From education to employment

Learning at Work Week 2023: Create the Future

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Learning at Work Week is an annual event that promotes continuous Learning and Development (L&D) in the workplace. The theme this year is ‘Create the Future’, which “explores how lifelong learning at work can help us all personally and collectively create our futures”. This week is a great opportunity for organisations to look inward at what more they can be doing to prioritise and promote the development of crucial skills that will allow them to futureproof not only their organisations, but the success of their employees. 


Focusing on L&D is beneficial to more than just the individual receiving the training. It’s a way to create a future-proof organisation that houses the skills and talent necessary to evolve with the times. Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft explains that,

“the uncertain economic climate has led to more employees being required to take on additional or different responsibilities in their roles. As such, there is an increasing need for employees to upskill and adapt to meet the ever-evolving demands of the workplace. At the same time, disruptive technologies such as Generative AI and Large Language Models (LLM) equally require a new set of skills for businesses to best leverage their capabilities – with those not able to adapt likely to be left behind. With this in mind, it’s clear that developing talent and building skills is more important than ever. Organisations with a strong learning culture will find it easier to stay agile and adapt to new technologies. 

“Continual upskilling is the key ingredient to future-proofing operations but this requires the right training tools to optimise employee learning. Content should be able to be consumed on-demand, in bite size chunks that can be incorporated into the work day. For example, on-demand access to videos, podcasts, e-books, and assignments will allow employees to learn when best suits them, and will help embed a culture of continuous development. Training providers should offer personalised recommendations and clear learning paths so that employees don’t waste time searching for content and are able to find the learning they need”. 

“In order to keep pace with technological change, business leaders should be encouraging employees to grow alongside technology”, Bruce Martin, CEO of Tax Systems continues. “At Tax Systems, it is clear that learning and development is important to our employees, which therefore makes it important for us as a company. We want to ensure our colleagues are able to continue their development and invest in their happiness so we regularly check in to see what more they need from us. Through open discussions, Tax Systems have recently made developments to our company learning strategy, which has initiated a more thorough push to ensure daily development to, and raised awareness of, our Learning Locker – a resource which has always been there but wasn’t always used to its maximum extent. 

“As everyone learns in different ways, encouraging and supporting your employees to manage their own development will enable them to choose the path that best works for them and set them up for long-term success. Competence leads to confidence, so it is important for business leaders to encourage their people to flourish and thrive. It is not enough anymore just to attract the best talent, it is about providing employees everything they need so that they will want to stay. Invest in your people and they will invest in you”. 

Hybrid Working 

One of the most recent transformations in the 2023 workforce has been the widespread adoption of hybrid working environments. However, not all organisations have been quick to adopt L&D styles that complement this new way of working. Sadie Wilde, Head of Professional Development at Node4 expands, “while most businesses are now settled into a hybrid way of working, many are yet to adapt their Learning and Development (L&D) strategies to fit with this new routine. Opportunities for learning from shadowing, observing, and listening to conversations between colleagues are significantly reduced when employees are regularly working remotely. Therefore, making the most of the days that colleagues are in the office is essential. Encouraging teams to meet together – be it a formal brainstorm or an informal coffee morning – cultivates an environment that enables everyone to bring a different idea to the table. On those days when colleagues are working from home, online platforms are crucial for ensuring that this collaborative and creative environment is maintained, even when teams are physically apart. 

“Too often L&D is considered to be an annual training session, but a strong L&D strategy should be an integrated part of our daily working routines. At Node4, we work hard to implement this and encourage learning and development at every opportunity. First of all, we have a strong coaching and mentoring culture, whereby colleagues are encouraged to learn from and support each other in their development. We also invest heavily in our emerging talent programme which hires apprentices and supports them through learning new skills, gaining nationally-recognised qualifications and embarking on a long term career with us. In addition, we run our Exceptional Service workshops and the Node4 Academy, where we teach an array of courses to all our employees, from our new starters to our longest serving.  We also ensure a strong focus on Leadership development supporting our Leaders at all levels including those aspiring to progress into a leadership role.” 

Hugh Scantlebury, CEO and Founder of Aqilla furthers: “Finding time for learning and development can be difficult when employees work on a hybrid basis, and the whole team is rarely in the office on the same occasion. Add to this the ever-increasing workloads that many are experiencing, and it is no wonder that learning and development opportunities are decreasing. But Learning at Work Week is all about promoting lifelong learning and provides a chance for organisations to assess their strategy for the training and progression of their employees. Our cloud-based accounting platforms automate some of the admin burdens, freeing up time for workers to learn and develop other critical skills. This time can be optimised with training sessions or team brainstorms to encourage colleagues to learn from each other and external expertise. As they say, every day is a school day, and business leaders should encourage their employees’ continual development”. 

Combating the skills gap 

Finally, L&D is the answer to one of the biggest challenges facing the UK workforce today: skills gaps. Jen Locklear, Chief People Officer at ConnectWise highlights: “Skills gaps remain an ever present issue, particularly in the technology sector, and with economic pressures discouraging many organisations from hiring, upskilling current staff is an obvious solution. There are more resources out there than ever for those looking to boost their skills, and increasingly learning can be completed anywhere and any time, serving the hybrid workforce and fitting into existing business priorities. For example, ConnectWise provides on-demand certification courses through ConnectWise Certify, which allows IT professionals to invest in their personal development and expand their knowledge. We also offer partners access to a wealth of educational resources, including ConnectWise University.

“Of course, whilst remote learning solutions are convenient, it’s vital that HR continues to find ways to allow staff to connect and collaborate. Utilising new technologies can ensure that remote training still offers opportunities to connect with others. Equally, there’s still value in ensuring there is time and resources for in-person learning. At ConnectWise, we’re particularly proud of our events for colleagues and partners that offer the space for them to share their knowledge and expertise”.

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