Skills for work: fossilisation versus mobilisation

It is estimated that by 2020, 60% of new jobs will require less than 20% of the skills we currently possess. 

It used to be that companies would look to universities and colleges to provide the next generation workforce who have the skills needed for work. Although recent statistics show that in 2015, 22% of job vacancies were unfilled because of lack of skills, qualifications or experience to match the job.

Companies who need to move fast within their sector to stay current and competitive have identified this as a risk. So much so they are taking action! And they are not looking to the academic sector to deliver.

Fossilisation is the term that is being used to describe the further education (FE) sector at the moment. Two years ago the FELTAG report (Further Education Learning Technology Action Group) encouraged “agile evolution” to “maximise effective use of digital technology”. However the message from the SFA (Skills Funding Agency) review of the last two years is that blended/online learning is deemed “too complex”, “not a priority” or “somebody else’s responsibility”.

In the meantime, the use of digital technology in the workplace for learning is embedded and becoming increasingly demanded due to the advantages it brings to both employer and employees.

Job adverts within Learning and Development tell a bigger story of organisations taking this task on themselves. They are creating internal teams to deliver targeted training to fit the exact needs of the business, whether that is just-in-time, online, blended or gamification.  The label used isn’t important. What matters is that people get the skills they need and ultimately ‘learn how to learn’, take responsibility for their learning, and become more engaged, productive and employable.

Corporate academies are popping up in every sector and seem to be working.  Companies are tapping into their knowledge base and producing quality organisational learning for their employees. At eCom we have worked and are currently working with companies who are excited about what their L&D impact is now achieving.

It’s agreed that the FE sector can’t compete due to a number of factors, notwithstanding budget and resources.  But what the traditional university or college can bring is qualifications and the confidence to use digital tools effectively.  Recognised credentials that are understood by future employers help to open doors, while confidence with digital tools enables lifelong access to learning.

Richard Branson’s quote is banded about a lot:

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.

But what if they do want to leave?

All L&D garnered by the employee over their years of service is worth nothing out in the open market. They need justification, accreditation, and credentials to give their skills future value.

Badging can provide this. Although it must be Open Badging to create robust, reliable and crucially transferable achievements that the omni-skilled employee of the future will need.  Companies need to develop micro credentials that have real worth by identifying standards of training. Linking to sector relevant competencies can support the reliability of the award.

Engagement will not happen without worth, so what’s in it for the employer?

The employer will have visibility of the training that employees engage with and can monitor the growth and development of their people over time. Where training is for industry compliance it becomes easy to see who needs to be re-certified as badges expire. When attracting new employees it’s a way to show active encouragement of learning in your workplace, demonstrating the possibility of progression and the fostering of in-house talent.

This can seem overwhelming to employers, due to the fast pace nature and the jargon that surrounds the learning industry.  This is why many organisations have appreciated the partnership approach that eCom Scotland has to offer.  We have been developing bespoke solutions to facilitate workforce learning for almost 20

Read more about how eCom partners with their clients to transform their aspirations into reality.

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