Online learning could boost nation’s career prospects

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Skills shortages worsened by the pandemic could be addressed if employers support staff to undertake just one hour of online learning a week, says psychologist Honey Langcaster-James.

She recommended employers look at the The Department of Education’s An Hour to Skill campaign, which has been launched today (7 January).

The programme aims to boost the nation’s skills and job prospects with online learning by taking a free course from The Skills Toolkit.

Speaking to HR magazine, Langcaster-James said that encouraging staff development at this time could have a number of positive effects for the workforce.

“Suggesting employees take an online learning course conveys that you, as an employer, care and want your staff to continue to grow and develop, as well as help broaden and enhance the skillset of your workforce,” she said.

She added: “Encouraging employees to boost their skills by spending just one hour a week learning online could be a great way to inject a little motivation into your workforce.”


Further reading

Regions need more control over skills and employment

Fall in migrant workers could cause skills shortages

New ONS figures reveal large UK job losses during coronavirus pandemic

Upskilling and keeping staff engaged through COVID limbo


According to research by think tank DEMOS, people who undertake further online learning could also earn around £3,640 extra each year.

Approximately two thirds (29%) of the UK’s working population has used internet-based learning to help raise their pay.

Langcaster-James added: “Online courses aim to further develop skills that employers are looking for, such as communicating effectively at work and practical maths, as well as boosting digital skills or building a professional online presence.”

Google searches for online courses increased from an interest level of 26 to 100 between 8 March and 29 March 2020.

Langcaster-James said using online tools presents a relatively low-cost way to recognise employees’ continued motivation to learn and invest in their futures.

She added: “It can also be a great idea for team building to encourage your employees to do a course together, perhaps weekly, to support each others' growth and development.”


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