Dragon Naturally Speaking e-Learning - Training

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Whitepaper showcases how technology impacts profitability

A new whitepaper from language training provider Speexx examining current e-learning and talent management trends offers practical advice for reaping the full benefits of technology. 


The Speexx report analyses five core elements: What organisations currently gain from e-learning, the lack of global e-enablement, moving towards the cloud, the mobile and social learning take up and the link between capability development and communication.


Based on findings from the Speexx Exchange 2012-13 Survey, which involved 230 organisations, the whitepaper highlights the trends shaping the implementation of learning technologies in the workplace and the impact they are likely to have on business efficiency, profitability and growth.


According to Speexx, organisations using a cloud-based LMS are paving the way to meet the requirements of the global market in terms of communication, leadership and expansion. Although 80 percent of organisations aim to use cloud-based LMS by 2015, only 18 percent have actually moved towards the cloud so far. Another key finding highlights that, while 63 per cent of organisations already have a BYOD policy in the workplace, less than a third of these actively use mobile technology for learning purposes. This highlights a signficant gap between the opportunities offered by mobile and its actual usage.


Armin Hopp, founder and president of Speexx, said: "The reality is that at this rate, it will not be feasible for the majority who are still operating in local silos to reach their 2015 target in time - some organisations have up to forty different structures within one company. 


"The pressure is clearly on businesses to find new and innovative ways to work smarter, upskill staff and gain a competitive edge in the global market. This leads to the ability to instil a coporate culture of open communication and the ability to embrace new technologies."

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Sabio: Don’t overlook importance of ongoing training

As children across the country head back to school this week, technology specialist Sabio has called on customer service organisations not to overlook the importance of ongoing education and training across their contact centre operations. 


With traditional classroom-based training often getting in the way of contact centre productivity, Sabio believes that self-paced training - delivered via an online Virtual Campus or Computer-Based Training (CBT) - can provide the best practice skills contact centre staff need to succeed.


To address this, Sabio Training's Online Course Finder now offers a portfolio of dedicated contact centre training courses. It features almost 200 specialist courses ranging across key technologies - from Avaya, Verint, VMware and Sabio's own solutions - to core customer service and team leadership skills for agents and supervisors. Sabio also offers specific training for different customer service centre functions, from agents and operators to supervisors, administrators, installation specialists, support staff and technology experts.


"With today's increased focus on delivering a high quality customer experience across different channels, it's essential for organisations to make it as easy as possible for customer service staff to perform to the highest levels," said Dan Christmas, Sabio's head of training. 


"Research shows that effective training improves retention, increases staff engagement and can lead directly to improved performance. However, traditional classroom-based training methods can often be unsuitable for co-ordinated and cost-effective contact centre education.


"Over the last three months particularly, we've seen a growing requirement for self-paced training, with customer service organisations recognising that it's sometimes not practical to train all staff at the same time whenever they introduce new technology into the contact centre." 


He added: "Classroom training can help during the early phases of a technology's deployment, but all too often we see in-house skills diminish as key staff leave or new initiatives take precedence. By offering site-specific CBT or Virtual Campus training, we can provide organisations with flexible training programmes that provide exactly the level of role-specific skills needed to support both technology and soft skills across the whole solutions lifecycle."

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Mercer: Lack of confidence looms in performance management programmes

Despite an understanding that talent is a source of competitive advantage, establishing effective performance management programmes remains a challenge for most organisations. 


That's according to Mercer's 2013 Global Performance Management Survey which reveals that just three per cent of organisations worldwide report their overall performance management system provides exceptional value.


The survey, which asked more than 1,050 organisations in 53 countries, found that one in three organisations around the world say improving managers' ability to have candid dialogue with employees has the greatest impact on overall company performance. The analysis revealed that the two components of manager skills that matter the most are linking performance to career development and setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, ambitious but achievable, relevant, and time-bound).


Alongside the contribution of managers, organisations with higher levels of executive commitment are more likely to have effective performance management programs. One-on-one performance discussions, formal performance planning, and team accountability are some of the more common practices executives are implementing to direct their teams and achieve desired business results.


Calibration and technology are two additional drivers of successful performance management. Mercer's survey reveals that organisations that practice calibration have more skilled managers, and thus, are better at determining accurate performances, increasing talent awareness, and identifying individual employee development opportunities. More than half of organisations around the globe use calibration processes to differentiate between performance levels. And while technology (used by 40 per cent of organisations) alone does not ensure performance management success, it allows for ready access to accurate data and actionable insights to all stakeholders.


Colleen O'Neil, senior partner at Mercer, said: "In today's challenging business and economic environment, companies are struggling to achieve important outcomes - like focusing employees on the 'right' things and driving them to perform at higher levels - with their current performance management programmes.


"And even though there is a lot of talk about workforce segmentation and innovative performance management practices, few effectively support dynamic performance and career development processes, and a minority of companies has made revisions to their practices in the last few years."

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High-flying venture launched to train aerospace engineers

First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has launched a £1.4million venture by EADS to produce the next generation of aerospace engineers at a new training and research facility based at the EADS Newport campus. 


Testia Ltd, a new EADS company, will create 60 jobs over the next five years. It aims to meet the future needs of the global aerospace industry by training a new generation of young, highly-skilled engineers.


The 60 new jobs created by EADS' investment, with support from the Welsh Government, will include trainers, inspectors and high-level engineers.


Speaking at the launch of Testia, the First Minister said: "I'm very pleased that with the support of the Welsh Government, EADS has been able to further enhance its economic footprint in Wales. Testia's state of the art facility will service all EADS companies worldwide, including Cassidian, one of our key anchor companies.


"Testia is another example of both our and EADS' commitment to strengthening the Welsh Economy. Not only will the company create around 60 jobs over five years and train hundreds of people a year in specialist skills, it will also promote Wales as a great place for innovative, high-tech businesses to thrive."


Testia expects to be training up to 1,400 students a year within six years. The company will also work in partnership with Caparo, a worldwide leader in the supply of NDT services and materials testing, to offer UK NDT Board approved apprenticeships for school leavers.


Testia is the first UK facility to combine bespoke NDT training, research testing of new aerostructure composites, and expert aerospace NDT consultancy services for engineering and manufacturing companies, and one of only three in Europe.


Brian Hall, CEO of Testia Ltd, said:  "We are addressing a potentially serious problem in the global aerospace industry by replacing an ageing population of engineers with young, highly-skilled persons who will progress to fill those expert roles in the future.  Aerospace NDT is the area with the most significant growth rate in the last 10 years and clearly defined future growth."

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REC: Employers failing to attract young talent through apprenticeships

More than two thirds of employers (71 per cent) are failing to attract young talent through apprenticeships, a new employer survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) finds.


The report asked more than 200 employers about whether their organisations offered apprenticeships. Worryingly, just over a quarter (26 per cent) said they did, while a staggering 71 per cent did not. Three per cent said they did not know.


On a positive note, 97 per cent of employers plan to increase (51 per cent) or maintain (46 per cent) their permanent workforce in the next three months, up three points on last month. In the next year 98 per cent of employers plan to increase (43 per cent) or maintain (55 per cent) their permanent workforce, the same as last month.


REC CEO Kevin Green said: "Vince Cable has recently claimed that the government is attacking the country's scandalous neglect through apprenticeships, however our data shows that there is still a long way to go if the UK is to tackle youth unemployment and the growing skills deficit. The 71 per cent of employers who do not offer apprenticeships need to take a careful look at how they will secure the supply of talent now and in the future. 


"The REC is acutely aware of the importance of engaging young people and is working to ensure that the recruitment industry can access talented young apprentices. The government must do more to support employers to take on young workers and promote schemes such as the Youth Contract, which according to our previous research, only 18 per cent of employers were aware of and would use."

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Councils welcome steps to improve careers guidance

A government pledge to improve careers guidance in schools following a critical Ofsted report has been welcomed by London Councils.


The government has said it will revise the guidance it provides for schools after significant concerns were raised about the state of careers education in Ofsted's report Going in the right direction? released on Tuesday. 


Ofsted's report makes recommendations to a number of stakeholders, including schools, the National Careers Service and employers, and confirms that careers guidance will be given a higher priority in school inspections.


London Councils, which represents London's 32 boroughs and the City of London, welcomed the government's plans to make the guidance for schools clearer and enhance the National Careers Service's role in supporting young people, schools and employers, but has called for more to be done.


Executive member for children's services and skills and employment councillor Peter John said: "The government's response to Ofsted's report and the National Careers Council's recommendations in June provides a commitment to improve the support available to schools and colleges. However, this doesn't go far enough.


"London Councils will continue to call for the National Careers Service's remit for face-to-face guidance to be expanded beyond adults and include young people not in education or employment."

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CIPD: Healthcare staff lack confidence in organisation's leadership

Smarter use of information on front line NHS employees could help prevent more scandals over poor patient care by highlighting early warning signs before problems escalate to crisis point.


That's according to new research by the CIPD,  in collaboration with the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA), which found four in ten (43 per cent) healthcare workers surveyed are concerned that examples of poor patient care such as those highlighted at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust could occur in their organisation.


The research, based on a survey of 1,021 healthcare workers, also found a quarter of doctors and surgeons (27 per cent) and a third of nurses (33 per cent) surveyed say they have been put under excessive pressure or bullied to behave in ways that are counter to patient care within the last two years. 


The survey 'Focus on culture change and patient care in the NHS'  was commissioned to explore the state of play in the healthcare sector following the report by Robert Francis QC into poor patient care provided at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, and to identify ways in which organisations can identify future problems before they escalate. Francis called for the creation 'of a common culture shared by all putting the patient first', but the survey suggests there is a long way to go before this is achieved.


Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, said the survey highlighted why NHS boards and leaders should ensure they put more emphasis on their people management and employee data: "NHS leaders should ensure they are putting more emphasis on monitoring, analysing and, crucially, acting on people management information and feedback from staff, which can provide early warning indicators for potential culture, capability and capacity problems linked to poor standards of care. Information from patients about their experience is of course crucial but good quality management information can flag problems further upstream before patient care has been fatally undermined.


"This issue has rightly been flagged as a priority for action by the recent Keogh Mortality Review. Better collection, reporting and analysis of data on, for example, training and development, appraisals, employee engagement, stress and absence can provide trust boards with key intelligence on how NHS Trusts are really functioning and highlight early warning signs which might indicate patient care is being compromised."


The study also reveals that too many nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff lack confidence in their organisation, its integrity and its leadership and feel that the biggest barriers to changing culture in the NHS and improving patient care are quality of leadership and a lack of confidence among staff that whistleblowers will be protected:


• Six in ten respondents (58 per cent) say they would be confident to raise a concern about the quality of patient care to senior management and of these just 57 per cent would feel confident that their concern would be properly addressed and investigated.


• A quarter of employees (26 per cent), rising to nearly half of all nurses (46 per cent), report they feel under excessive pressure every day (compared with an average of between 11 per cent and 14 per cent outside the NHS2) and less than a third of respondents (32 per cent) claim they are actively engaged at work.


• The most commonly cited way to improve patient care in the NHS was to improve engagement and consultation with staff (55 per cent). 


• Only one in four respondents (27 per cent), and just one in five nurses (20 per cent), agree they have confidence in their senior managers.


• Of the four in ten employees (44 per cent) who say there has been a culture change initiative to improve patient care in their organisation in the past 12 months, just 15 per cent say this has been very effective, with a fifth (19 per cent) believing it has failed to have any impact at all.


Kevin Croft, president of the Healthcare People Management Association, said: "These survey results are disappointing but similar to messages from the national staff survey. The findings reinforce the need for a much greater focus on the staff experience, good people management and staff engagement, at both a system and local level, to improve the patient experience. We know there is a clear correlation between a positive staff experience and better health outcomes for patients. Good quality people management information which shines a light on these issues can play a crucial role in helping care providers understand what underpins good patient care and provide earlier insight if things are going wrong."


Kevin Croft and Peter Cheese will be joined by Paul Nowak , TUC assistant general secretary , at the CIPD's annual conference in November where they will deliver a master class on how to put employee voice at the heart of sustainable business practice.  They will explore how corporate scandals can be prevented when employees are able to identify issues and confront board members, how simple changes to organisational culture can allow for employee concerns to be raised, and future practices and policies to help reduce organisations' exposure to risk. 

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Business investment in young people is vital for growth, says IT entrepreneur

There are skills shortages in the IT sector that government organised apprenticeship schemes are simply not capable of addressing.


That's according to Scott Fletcher, the chairman and founder of UK cloud infrastructure specialists ANS Group. Fletcher believes that the quality of training was simply not where it needed to be.


ANS has recently become part of the 'Employer Ownership of Skill Pilot' and will train 32 'cloud apprentices' over the next two years. Participants will receive classroom training and on the job training from ANS employees rather than at local colleges.


"There is no way that a local college can keep pace with the speed of change in IT and by the time they have developed a course it is generally out of date. More involvement from employers in developing apprenticeships is what is needed," said Mr Fletcher.


"The IT industry is obviously fluid and businesses need to re-invent themselves every few years. There is no sitting back on past glories in our industry and young talent is the essential fuel for that re-invention."


Mr Fletcher said that there were plans for the ANS apprenticeship academy to expand and that in the future other IT employers could sponsor apprenticeships for candidates who would then go on to work for them.


"We have found that apprentices display a greater loyalty to the companies which have trained them and are less likely than graduates to move on and work for your business rivals," Fletcher concluded. 

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Government funding made available to target industrial strategy skills training

Companies of all sizes now have access to a total of £238 million in government funding to design and guide vocational training to meet the needs of their workforce.


Everton Football Club, Balfour Beatty and the National Grid are among a raft of names who have successfully bid to take part in the design of vocational skills. Government's contribution will be more than matched by the successful companies.


A key aim of the Industrial Strategy is to improve the skills base of the country. By working in partnership with industry these companies will help to reach that goal.


The Business Secretary Vince Cable will today outline the benefits of this investment to an audience of business leaders at the Industrial Strategy Conference "One Year On" at Warwick University.


He said: "We want the Employer Ownership Pilots to test a new approach, built around an open and flexible offer for employers. I am happy to see that businesses have taken up that challenge.


"The difference in these schemes is that we will channel funds through employers rather than providers. I look forward to seeing the transformation that this investment will bring to shaping the skills and training of this country's workforce."


Employer Ownership Pilot Round Two (EOP2) follows the first round of this pilot, which is jointly funded by BIS and Department for Education with £340 million to 2015/16.


Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "This project is helping to strengthen industries that know the skills of their workforce are a driver of growth and have the capacity to place the country ahead in the global race.


"It is rewarding to see that so many businesses were interested in taking part in this programme. I look forward to them producing dependable innovative vocational training to help grow the economy."

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Bespoke tailoring industry faces catastrophic skill gap, entrepreneur says

Britain's bespoke tailoring industry is facing an alarming shortage of master tailors, an entrepreneur has revealed.


James Sleater, co-founder of bespoke Savile Row tailor Cad & the Dandy, believes that there needs to be a closer look at the quality and suitability of the apprenticeships on offer in the UK. 


Sir James Dyson last week said that he could employ another 2,000 engineers tomorrow if only he could find suitably trained candidates but believes that the lack of skilled engineers in the UK was the greatest barrier to his company' s growth.


Sleater backed the comments from Dyson and said that a link needed to be made between the tailoring industry and those not in education, employment and training.


"We heard Sir James Dyson saying last week that the lack of skilled engineers was the greatest barrier in the growth of his company and property entrepreneur Will Davies has been drawing attention to skill shortages in the construction industry but the same thing will happen in the tailoring trade if we do not provide adequate apprenticeships and training routes for youngsters joining the industry.


"Britain has always led the world in bespoke tailoring and our craftsmen are still the envy of every other country but we need more talented youngsters to make the decision that ours is the industry they want to work in.


"There are more than one million young people outside education or training within the UK and yet many industries are facing daunting shortages of skilled craftsmen."


He added: "We hear that there is an average of 11 individuals chasing every apprenticeship that is offered. We have to look closely at the quality and suitability of the apprenticeships on offer in the UK and make more of them available." 

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APSCo: Accounting and finance sector facing skills shortage

Demand for accounting and finance skills has risen immeasurably in the last quarter, according to the latest trends report from the Association of Professional Staffing companies (APSCo). 


The study analyses vacancies andplacements across the UK professional staffing sector. In the last quarter,  APSCo members report a 7.5 per cent increase in accounting and finance placements compared with this time last year with vacancies showing an average three per cent rise every month over the last three months.


According to online data, there was a 15 per cent year on year increase in finance and accounting vacancies advertised during July and August across the UK and according to recent research carried out by APSCo member Randstad, the UK faces a shortfall of 10,200 qualified accountants by 2050 due to skills shortages, an ageing workforce and restrictive migration policy.


Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, said:  "The recent positive economic data - coupled with marked fall in unemployment is adding fuel to the growing skills shortages employers are experiencing. 


"While this skills gap was surpressed early in the recession, it is now coming home to roost in the professional sector and our members are reporting shortages of suitably qualified professionals not only in the accounting and finance arena but also in sectors such as IT, engineering and marketing. The skills shortages have always been there but as the recovery gains pace and employers have more confidence to hire, we could be facing a real problem."

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Degree is no protection against under-employment, research shows

Having a degree or an equivalent qualification is no protection against under-employment in Britain, new research shows. 


The British Sociological Association's conference on work, employment and society in Warwick heard today that qualified women were more likely to be under-employed than unqualified ones. Qualified men were just as likely to be under-employed as unqualified ones. 


Dr Surhan Cam, of School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, said that as working hours were cut during the economic slowdown, so the number of people wanting to work longer had risen to more than three and a half million by 2012, around 11 per cent of the workforce. Most of these under-employed wanted to work at least eight hours more a week. 


Cam's research found that women with degrees, or O or A levels were around 40- to 50 per cent more likely to be under-employed than those with no qualifications. The levels were the same for qualified and unqualified men. 


"In Britain higher educational attainments display no impact on men but a negative effect on women.


"Since the beginning of the recession, women's underemployment has gradually begun to overtake men's. We found that female workers who have GCSE grades A to C or higher qualifications are more likely to become under-employed, compared to those who have no qualifications.


 "This accentuation of work-status inconsistency in the case of women is arguably attributable to a glass ceiling against their access to high-ranking occupations."


Dr Cam said that in other EU countries the better educated were less likely to be under-employed, because they were much more likely to be working as managers or technical staff, and these professions had lower rates of under-employment across Europe, including Britain. 


But in Britain the rapid expansion of education had given so many people qualifications that many of them were in non-professional jobs, which had higher rates of under-employment. 


According to Cam, the rates of under-employment were higher overall for women (13 per cent) than men (nine per cent), and were higher in the private sector, particularly among hotel and catering workers (almost 20 per cent for women working in this area). 


His analysis of UK Labour Force Survey data on 5,600 under-employed men and women - defined as those in work who want to work longer hours - also showed that rates were higher among part-time workers, but that around six per cent of full-time workers wanted to work longer hours. 

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Guidance in schools must urgently improve, CIPD say

Ahead of the publication of the Ofsted review into careers advice and guidance in schools today, the CIPD has expressed their concerns about the level of advice being made available to young people about how to navigate the world of work.


CIPD research has found that a lack of careers advice and guidance is hindering young people's ability to find jobs - by broadening the gap between young people and employers. Over half (53 per cent) of employers feel the young people they meet have received inadequate careers advice and guidance, and many young people themselves say that the support they have received has either been unhelpful or non-existent.


The CIPD is championing the role of business in helping to tackle the issue - and is encouraging its members, learning professionals working in all sectors and regions of the UK, to volunteer in schools to offer advice around employability skills. 


Katerina Rüdiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the CIPD, said: "Employers and young people tell us that there are serious inadequacies with the level of careers advice and guidance being provided in our schools. Research with employers highlights that many see this as one of the main obstacles that young people face when looking for work. 


"This is why, as part of the CIPD Learning to Work programme, we are encouraging professionals to volunteer to help young people bridge the gap between education and work. HR professionals are particularly well placed to help young people with their employability skills and it's in employers' interest to ensure that those leaving education are well prepared and excited about their future careers.


"Many employers are keen to engage with schools, and where possible, schools have a responsibility to open their doors to them. However, it is important to recognise that there are wider systemic issues at play - greater investment is needed so that every young person has access to an independent careers adviser. Schools should also be incentivised to embed careers advice and guidance into their teaching programmes via targets that measure this, not just academic exam results."


Learning to Work is an action focused programme led by the CIPD to promote the role of employers in reducing youth unemployment. As part of this, the CIPD 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 already signed up to help young people with their employability skills.

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NHS staff feeling undervalued at work, report reveals

Worrying findings out today reveal that seven out of 10 NHS staff feel undervalued at work, while an additional six out of 10 are on the lookout for a new role. 

That's according to staff reward providers The Voucher Shop, who have been looking into motivation levels within the NHS.

Key findings of the survey revealed:

• Cost of living is still a major concern for NHS staff: 83 percent of staff said that they were not being given assistance with the rising cost of living.

• A significant number of NHS Staff feel undervalued: 70 percent of staff were feeling "unappreciated" or given "not enough praise" for their work.

• Six out of ten NHS staff maybe switching jobs in the next 12 months:  27 percent of NHS staff are actively looking to change jobs within the year and a further 32 percent of NHS staff considering a new post.  This will potentially put pressure to fill vacant posts and to train new intakes.

• Communications about employee benefits needs to be improved:  44 percent of staff cited communication from their bosses on additional benefits to be very poor or poor, with only 3 percent saying it was excellent.

• Long service milestones are being overlooked: 17 percent of NHS Staff said that long service milestones were not celebrated, 24 percent said that service milestones were too infrequent, and a further 17 percent didn't even know if long service was celebrated in their Trust.

Kuljit Kaur, head of business development at The Voucher Shop, said: "Media headlines are focused heavily on the need to cut costs - and the brunt of the pressure still lies with frontline staff that are expected to deliver more with less resource. HR professionals are aware that talent management and staff engagement are critical elements in delivering organisational efficiently. Yet, 50 percent of NHS employees say they don't receive enough praise and 19 percent of staff feel completely unappreciated.

"Even with wage freezes managers can still do more to promote excellent work. Staff recognition need not be a costly exercise. In fact, non-cash rewards such as gifts or vouchers can result in 25 percent higher work performance than cash incentives. Even simple gestures such as a thank you, can increase a person's willingness to help again by 100 percent."


View the original article here

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