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#FutureofWork - According to @AvivaUK’s latest How We Live report, three fifths of UK workers (60%) intend to make changes to their careers as a result of the Covid outbreak, an increase of seven percentage points since July 2020 (53%).

  • Number of workers planning career changes has increased from 53% to 60% since July 2020.
  • A fifth of UK adults hope to generate an income stream from a hobby
  • Nearly 700,000 additional workers plan to switch to a role which helps others
  • Under-25s are most likely to be re-thinking their careers as a result of the pandemic (87%)

The research, conducted as part of Aviva’s latest How We Live report, reveals changes range from the relatively minor, such as learning new skills or gaining further qualifications, to switching career path completely.

The proportion of workers intending to find a completely different vocation has increased from 7% to 9%, while those planning to take on a role which helps others has risen from 6% to 8%.

While these increases may appear to be relatively small, growing by just two percentage points in each case, they account for nearly 700,000* additional workers on both counts.

As in July 2020, the most popular change which people would like to introduce to their occupation is the ability to work from home. This figure has stayed static at 10%, suggesting that home-working has proved a benefit of the pandemic for some.

The desire to work from home still appears to be strongest in London where one in six (16%) of workers intend to find a role which will allow them to work remotely. This figure has stayed static since July 2020. The proportion of would-be homeworkers is lowest in Scotland now, where just 5% plan to find a role which will accommodate home-working.

Career ambition

Percentage of workers July 2020

Percentage of workers February 2021

I plan to find a role which will allow me to work from home



I plan to retrain / learn new skills



I plan to gain more academic qualifications



I plan to follow a completely different career path



I plan to find a role which helps others / makes a difference to those in need



I plan to set up my own business / work for myself



I plan to increase my working hours (e.g. part time to full time)



I plan to reduce my working hours (e.g. full time to part time)



I plan to move companies but stay in the same industry/role



I plan to find employment after losing my job



I plan to retire



I plan to find a new role but with the same organisation



Covid and careers within different age groups

The research also reveals some interesting insights in relation to specific age groups. People aged under 25 are most likely to want to make changes to their work plans in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with 87% re-evaluating their careers.

Under-25s are more likely than any other age group to want a role where they can work from home (13%). They are also the age group most likely to be seeking a job which helps others (13%) and – perhaps predictably – to hope to gain more academic qualifications (17%).

Those in the 25-34 age group are most likely to want to retrain (14% compared to 10% across all age groups) or follow a completely different career path (14% vs 9% all ages).

At the opposite end of the working age spectrum, people are even more likely to want to retire as a result of the pandemic, than they were in July 2020. One in seven (14%) workers aged 55 and above say the pandemic has escalated their retirement plans to within the next 12 months, compared to 11% in July 2020.

Hobbies into careers

This latest research also suggests there are an increasing number of people who plan to turn hobbies into income streams.

In July 2020, the first How We Live study discovered 6% of people planned to turn a hobby into a career, while a further 9% saw their hobby as a way of generating a second income stream.

Both of these intentions have increased during the pandemic: now 12% of UK adults say they plan to turn a hobby into a second source of income, while 8% hope that a hobby will become a career.

This is equivalent to 10.8 million** UK adults who plan to add to their incomes or make a full-time career from what started out as a hobby.

Gareth Hemming, MD, Personal Lines, Aviva says:

 “As the pandemic has continued, an increasing number of people have given thought to what they want from their careers and now three fifths of people would like to make changes to their working lives. The extent of these changes varies: in some instances people want more flexibility, such as the ability to work from home, while others wish to change their career paths completely.

“For those who plan to become home-workers, it’s always sensible to check that they have suitable cover for their circumstances. Many home insurance policies include cover for office equipment. However, a standard home insurance policy may not be adequate if someone wishes to run a business from their home, particularly if they have stock on site or customers visiting their property. To be absolutely certain, it’s always best for people to check with their insurance provider.”

Methodology: Data relates to a survey of 4,000 randomly selected UK adults aged 16 and upwards, carried out by Censuswide Research on behalf of Aviva between 10 – 15 February 2021. Where a comparative study from July 2020 is referenced, this relates to a similar survey of 4,002 UK adults, carried out by Censuswide Research between 10-17 July 2020.

* 682,740 workers, based on 34,137,000 economically active people in the UK October – December 2020: Source: Labour Force Survey.

** Based on ONS population estimates of 53.8 million adults aged 16 and above

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Nobody can argue that the events of the last 12 months, has definitely led to disruption with basic Maths and English, as well as Functional Skills. There is a question mark however, over whether schools have been able to overcome these obstacles in order to ensure that learners stay on track? These are answers that many parents/guardians are looking for with some feeling that education has been on hold for many learners.

It came as no surprise that A Level and GCSE examinations were to be cancelled again in England for the summer 2021 series, however for many students it brought it’s own stress. Although many welcomed the fact that grades would be decided by teachers rather than exams being sat, others felt that this caused them anxiety, as the outcome of these examinations were completely out of their control. Most are resolved to the fact that whatever the outcome, they have done their utmost best and await the results.

Although for some types of employment, you will not use your English or Maths skills, employers still expect individuals to be educated to at least a level 2, before they will even invite them for an interview and applicants are finding that they may be disadvantaged because of this.

Many learners who would normally be looking to continue into full-time employment following completion of their GCSEs, must now consider other options available, such as apprenticeships, where they can continue to complete their Maths and English skills by way of Functional Skills or GCSE subjects. With the outlook of limited employment opportunities available, it is thought that colleges could become overwhelmed with applications from prospective students who would not normally be choosing this route to further their careers.

Pupils taken out of school even for short breaks are less likely to achieve good results in English, maths and science, according to DfE research. This makes for alarming reading; considering the impact Covid-19 has had on education in the past 12 months, particularly within early years settings.

Whilst the situation above may seem rather bleak, we must not forget the resilience of children and how they seem to bounce back in a way that most adults are unable to do so; returning to school after school closures as though they had never been away. We also have the optimism of Teachers who have been desperate to return to a school setting, where they can recommence face to face teaching, which is what they have been trained to do and why they signed up in the first place.

No doubt, over the next few years, the situation will unfold, and we will gain a better understanding of the effects of Covid-19 on basic skills and education; until then, it is business as usual with a lot of catching up.

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The Learning Curve, a new report by @Demos, supported by @Google, finds that 10% of the UK’s economy output can be linked to online learning.

Demos polled 20,000 people in the biggest report of its kind looking at online learning habits and their impact on people’s lives in the UK. That research was paired with in depth interviews with both individuals who have used the online learning to achieve career and personal goals and those who have not engaged in online learning, and a review of existing academic literature.

The report finds that:

  • Two thirds of the UK workforce use online learning to help with work; search engines and video platforms reign supreme as the main source of knowledge
  • Only one in five do so under the recommendation of employers
  • More than three quarters of people who learn online (77%) say it’s beneficial to their mental health
  • 29 per cent of the UK working population have used internet-based learning to help raise their pay with a median pay rise being £2 per hour, equivalent to £3,640 per year for a 35-hour week.
  • One in three have also used online learning to help them get a new job.

Two-thirds of those who use the internet to learn new things for work say that doing so has helped them do their job more efficiently, providing new evidence on the link between everyday workplace learning and economic productivity; it’s estimated that 20 million people in Britain feel that online learning has, at some stage, contributed to their professional output. Maximising the impact of everyday work-related online learning is an important part of the answer of how to raise economic productivity in Britain.

Online learning remains something which is largely being driven by individuals. Only 18 per cent say they have undertaken learning at the suggestion or requirement of their employer. Given that 72 per cent of those learning online are doing so for free, predominantly on search engines and video, there is a clear benefit to employers to encourage, recognise and reward this proactive approach to more productive working.

Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Demos said:

“This report gives the first real insight into the extent and impact of online learning in the UK. What we found is really encouraging – not just for the businesses and organisations that are benefitting from upskilling employees, but in terms of the economy as a whole. Yet there’s a warning here too – if employers fail to support this kind of learning, or fail to recognise the skills that result from it, then we all risk missing out. It’s time to radically rethink how we measure professional skills – so we can stop obsessing over qualifications, and focus on developing ability instead.”

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After @OakNational Academy's call to tackle the #DigitalDivide, and in the week we've reached our 100 millionth lesson delivered (9 Feb), we’re thrilled to announce that Oak is now DATA-FREE for all on @VodafoneUK @EE @BT_uk @O2 

@giffgaff @ThreeUK @SMARTYMobileUK 

@TescoMobile @SkyUK @VirginMedia and @Plusnet 

Oak National  Academy is the country’s online classroom, that was set up by teachers to help pupils learn from home, and has now delivered over 100 million lessons online.

Oak had provided more than 28 million lessons in the first two weeks from the start of the new school term on 4th January 2021.  Oak is fast becoming a go-to for schools and families around the country.

In total, 4.1 million pupils have accessed Oak in 2021, while schools have been closed to the vast majority of children.  

The numbers have soared over the past two weeks, coming close to what was seen during the whole of the summer term in the first lockdown where 4.7 million pupils took part in 20 million lessons.  

Monday January 11, saw 1.1 million users log on to access the online content. As of 15th Jan pupils had taken part in 42 million lessons since September, and a total of 62 million lessons. 

Oak National Academy provides nearly 10,000 online lessons, covering the majority of core subjects, from age 4-16. Every lesson is free and available to teachers and parents to support home learning. 

Matt Hood 100x100Matt Hood, Principal of Oak National Academy, said:  

“With the move to remote education, we’re delighted that teachers and children across the country have been using our free online classroom to support their school offer. To have had over 4 million children access 28 million lessons in less than two weeks is a huge privilege. 

“Schools are performing miracles right now, and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to support them. Everyone - teachers, schools and parents - is pulling together so each child continues to get a high-quality education.”

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In recognition of the extraordinary challenges faced by schools in England and Wales, the National Education Union (@NEUnion) and the @DailyMirror today (26 Jan) launch #HelpAChildToLearn appeal - with an initial £1 million fund from the NEU - to supply learning materials such as pens, paper, card and crayons for those pupils who do not have these remote learning essentials in their homes.

4.2 million children are growing up trapped in poverty – an average of 9 children in every class of 30 – with many more families being pushed into hardship through job losses, illness and changing circumstances. Too many children do not have the tools for home learning. Schools and colleges have been doing everything they can to meet this need, but they were already under considerable financial strain before the pandemic. The added costs of Covid-security means that students’ needs far outstrip school budgets.

That is why the National Education Union and the Daily Mirror are together stepping up to support children and young people who do not have the most basic resources needed for remote learning.

We are initially contacting schools in England and Wales with the greatest number of pupils on Free School Meals. Offers will be made proportionate to school size, in gradients of £500, £1,000 and £1,500. This will enable them to purchase stationery for learning at home. Schools with this highest level of need in every region of England and Wales will be contacted.

The fund will be distributed by our partner, Viking, a leading supplier for workplace solutions across Europe, in the form of a voucher. Schools will make their own judgements about which materials have the most impact on disadvantaged students' engagement with learning. This practical help, given to the most disadvantaged children and young people, will go some way towards alleviating their feeling of being left behind.

We cannot reach every child, but we are determined to reach as many as we can.

Last week, the Sutton Trust called for an immediate pupil premium boost of £750m from Government to schools and colleges as learning continues in lockdown. We support this recommendation and hope that Gavin Williamson, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson will pledge to make this investment in young people and their future.

We have also created the NEU Remote Education Hub to support the profession to develop high-quality remote education, with opportunities for teachers to support each other and share their tips, and strategies for each subject.

A new survey of over 2,500 members of the NEU showed:

  • * 95% of respondents told us they are teaching students with limited or no access to learning resources at home.
  • * One in four respondents (27%) told us that half or more of their pupils were in this situation.
  • * Members agree that access to practical materials will boost engagement and self-confidence when learning from home (75%).

Respondents told us:

“It’s not a level playing field, children not having resources lowers their self-esteem.”

“The older students struggle to buy revision guides and A-level textbooks of their own if the school cannot resource them.”

“Pupils would bring in ‘work’ or ‘drawings’ which were on flyers or sheets of toilet paper in biro due to lack of resources at home.”

“I have to print and provide paper packs for home learning for all pupils in my class. We have also supplied them with a pencil, sharpener and rubber so they can complete these packs.”

The NEU welcomes donations to the Help a Child to Learn appeal from anyone who wants to take down the barriers and help children thrive. Your support will enable us to assist more schools and more young people. Donations to the Help a Child to Learn appeal can be made at www.helpachildtolearn.com .

Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, the largest education union, said:

“Teachers and school leaders tell us that their poorest and most disadvantaged children’s learning is hampered because they do not have the basic essentials in their homes. Pupils cannot learn if they do not have paper to write on and pens to write with. They cannot engage in creative learning if they lack crayons and glue. Cardboard and toilet paper are not substitutes for exercise books.

"Our Help a Child to Learn campaign is driven by the level of need NEU members see in their pupils. The sheer scale of child poverty and its effects on children’s learning is heart-breaking. It should not be necessary, in 2021 to supply pupils with the very basics they need to participate in remote learning, but it is necessary and this campaign will rise to the challenge.

"With public help, and in addition to the £1 million pound contribution from the NEU, we will grow this fund to support more schools and even more pupils."

Jason Beattie, Assistant Editor, Daily Mirror, said:

"Help a Child to Learn is unfortunately a vital initiative between the Daily Mirror and the NEU to provide essential support to disadvantaged children and young people trapped in educational and financial poverty. Schools and families are struggling which is why we are urging the public to donate so that every child has the chance to learn, study and thrive in these difficult times."

Raffael Reinhold, CEO of Office Depot Europe, said:

“Viking is proud to work in partnership with NEU and support the campaign to provide the materials needed for teachers to continue to make a difference to the lives of their pupils."

Methodology: 2,645 members in England and Wales responded to the online survey, which was conducted between Thursday 21 January 2021 and Monday 25 January 2021.

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