The latest learning news and research compiled by TJ’s editorial team
Priorities for workplace learning at Connect conference
The Learning Network Connect conference this year focused on the future of L&D, with speakers including Steve Wheeler and TJ blogger Michelle Parry-Slater. Sessions included AI, VR, sustainability and accessibility in training design.
Employee engagement in organisations stagnates
64% of UK HR professionals admit that employee engagement levels at their organisations have either remained stagnant or worsened over the past 12 months, with just 36% saying that employee engagement has improved. These are the findings from WorkBuzz’s State of Employee Engagement Report 2023/24 which is based on insights from over 400 UK HR professionals.
“After much progress since the pandemic, there’s been a worrying backwards step in terms of employee engagement and active listening over the past 12 months”, says Steven Frost, CEO of employee engagement specialist, WorkBuzz. “Against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis, organisations are focusing on shorter term and ‘harder’ business outcomes like retention, performance and productivity. Plus, organisations seem to be listening to their employees less frequently. This is counterintuitive of course, because when employees feel listened to, they are more likely to stay in their jobs for longer and be high performing.”
To read the full ‘The State of Employee Engagement 2023/24’ report, download it here.
Amazon delivers on AI skills development
Amazon and Access Partnership released a new study which finds that:
- 92% of organizations plan to use AI-powered solutions by 2028
- Workers who acquire AI expertise could earn up to 47% more
- The demand for AI talent will continue to be strong, with three in four (75%) employers reporting they can’t find the talent they need
To help meet these needs, Amazon announced “AI Ready” a new initiative to provide free AI skills training and education to two million people by 2025, including providing more than 50,000 underserved and underrepresented high school and university students globally the opportunity to learn foundational generative AI concepts and guide them through a hands-on project with access to a new generative AI course on Udacity.
Read the new study Accelerating AI Skills: Preparing the workforce for jobs of the future.
Winning at emotional challenges with VR
Helping trainee Health Care Assistants to prepare for the emotional challenges they will face in their roles was the focus of an award winning virtual reality learning environment.
The Learning Technologies silver winner in the ‘best use of simulations or virtual environments for learning’ category was praised for: “Beautiful and emotionally impactful piece on an important topic. The judges particularly liked the exploration of the emotional demands on healthcare workers, such as fear and grief, to help them understand the intensity of the role, instead of just the skills required. The amount of end user-testing to ensure the aims and outcomes of the app were met, was admirable. This, along with the great reduction in costs and good use of technology made this a worthy runner-up.”
The VR experience created for Telford College by Inizio Engage XD drew on their in-house learning strategy, UX and behavioural science expertise and understanding of immersive technology to ensure the final learning experience would resonate around the emotional challenge healthcare workers face. This included feeling overwhelmed, suffering abuse from patients, dealing with dementia, or seeing a patient pass away for the first time. Often, VR is used to learn practical skills, while this experience focused on preparing trainees for the emotional impact of working in healthcare.
Powering business with people
Putting employees first has won the UK’s biggest electricity distributor two top accolades. UK Power Networks is in the top five per cent globally to be awarded Investors in People’s Platinum status and won the Award for Leadership and Management at Investors in People’s annual business and HR awards.
The firm was first awarded the Platinum Investors in People in 2020 when it achieved prestigious recognition for how it supports and manages employees. When it was reaccredited this year, the company’s score rose to 735 out of 900 from 694 previously, an increase of 4.5% and over 10% improvement since 2017.
The company, which delivers power to 8.5 million homes and businesses across the East of England, London and South East, has around 5,500 employees including major offices in London, Crawley, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Maidstone, and Borehamwood.
Investors in People is an internationally recognised standard awarded to companies that put their employees first and focus on people management, employee development, engagement, and performance. It highlights organisations that go above and beyond to create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
£17 million to boost skills and diversity in AI jobs
Up to £17 million in government funding will create more scholarships for AI and data science conversion courses, helping young people from groups underrepresented in the tech industry including women, black people, and people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds join the UK’s world-leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry.
The government is encouraging companies to play their part in creating a future pipeline of AI talent by co-funding the AI scholarships for the conversion courses. Industry support for these scholarships will help get more people into the AI and data science job market quicker and strengthen UK their businesses.