Employers including McDonald's and Telefonica O2 have spoken out of the importance of helping staff attain qualifications, to mark Adult Learners Week (14-18 May).
Jez Langhorn (pictured), VP, people, McDonald's UK, told HR: "I would encourage all businesses, both big and small, to think about how they can boost their employees' skills and widen their career opportunities. As we've seen from our own experience, business can play a significant role in boosting social mobility in the UK. That's a prize worth chasing after, and a compelling reason to embrace the spirit of Adult Learners' Week and embed learning in the workplace, no matter what size your organisation is or which sector you operate in. "
Over 13,800 nationally recognised qualifications have been awarded to adult learners at McDonald's since it started awarding qualifications in 2006
Langhorn added: "Adult Learners' Week celebrates and recognises the importance of giving people opportunities to achieve qualifications, such as basic level maths and English, later in life.
"Employees of all ages at McDonald's have the chance to study towards nationally-recognised qualifications while they work. Our people value the chance to gain transferable skills, experience and a recognised qualification that will help them develop in their careers, no matter where they work. They can also share their improved confidence and skills outside of work, whether it's by adding a qualification to their CV, or feeling more confident to help their children with their homework or read them a bedtime story."
Also championing the importance of adult learning, Ann Pickering, HR director for Telefónica, said: "In times of economic turbulence, it is vitally important that employers invest in their people. Central to this is the provision of tailored and meaningful learning and development opportunities.
"At O2, we believe that our brand is built on the internal experience of our employees. Our business is not only dependent on the quality of our products and services, but on our customers interactions with us. Our people are our business and our biggest asset.
"That's why we offer a wide range of different initiatives to support learning and development. This includes training via our online portal, the 'Learning Zone,' training academies to allow employees to develop their skills and the Learning Fund, our scheme to match employees' contributions to an activity of their choice. Throughout all of these initiatives, we strive to make learning and development as easy as possible to help our people develop and grow.
"During Adult Learners' Week, it is a great opportunity to remember that you are never too old to learn new skills or improve those you already have. Learning is a life-long pleasure to be embraced by all, and employers have a large part to play in making this a reality."
There are more than 100 people working in learning and development at O2. The department looks after all aspects of learning and development, including leadership development, store manager training and technical skills.
All employees have access to the 'Learning Zone' - an online portal which offers access to training facilities. The portal is tailored for different parts of the business, making sure that the courses on offer are suitable for individual employees.
During Adult Learners' Week, O2 will be holding events at each of the five main sites across the business to help its employees find out more about the learning and development opportunities on offer.
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