Woman with mask

50+ CEOs and L&D experts find the professional learning market ripe for innovation due to pandemic wake-up call (@FutureLearn, @emergelab)

Emerge Education and FutureLearn launch new industry report exploring the future of workforce development 

The Learning and Development (L&D) sector has reached a critical stage; with four key areas open for disruption and emerging new innovators, according to a new green paper launched by Emerge Education, the only VC fund backed by the world's leading education entrepreneurs, and FutureLearn.com, the leading social learning platform.

The Future of Workforce Development’ explores the changing nature of work and workforce development, the shift of L&D departments’ focus from learning and content to performance and outcomes, and identifies the five emerging workforce development trends that will provide fresh opportunities for innovation within the sector. These trends include:

  • Adopting technology and online learning 
  • Learning in the flow of life (lifelong learning)
  • Using data and AI for personalising individual learning pathways
  • Encouraging internal coaching, mentoring and management 
  • The changing role of the L&D department to become more integrated within the wider business

Nic Newman, Partner at Emerge Education, said:

“The traditional approach to corporate training was broken long before the pandemic arrived with the majority of spend not delivering the intended results. The current situation has forced companies to innovate their capability-building approach rapidly and bring the 'future forward'. Corporate leaders are now demanding a new kind of capability building that works in today’s virtual environments and focuses not simply on learning but also on achieving behavioural change - the focus on up-skilling and reskilling has become a C-suite strategic imperative.”

Based on research, case studies, and expert insights from over 50 business leaders in a range of organisations - including the CBI, The Institute of Directors, Amazon Web Services, OpenClassrooms, Samsung and Jaguar Land Rover - the four key recommendations on where technological innovation can make an impact on workforce development, for L&D practitioners, organisations, policymakers and startup founders, include: Skills Assessment, Career Pathways, Collaborative Learning, and Tailored Learning. 

Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer at FutureLearn, said:

“Professional development is evolving quicker than ever before, and there’s a more urgent need for it now, with the fast pace of technological change creating high demand for entirely new skillsets and more flexible, boundaryless workforces. In terms of innovation in the L&D sector, we’ve already seen how much of an impact online learning has made over the past decade, but in some areas we’ve barely scratched the surface. There remains plenty more space for new edtech solutions to help fill the gaps identified in this green paper, enabling a more integrated, personalised and lifelong approach to building the workforce of the future.”

The green paper has landed at a time when L&D and upskilling and reskilling opportunities are becoming increasingly important to both industry and government, with the latest research showing 64% of L&D leaders see reskilling as more of a priority and an almost 160% increase in CEOs championing L&D more. Professionals are also harnessing the importance of upskilling opportunities, with 40% of UK adults likely to take an online course within the next five years to grow their skill set and get ahead in their career, according to FutureLearn’s The Future of Learning 2021 report.

Catalina Schveninger, Chief People Officer at FutureLearn, said:

“It’s exciting to see learning and development rising in prominence as a core business function. In the current climate, providing opportunities for employees to strengthen and deepen their skillsets, or perhaps reskill for internal roles as well as external ones, are more important than ever as building employability is a sign of corporate sustainability. One of the green paper’s key findings centres around the importance of ensuring L&D professionals themselves are also fully equipped to evolve with their more integrated roles, and are able to use new technologies and data in more effective ways. There are gaps in the market for innovations to come to the fore here and I’m looking forward to seeing the fantastic new fit-for-purpose solutions that emerge in this space.”

Donald Taylor, chair of the LPI, said:

“We are at a pivotal moment for workplace L&D. As work becomes less fixed to roles, organisations and places, so the traditional approach of providing courses linked to jobs has shrunk in value. At the same time, what people can do, and the way they behave, is now a key differentiator between organisations. L&D should aim to be core to how organisations succeed. This paper spells out some key ways in which it can be just that, as well as guidance for edtech founders looking to support this.”

Rob Peacock, Head of Learning and Development at Samsung Electronics, said:

“There’s a big move towards learning for life, not just for work. It’s a shift away from learning to improve competencies so you can be who your business needs you to be and towards purpose-led learning that unlocks the potential in us all. We need to provide learning in the flow of life, not just the flow of work. Learning technologies have helped us connect the learning with the flow, just like digital marketeers have been so adept at doing.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

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.


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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page