This year National Apprenticeship Week has taken on a new meaning for many organizations. The pandemic has seen many people re-evaluate what they want and upskilling has been a key talking point.
Additionally, as millions have left work permanently, companies have been faced with the daunting holes caused by skill gaps.
On the back of all this, learning and development (L&D) is at the forefront of many investments.
KX, a global leader in real-time data analytics, found that US and UK employees have a desire to improve their digital skills. In fact, of the 1,000 US students who were surveyed 75% say computer programming knowledge will lead to better job prospects and 66% to higher salaries.
The thoughts of these students are supported by the growing desire for digital and technical roles in both the UK and the US.
Daniel Baker, head of evangelism at KX, discussed the findings: “The ability to understand and apply data through code is not only an important life skill, but it’s also critical for future economies.
“Regardless of the language, coding offers many tangible benefits and builds transferable skills that develop a problem-solving mindset.
“We have a responsibility to build a sufficient pipeline in schools and universities, challenging governments, and education bodies to modernize curriculums and ensure career guidance aligns to industry need. Employers also need to adapt and build a culture of continuous learning.”
Despite a want for more digital skills, not being taught a computer programming language in schools is a barrier to 43% of students in the UK and 35% in the US.
This will likely change as companies look to train new hires themselves, and mold them for business needs. With this focus on digital training in mind, there are a number of ways to help new talent and apprentices to learn quickly when they arrive in your business.
Upskilling new hires
These tips can be applied broadly, but also can help with the development of technical employees with a few teaks.
Encourage and champion ‘learning in the flow’
Browning notes that when L&D programs like Slack and Microsoft Teams, there is an opportunity to integrate learning within the workday. Letting employees choose a time when they can learn will enable younger employees to develop on their watch.
To ease concerns about employees not working on tasks all the way through the working day, Browning points to The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z survey which found 27% of Gen Zs said they learned new work capabilities during their personal time.
As a result, Browning suggests that employers can give a little time to workers to help them reach new skills.
This time can easily be dedicated to learning new technologies or even be used as part of a more intensive technical course.
Show-off your resources
Implementing L&D resources is essential. On top of that, staff need to know what is available to them and how it can help their personal and professional development.
There are plenty of companies offering learning courses such as Degreed and Leapsome. It is key to let staff know what tools can be leveraged for an internal pathway. It is also key to encourage engagement, whether that is through reminders or discussions.
Offer short-form corporate learning content
Browning notes that learning doesn’t need to take up hours of business time: “In the last few years, we have seen social media explode, with TikTok and features such as Instagram Reels growing in popularity.
“These short-form style videos have taken how-tos and hacks to the next level by showing people all over the world how to up-level their interview skills or tips for dealing with burnout.”
In a world, where an answer can be delivered with the click of a button, employees are used to quick learning.
The practice of short-form videos can be particularly useful for generations who have been in tune with the digital world most of their lives.
Keep diversity at the top of the learning agenda
Having strong D,E&I initiatives can help attract the best talent. In fact, only 19% of Gen Zers would work for a company that did not share their values.
On top of that, Browning commented that “a holistic approach is vital, rather than viewing neurodiverse learners as an entirely separate category“.
Browning added: “A learner needs assessment can be helpful to support neurodiversity in digital learning to focus on the content areas most lacking or difficult to comprehend.”
Of course, assessing learners’ needs is only one part of the greater reviews that need to be had as L&D processes are advanced.
By doing this, you can develop talent to fill skill gaps and take your company forward.