Turning your workforce into business boosting assets
University of West London
Apr 9 | 5 minutes read
In a time of rapid automation, shifting business priorities, and rapid technological advances, upskilling of staff is taking on a new urgency.
The skills gap is widening by the day with employers in the UK struggling to find the right people for the required positions.
According to the Open University’s Business Barometer, organisations spent a staggering £6.3 billion (US$8.2 billion) in 2018 on temporary workers, recruitment fees, inflated salaries and training as a result of skills lacking in the UK labour market.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are some of the hardest hit by the shortfall, with 94 percent of UK SMEs having struggled to find workers with the right skills last year. Sixty-one percent of senior business leaders report the skills shortage has worsened over the past year.
But rather than look at hiring from elsewhere, the answer to the problem may lie closer to home that business owners think.
The answer to your hiring woes is closer than you think
Hiring new staff is time-consuming, not to mention expensive. Whereas training up current staff members can prove just as effective for a fraction of the investment.
All industries, across the board, are rapidly shifting as technology advances and our understanding and capacity to streamline grows.
Much of this progress stems from universities. The research they conduct drives innovation and places them at the forefront of change, regardless of industry or subject area.
So, if a business is looking to upskill their workforce with the latest in a field, why not go straight to the source?
The University of West London (UWL) offers business the chance to do just that as part of their apprenticeships programme.
UWL collaborates with business owners to tailor a programme that works for them. And they have some pretty high-profile fans to back-up their process.
“The University of West London is of great value to SEGA as the partnership continues to deliver high-quality knowledge and skills to our business through the University’s apprenticeship programme,” Director of Technology at SEGA, Stuart Wright, told U2B.
“The apprenticeship programme, which SEGA has been using for some years, is helping SEGA technical staff develop their technical abilities and real-life experience, producing richer and more capable teams.”
Tailored business-specific programmes
Companies get access to the university’s dedicated staff, first-class facilities and cutting-edge technologies, all working together to deliver the best possible apprenticeship experience for both business and student.
With over 10 years’ experience and long-standing relationships with over 6,000 industry partners, UWL is perfectly positioned to design and deliver customised courses to meet each business’s needs.
The UWL team works closely with the business leader throughout the experience to ensure key performance goals are being realised and the apprentice is learning the content most relevant to their developing role at the company.
“The University of West London’s staff have worked collaboratively with us from the outset, ensuring the apprenticeship programme meets our business requirements and the needs of the apprentices,” said S9 Technologies CEO, Tamer Alamad.
The apprenticeships are delivered both at the university itself and in the workplace. This is supported by a blend of online learning services to hone the student’s knowledge, skills and behaviour.
This work-based focus translates into the assessment style too.
As an approved assessment organisation, all apprentices gain professionally recognised accreditations which will equip them in their future career.
To gain this, the employee’s learning is assessed in a variety of ways throughout the course. While this varies depending on the subject area, the employer is always deeply involved with the assessment of acquired knowledge to ensure it fits with their business needs.
Apprentices also complete a work-based project and final presentation. As the project is centred around a current issue in the company, the employer is already seeing the benefits of the course, even before graduation.
It’s a win-win for the employee too as they get to earn while they learn, removing the financial and time constraints often associated with professional development courses.
If apprenticeships aren’t the right fit, companies can also partner with UWL through their short courses and continuing professional development.
They offer a range of career-oriented short courses for individuals and businesses to improve employability and competitiveness.
Areas include, training and continuing professional development for skills and career development; personal learning for continuing education whatever your age or interests; and for those busy people with little time to spare, intensive study summer schools for professionals.
Spending this money on current employees has been shown time and again to be widely beneficial to a company, offering fantastic return on investment.
Not only does it plug the skills gap by utilising resources already at a company’s disposal, it also reduces staff turnover and leads to a happier, more productive workforce.
Employees want upskilling opportunities. More than ever, people in the workforce – especially millennials – want to progress in their careers, want to add value to a company, and are craving the opportunity to improve their skillset. They, more than anyone, understand the shifting jobs market and the need to stay ahead of the curve.
When employees aren’t offered these chances, they commonly end up feeling trapped and bored, pushing them out the door to a company that offers brighter prospects.
A 2016 Udemy Workplace Boredom Study found 43 percent of US office workers are bored, and bored workers are twice as likely to leave their job. The good news is there’s an easy fix as 80 percent feel learning new skills would make them more engaged.
So, the answer seems simple. If business leaders want to retain quality employees, boost company productivity, and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to industry advancements, tailored apprenticeships from a university are a good place to start – and there’s no place better than UWL.