...But it’s not necessarily to be found on stage, in a TV studio or on the pages of the media.

No, Britain’s got a wealth of talent undiscovered in the workplace and in turbulent times, such as a recession, then organisations which recognise the turbulent times we live in make it all the more important to tighten our focus on developing the skills of the workforce.

Investing in learning and training now not only means staff will become more productive and better able to deliver a high quality service or product today but also enable companies, enterprises and organisations to prepare themselves for when the market picks up again. After all, the blunt truth is that companies which turn their back on training now are two and a half times more likely to fail than companies which invest in the development of their workforce.

That’s why it really pays off when employers, unions and union learning reps get together to build a thriving workplace learning culture. Having worked with many businesses to help them develop the talent, on their payroll, we know that the 22,000 fully-trained union learning reps now active right across the country have a vital role to play in successful learning partnerships.

And as many of those partnerships have discovered, learning isn’t simply about doing something to help staff feel valued (although it does do that): it can also make a tangible contribution to the bottom line by improving staff retention, reducing sickness absence, enhancing customer care, boosting productivity, and saving money from the agency/contractor budgets.

Learning is one of those genuine common causes between employers and unions. It doesn’t mean that our interests are always identical: for instance, we’re concerned that workers get training for life and not just for the task because if people do have to change jobs, when they have qualifications they’ve got proof of what they can do. Sometimes employers don’t always see it in the same way, but even if there are occasional differences, without doubt learning should be, and can be, a common cause, where the union can and does add value. And where we do work together, we know that these are the firms that are most likely to succeed.

How can a workplace learning partnership help companies plan for the upturn?

All our experience over the past ten years has shown that learning can thrive despite the tensions between companies and unions on other issues – and obviously there’s going to be more tension during a recession with all the pressure on budgets and so on. So learning can help keep the doors of communication open between employers and unions in the short term. But in the medium and longer term it can also help reduce absenteeism, improve customer care, enhance health and safety – all those business case benefits we know about.

Advertisement

For example, GMB members at JCB have played their part in helping the company survive the recession. Last year, staff voted for a shorter working week and thereby reduced redundancies by two-thirds.

"This is very positive because it means we retain the skills of a wider workforce who have contributed to the success this company has enjoyed over many years," commented JCB chief executive officer Matthew Taylor at the time.

Liz Smith is the director of unionlearn, which helps unions encourage lifelong learning among members

 

Read other FE News articles by Liz Smith:

Union learning boosted as training target is surpassed

unionlearn's Liz Smith on Ofsted success

Make everyday World Book Day, says unionlearn director Liz Smith

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 6 hours

Effective Self Assessment & Improvement Planning (Zoom...

The self-assessment process is, further, the key way in which providers can measure the effectiveness of their provision against the EIF. Under the...

  • Friday, 07 August 2020 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page