From education to employment

Reframing Recruitment and Learning with AI

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AI is reframing how businesses recruit and train employees and apprenticeships are a great solution providing the best of both worlds, recruiting fresh new talent, and upskilling existing employees to close the digital skills gap in the workplace today.

How we work with technology will improve our work experience eradicating the boredom of daily tasks so we can focus on being creative, collaborating and on the higher value tasks our roles require. Business must rethink how to upskill existing employees and recruit new employees creating an open culture of learning and development. Encouraging employees to discover what is possible with AI and how and when to use it. AI won’t replace jobs but the people that know how to use it will.

Changing Mindset

Now is the time to change your fixed mindset from ‘this is how we have always done it’ to looking at everything you do in your business with fresh eyes focusing on ‘what is made possible’ with AI. Assessing what skills are valuable in your business and looking at the tasks your employees carry out and what can be automated so they can focus on higher value tasks. This will enable you to identify your critical skills gap and recruit or upskill accordingly.

Recruitment Challenges

Recruiting has become a challenge in recent years with employees demanding a better work life balance, more flexible hours and working from anywhere. Combined with the digital skills where they are more jobs that candidates recruiting is tough. Gallup and Amazon Web Services stated that 72% of UK businesses have vacancies for workers with digital skills and 68% find it challenge to recruit digital workers.

Businesses are increasingly seeking individuals who have digital skills such as data literacy, data analysis, advanced coding and AI, of which 75% of people believed hold the greatest value today in the job market today. Along with IT support, trouble shooting and cyber security with the increasing growing threat of cybercrime. However, it’s not just about the advanced skills but the day-to-day skills of using AI and harnessing the platforms and the assistants to enable employees to be more productive and efficient in their roles. Achieving this will come from employees having the time and space to test out and play with AI making their own discoveries in conjunction with training from those who know how to use it.

It is crucial that the business democratise AI for employees to reduce the fear factor. AI assistants such as Microsoft Co-Pilot are there to support employees wherever they are working from using generative AI. Helping with summarising meetings, assisting with proposals, presentations, plans, quotes etc. Plus, AI can also help employees with the next suggested action and even identify sentiment in conversations giving managers a nudge to be more understanding or tolerant.

The crux here is that the digital skills gap is not just looking for highly skilled coders or analysts but it is vital that we all learn how to use AI because this is the now and the future how we work with each other and technology.

By bringing in apprentices and enhancing the skill set of your current team, you can equip them with the digital competencies vital for your business, alongside other necessary abilities and the crucial ‘soft skills’ to remain competitive in this new world.

Apprenticeships the Answer

By recruiting apprentices, you can mould and shape the apprentice to have the skills that your business specifically requires and to close your critical skills gap. They are a fresh, enthusiastic talent that will learn, develop, and hone their skills on the job while receiving a salary. You can support the local community by working with local schools, colleges and training providers providing a diverse workforce for all.

They are a very cost-effective method of recruiting and should be viewed a long-term investment that will pay off resulting in a loyal, eager employee. For companies with a payroll of over £3 million they must pay 0.5% of their payroll costs into a fund for training. For all other companies the government will pay 95% and they must pay the remaining 5%.

Companies that don’t spend their levy can transfer to other companies who are registered on the apprenticeship service so some SMEs can receive 95% funding from the government and use a transfer to fund the 5% therefore costing them nothing.

Apprenticeships Not Just for School Leavers

Businesses should utilise apprenticeships for existing employees and use this opportunity to upskill existing employees in digital and soft skills or wherever the skill gap is. By having a culture of continuous learning and development you will create more loyal enthusiastic employees who will be more productive, and you are more likely to retain them.

One of the drawbacks of the apprenticeship programme and indeed for SMEs is that apprentices need to conduct 20% of the learning ‘on the job’ which can be a headache for SMEs. However, it must be viewed as a long-term investment as it is much more expensive to recruit than train employees.

Softer Skills More Important Than Ever

Focus on training apprentices and upskilling employees ensuring they are trained on your required skill set and softer skills such as communicating, teamwork, creativity, empathy, and critical thinking. These are the skills that humans excel in and not technology so must be identified and constantly improved.

Deloitte stated that soft skill intensive jobs will grow 2.5x faster than other jobs, and by 2030 soft skills jobs will make up 63% of all jobs. Soft skills are becoming increasingly vital in the workplace because they are transferable and can be applied to different scenarios within various roles. As the world grows digitally, it is the soft skills that will become more fundamental in the workplace.

Train with AI

AI can be used to help HR recruit apprentices and new employees using it to screen candidates using unbiased methods, saving the time and effort, and freeing them up to focus on the human side such as interviews.

It can also be used to train apprentices and upskill existing employees where they can use AI online learning tools and courses to develop their skills. This can be through your Apprenticeship Training Provider or via another platform.

And Reset

Embrace AI by democratising it and encouraging a transparent culture of creativity and open learning enabling employees to test out AI and discover what is possible. Be advocates of AI demonstrating how it improves our work experience and encourage a continuous environment of training and upskilling in your business.

Apprentices need to be viewed as a long-term investment and as home-grown talent specific to your business’s needs. You will reap the benefits tenfold of an eager, loyal and dedicated member of your team.  By championing learning and development your team will be excited by the changes coming with AI and new technologies and will be rewarded by a business that invests in its people creating a workforce that is ready for the digital age.

By Jonathan Sharp, CEO, Britannic

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