivers, barriers, benefits and trends in the use of learning technologies. The survey is open until 10th May 2013 and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Laura Overton, managing director at Towards Maturity, said: "Our 2012 Learning Technologies benchmark report revealed that compliance is often one of the first topics that businesses 'e-enable', so it's vitally important that that they get it right first time. 

"The report also highlighted that 87 per cent of businesses recognise the efficiencies in achieving compliance that learning technologies can deliver but only 50 per cent are actually realising these benefits.  Teaming up with SAI Global for the new study will allow us to explore this gap and will provide an opportunity for compliance and L&D professionals to compare their approaches with other organisations in order to improve performance and where necessary, build an effective business case."

Iain McLeod, head of compliance at SAI Global EMEA, said: "We know from previous Towards Maturity benchmarking studies and from our own extensive experience of implementing effective compliance training programmes that expectations of compliance training are evolving. Businesses expect programmes to deliver measurable benefits over and above a 'tick in the regulatory box' - but success in realising these benefits is extremely varied.  The aim of this study is to gain insights into what is already working well for businesses, where there is room for improvement, and what are the most effective practices for improving the impact of compliance training programmes."  


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Website launched for e-learning enthusiasts

A new website that brings buyers and sellers of e-learning resources together was launched at the Voice of Apprenticeships conference in London to organisations including employers and training providers.

elearningmarketplace.co.uk has been described by its managing director, Carolyn Lewis as a cross between Amazon and Compare The Market - but for e-learning. You can buy, compare and sell digital learning resources through the site and this attracted a lot of attention from potential buyers and sellers of e-learning.

Enquiries about eLearning Marketplace came from colleges interested in marketing their online courses, e-learning publishing companies looking to reach a broader market for their products and training organisations who are keen not to reinvent the wheel and were pleased that there is a source of e-learning to support  their delivery.

There was particular interest from freelance trainers and educational consultants who were excited about finding an outlet to market digital learning resources they have developed themselves.

Lewis said: "I was elated to find that so many people were excited about the benefits that the website would bring them. Numerous people said that researching e-learning to meet their needs is time consuming, and they welcomed this new comparison website."


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City & Guilds to showcase changing face of workplace learning

The new look City & Guilds Group, which now includes elearning leaders Kineo, will showcase the changing face of workplace learning in London later this month.

The group will demonstrate the very latest technology and how organisations can harness it effectively as part of the CIPD's annual HRD conference and exhibition on 24 and 25 April 2013.

Kineo and City & Guilds are working together to address the challenges organisations face when engaging learners and delivering workplace development that makes a difference.

Kineo director Stephen Walsh said: "It's a time of real evolution in workplace learning, with increasing pressure on budgets, calls for more informal learning resources, greater use of technology and a shift towards more targeted activities."

He added: It's not enough to just put people into jobs and provide occasional courses anymore. Vocational training, performance support, leadership development and nurturing talent are all part of the changing mix for employers and their people.

"We're excited to show attendees of HRD some of the ways they can tackle these challenges right now - regardless of their organisation's size or sector."

HRD 2013 is the first time Kineo and City & Guilds will demonstrate their solutions as part of the expanding City & Guilds Group. Kineo are also hosting a session on day two of the event entitled '10 learning technology trends that deliver strategic benefits to leading organisations' .


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Video Arts achieves quality management standard for 12th straight year

Video Arts has been recognised for the quality of its video training service after being awarded the ISO 9001 quality management standard for the 12th consecutive year.

Following an independent assessment by ISO certification specialist QMS International, Video Arts was judged to have quality management processes and procedures in place that enable it to provide best practice generic and custom video training, as well as e-learning and m-learning resources, that consistently meet the exacting requirements of its customers.

All areas of the company's business were assessed in the accreditation, including its product line, its working practices, its learning and development activity and its customer interactions.

"Our reputation has been built on the quality of our resources and our level of service," said Martin Addison, CEO of Video Arts.

"The fact that we've now held the internationally-acclaimed ISO 9001 for 12 years provides reassurance to our customers that we set ourselves very high standards. We constantly evaluate our operations to ensure that those standards are maintained and further improved.

"The values of quality, service and continuous improvement are embedded into our business, along with great learning content, and we regard these as key to customer satisfaction."

ISO 9001 is a standard recognised in more than 150 countries worldwide. However, Greville Payne of QMS International, who was involved in the assessment of Video Arts, highlighted that only five percent of UK businesses have been awarded ISO 9001 certification. He paid tribute to "the investment in people and training that enables Video Arts to provide an efficient service to its customers".

Founded in 1972, Video Arts are a provider of video-based learning. It serves customers in 50 countries and produces learning content in 40 languages.


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Employers need to wake up to social media revolution, say CIPD

A resistance to change amongst senior leaders is holding organisations back from rebuilding trust and fostering cultures of openness, collaboration and innovation in their organisations.

That's according to new CIPD research which launched at the annual Voice and Value conference at the London School of Economics last week.

The CIPD is urging employers to recognise that social media is driving us headlong into an age of mass collaboration and mass transparency, and if they don't embrace this with open arms they will find themselves on the back foot. 

The research, conducted for the CIPD by Silverman Research, highlights that social media presents employers with the opportunity to truly engage their staff in shaping the future direction of their organisations. Not only does it give employees an open channel through which to feed views upwards, but it also enables greater collaboration and knowledge sharing between employees at all levels, which is how new ideas and innovation prosper. What's more, social media interactions give organisations access to a unique blend of qualitative and quantitative data that can drive greater employee and customer insight.

The report comes hot on the heels of a worrying deterioration in employee voice, recorded by the CIPD's quarterly Employee Outlook last month, and highlights that traditional employee surveys designed to give employees a voice can actually distract many leaders from listening and acting on employees' true ideas and concerns.

Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the CIPD, said: "For organisations to thrive, employees must be given the opportunity to discuss how their organisations can innovate and feed their views upwards, as well as having the freedom to blow the whistle about genuine issues at work.

"Social media won't always be the most appropriate channel for discussing issues, but employers must wake up to the fact that they can't ignore it. Employee voice expressed through social media is much more influential because it is more likely to be heard. In comparison, employee surveys are 'voice without muscle'. Social media affects even organisations that have been slow in the uptake, whether they realise it or not or whether they like it or not, so employers must start designing their own future in employee voice before it designs them."

Meanwhile, employees in some organisations that have been slow to embrace social media have taken matters into their own hands by forming unofficial channels of communication between fellow colleagues and external audiences.

"Our research suggests that the risks associated with inaction are far greater than those associated with embracing social media as a channel for employee voice. We need to remain alive to some of the potential risks of social media - for example, will it make organisations more susceptible to group think and social herding, which aren't always conducive to organisational growth and success? But employers should also be thinking hard about the opportunity social media gives them to simultaneously collect opinions and facilitate discussion about genuine opinions and ideas, and to analyse the data in rich and meaningful ways. "


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Managers commit to increasing staff numbers

Despite the gloomy economic climate, employers are set to increase or maintain their staff numbers over the next quarter.

That's according to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) JobsOutlook survey which reveals that almost two-thirds of employers plan to increase the number of their permanent staff in the next three months.

Key findings from the survey showed that:

• 61 per cent plan to increase their permanent headcount (up four per cent on last month) and a further 55 per cent maintain it in the next three months

• 59 per cent plan to increase their permanent headcount (up three per cent on last month) and a further 39 per cent maintain it over the next four -to 12 months

• 38 per cent plan to increase their use of agency workers in the next three months (up two per cent on last month) and further 50 per cent intend to maintain current numbers

• 36 per cent say they will increase use of agency workers in the next four- to 12 month period (which is up one per cent on last month) with an additional 55 per cent saying they will maintain their current level of use of agency workers

REC director of policy Tom Hadley said: "Our latest data shows the majority of employers are planning to increase or maintain their permanent headcount over the next quarter which suggests that the jobs market will continue to outperform the rest of the economy in the short term. Although the ONS reported a rise in unemployment last week, it is important to emphasise that the employment figures were also up.

"Currently it is small businesses that are the most cautious about hiring and we hope that announcements made by the Chancellor in last week's Budget to make it cheaper and easier to hire people will help to boost business confidence in the future."

He added: "This month's report also predicts growth in demand for staff in hospitality and sales. These are two sectors that have been hit particularly hard by the recession so growth is encouraging for both employers and jobseekers."


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TBG launch research project to understand NEET attitudes

Adult learning provider TBG Learning is launching a research project focused on understanding the attitudes of NEETs (not in education, employment or training).

And TGB is calling on support from the training industry to reach as many young people as possible.

The study will aim to capture the thoughts that NEETs, along with those at risk of becoming NEET. Findings will be used to help better understand the journey that young people take, and enable training providers to be more responsive to their needs through the tailored design of learning programmes. The results will also allow the measurement of the social impact of post-16 education and training provision and provide evidence of the influence on the world of work. TBG Learning would like the survey to gather the views of as many young people as possible and is urging organisations that work with NEETs, or those at risk of becoming NEET, to help spread the word.

The research aims to discover key information, including the following;

• How can learning providers attract more learners from the NEET community?

• What are the barriers to developing employability skills among young people?

• How can learning providers better market their offers?

• How effective are incentive payments to learners - is it really all about the money? 

• What are the key factors that achieve learner retention?

• What is wanted and expected from vocational programmes?

Organisations who get involved can shape the questions to support their own individual needs, with free access to their own learners' response.

David Umpleby, head of programme delivery at TBG Learning, said the research aims to get to the bottom of exactly how young people view the options available to them and how providers can maximise their support.

"This is a major project which we hope will hold the key to discovering what young people who need our support the most think about the options available to them - and how we can reach out to them better," he said.

"We'd like to work with organisations with access to large volumes of the NEET community or access to 16-18 year old learners. There is scope to get tailored questions included in the response and together we can make a major difference to young peoples' lives."


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Training specialists enter second phase of growth with merger

Training provider e-academy has merged with organisational development specialists Stratum Learning and Development and re-branded as Stratum Worldwide.

e-academy, established in 2000, is the only Microsoft approved training provider in Wales, and delivers IT and management training courses across the UK. The expertise of Stratum Learning and Development will enable the new company to offer a broad range of services and provide customers with end-to-end provision from specific technical training courses to high-end tailored management programmes.

This expansion marks the second phase of significant growth for e-academy in less than 12 months; the first following investment from entrepreneurs Simon Powell and Matt Wakerley in spring 2012. 

Stratum's individual approach to organisational development means programmes are tailor-made for each of their clients. All of their programmes are nationally accredited which means that staff will gain qualifications as a result of their training.

The newly branded Stratum has also formed a strategic alliance with recruitment firm gap personnel. The two companies will work together to provide pre-employment training to individuals seeking work. The partnership will offer job-seekers access to high-quality sector-specific and general training programmes. The partnership will enable gap to offer appropriately skilled, job-ready individuals to prospective employers in a range of sectors.

Stratum Learning and Development, set up in 2009, works with organisations to assess their training needs and designs bespoke programmes to improve efficiency, drive quality and maximise business performance.

Mike Hughes, managing director of Stratum, said: "We have worked successfully in partnership with Stratum Learning and Development over the past year and are very pleased that our recent merger will enable us to officially join forces with the team. We feel that having their expertise will add great value to the business.

"The work we've already done together, such as the development of the Automotive Industry Awareness programme for the Welsh Automotive Forum, is evidence of the unique service we can offer. We intend to hit the ground running with this expansion and we have some exciting projects in the pipeline."


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Training changing to reflect the world of work, study finds

Training is changing to reflect the world of work, new figures released have revealed.

That's according to an employability study by ICM research on behalf of the government which shows apprentices are more employable than those who followed the traditional educational route. 

Those who complete Higher Apprenticeships are the most desirable employees, with businesses rating this group as 25 per cent more employable than those who took an alternative route into work.

The figures come as the National Apprenticeship Service releases a new film and guide to the Higher Apprenticeships expected to be available to A-Level school leavers and existing apprentices and employees in 2013.

One in six (15 per cent) apprentices currently progresses to Higher Education following their apprenticeship, either at a college or a university, but with apprenticeships at Bachelor and Master degree levels also becoming available for the first time, the opportunities for degree level learning while young people earn have now been significantly expanded.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "We want Apprenticeships or University to become the new norm for young people leaving school and Higher Apprenticeships are an excellent way to enter high-profile careers while also achieving a degree-level qualification.

"We are releasing the online guide and film today to inspire young people to think about their futures and to help employers see how Higher Apprenticeships could benefit their business."

Higher Apprenticeships are already a popular choice for both young people and current employees looking to progress in their careers, with 3,700 learners starting Higher Apprenticeships in England during the 2011/2012 academic year - representing growth of 68 per cent on the previous year. This bodes well for young people's future prospects, with recent reports estimating that completing a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship could result in increased lifetime earnings of more than £150,000 .

Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC, said: "We're finding talent from wider sources than ever before. There's no doubt in our mind that for talented students who are clear about their career path and want to get straight into work, Higher Apprenticeships offer a real opportunity that doesn' t compromise on training and development.


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Address gender imbalance to ensure top performance, executive says

Performance within companies may be affected if firms do not address the gender imbalance at the top level.

That's according to a leading female executive who has warned that businesses need to act quickly if they are to meet the target of 25 per cent of women on boards by 2015.

After a short period of growth, complacency may again be setting in when it comes to improving the number of women on the boards of the UK's top companies.

The latest report from the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders shows that in the first six months since the last report (March 2012), the pace of change was extremely encouraging with 44 per cent of new FTSE 100 board appointments going to women and 36 per cent on FTSE 250 companies.  However, those high levels were short-lived and over the past six months they have dropped to 26 per cent and 29 per cent respectively, showing a considerable gap from the 33 per cent required to reach Lord Davies' recommendation of 25 per cent women on boards by 2015.

There are now 194 female-held directorships in 93 of the FTSE 100 boardrooms (held by 169 women) which equates to 17.3 per cent, a slight increase on last year's figure of 15 per cent. The number of FTSE 100 companies with all-male boards has now dropped to seven and two thirds (67per cent) of the FTSE 100 have more than one woman on their board.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, believes that employers must do more to ensure that the best female talent reaches the top. 

"Our leading companies are making a big mistake if they allow progress to slow, because the evidence shows that a better gender balance in the boardroom leads to better performance.  We know that women are now outstripping men in their early management careers, but employers must do more to ensure that the best reach the top," she said.

"Providing sponsors, mentoring opportunities and targeted leadership development can make a real difference. Business must act quickly to meet the 2015 deadline or pressure for quotas will become irresistible."


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Company leaders receiving huge bonus', research reveals

Company directors have enjoyed pay increases almost twice the size of the average UK executive over the last 12 months, according to new salary data published today by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR. 

The research shows that the differences are largely due to sharp percentage increases in bonus payments at top levels, compared with previous years. The gap widens further still for chief executives, whose pay rose five times as much as that of the average executive - leaving CEOs earning 30 per cent more than forecast on the basis of salaries recorded when the National Management Salary Survey first took place 40 years ago. 

The salary data, taken from more than 43,000 executives in 180 UK organisations, shows that basic salaries plus bonuses rose just three per cent on average over the last year, in line with a three per cent increase the year before and trailing behind retail price inflation. In contrast, while the average basic salary for all directors increased by just 2.7 per cent, the figure jumps to 5.3 per cent over the past year when bonus payments are accounted for. This compares with a much smaller 2.1 per cent salary plus bonus rise for directors between 2011 and 2012. Similarly, chief executive basic salaries increased by just 1.8 per cent, but when bonuses are added in the percentage increase leaps to 15.8 per cent. In stark comparison, the figures released this time last year showed a salary plus bonus decrease for chief executives of 0.5 per cent.  

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said: "It's hard to believe that company directors and CEOs have seen such a big leap in bonus payments when the UK's economic performance remains so sluggish. If organisations aren't performing, leaders shouldn't get these bumper rewards, especially when pay increases for all other management levels have been so much smaller." 

The National Management Salary Survey marks its 40th anniversary this year with a look back to data from the first edition in 1973, and reveals how much the gap between salaries of those at the top and executives lower down the ranks has widened over the last four decades. Chief executives are earning 30 per cent more now than would be expected from the 1973 data, while middle managers now earn 28 per cent less than the 1973 figures predict. In 1973, average salaries stood at £3,855 for a middle manager and £10,600 for a Chief Executive, compared to £43,456 and £215,879 respectively today. 

"A loaf of bread that cost 11p in 1973 might cost you nearly fourteen times as much today. By comparison, the average CEO is taking home nearly 20 times as much as in 1973 and that's 30 per cent more than we would have expected, Francke said.

She added: The question is, do today's CEOs really add 30 per cent more value? Those at the top have benefited from soaring pay over many years, while mid-level managers and others have been left behind. Compounded by this year's pay rises at the top, bosses run the risk that this pay gap will leave staff disillusioned and disengaged a time when motivated, engaged employees are vital for business success."


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