For over 20 years the National Training Awards have highlighted and celebrated the vast amount of excellent training that goes on across the length and breadth of the UK. As such, we are uniquely placed and privileged to be able to accumulate, year-on-year, the most insightful and up-to-date knowledge about what works best in training and vocational learning.

Encouragingly, Further Education invariably plays a very important part, contributing to the success of the many training programmes that are run across the UK today. Colleges that have won a National Training Award in the past have been recognised either directly for developing their own people; or through collaboration with local employers that have achieved business or individual successes as a direct return on training investment.

If colleges are to continue to lead the way in supporting both employers and employees in vocational learning however, a keen and sustained interest in, and understanding of the intrinsic values, motivations and attitudes felt by UK employees will be key.

With this in mind, the National Training Awards, which are run by UK Skills on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), recently commissioned a research study, which sought to identify specifically how UK employees feel about their careers, their professional development, their employers and the job market in general.

The study, conducted with polling company YouGov, uncovered a number of important findings. Most significantly, vocational training and apprenticeship programme providers will be especially interested to hear that half (50%) of all workers said that that job-related skills and knowledge development training they have received from a past or present employer has been most beneficial in helping them perform well in their job. Whereas less than one-in-five (19%) valued Higher Education as most beneficial in helping them perform well.

Additionally, the research also highlighted that while more than three in four UK workers (76%) said that when looking for a new job the most appealing feature is a competitive salary, less than a third of people (32%) are motivated by money to perform well in their job. The biggest performance motivator, among nearly half (43%) of UK employees, is simply having a passion for the job or organisation where they work. Other key performance motivators identified were personal recognition and praise from management (28%) and an open and relaxed management style (27%).

Interestingly seven in ten workers also said that an employer's commitment to staff training and learning is important in helping them feel valued and 69% said it is important in making them want to work hard. Rather worryingly then comes the statistic that more than one in five (22%) think that training and development programmes in their job have worsened as a result of the economic downturn and only 50% think their employer is committed to developing their skills.

So, what positive learning can we take from all this valuable insight?

We may well have proven beyond reasonable doubt that money really does make the world, and the job market go round (perhaps a little too swiftly at times) but what else can we take from our findings?

Our results really do tell a serious and compelling story to all businesses, organisations and individuals; particularly about how organisational aspects relating to work can impact employee attitudes and motivations. Ultimately we are all driven by a whole host of factors besides money; with management styles and the provision of training and development opportunities proving to be even more important in keeping us motivated, productive and happy at work.

Furthermore, as past winners of the National Training Awards stand testament; there are still plenty of businesses and organisations across the UK, not least in the Further Education field, already committed and continuing to invest in these areas - and achieving success as a direct result!

Anyone who feels that they deserve recognition can still enter this year's National Training Awards up until the closing date on Friday 23 April. 

Simon Bartley is chief executive of UK Skills, which champions learning through competitions and awards

Read other FE News articles by Simon Bartley:

Act now to enter the world's greatest skills competition

Supporting employee engagement through Further Education 

What employers want from Further Education

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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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.


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.


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.

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