Why HE and FE need to work more closely with businesses – FE News

The UK has a serious skills shortage. The Open University Business Barometer for 2021 found that two-thirds (63%) of companies struggle to recruit candidates with the right skills, and a quarter (24%) consider finding the right employees to be the biggest challenge facing their organization. This skills gap is proving very detrimental to the economy, with report by the Learning & Work Institute estimating it could risk an economic output of £120bn by 2030.

There are a number of reasons why the UK faces this skills gap; covid and Brexit are key contributors, but they are also driven by accelerating technology. The speed at which technology is advancing is impacting nearly every industry, and the necessary work experience and skills that employers seek are changing and expanding at an unprecedented rate. Gartner Research found that more than half (58%) of the workforce will need new skills to enable them to continue to do their job successfully, and identified that the skills listed in the average job posting of 2017 for IT, finance and sales are already outdated.

“More than half (58%) of the workforce will need new skills to enable them to continue to do their job successfully”

Higher and higher education options are struggling to keep up with the pace of change. What’s relevant in a course one year may be obsolete the next, and increasing numbers of students are leaving universities, adult education colleges and courses delivered by ill-equipped Independent Training Providers (ITPs) for the world of work.

The current situation is hurting both businesses and a generation of potential employees. Too few candidates entering the job market with the right skills means companies face longer and more expensive hiring processes. It is estimated to cost businesses on average £3,000 for each new hire, the time to find the “right” candidate taking 42 days. That’s a big chunk of money and time eating away at business bottom lines and that’s before you include the money and time spent on onboarding new hires.

We need to create a system where potential employees leave HE, FE and ITP courses with the necessary skills that employers are looking for. Thus boosting the employability of individuals and drastically reducing the cost for companies of hiring and training staff.

So how can HE and FE vendors better meet enterprise needs to solve this problem?

Involve business from the start

As Managing Director of iconoClass UK, I can see one of the things that sets our enterprise bootcamp apart from many other HE and FE providers is that we partner directly with brands and tech start-ups fast-growing companies looking to hire new talent. Our partner companies run hands-on training sessions with students, so candidates gain the exact skills these organizations are looking for, while organizations have the opportunity to identify new talent and make job offers to these students. .

Simon Proust, Head of Sales at SumUP, one of iconoClass’ partner companies, said:

The hands-on nature of the iconoClass program perfectly trains students for customer-facing sales roles. Our collaboration has become an integral part of our recruitment process. So much so that 50% of our workforce now comes from this bootcamp.”

Direct training with companies also offers students the opportunity to get a real taste of what it would be like to work for certain organizations, allowing them to make informed decisions about the companies and industries they choose. would like to work in the future. This in turn increases companies’ employee retention rates, as individuals are less likely to leave a new position if it is a job they already know they want.

To meet the needs of students and businesses, more emphasis needs to be placed on collaborations between colleges and higher education institutions and the private sector. Professionals in senior positions must be consulted on course curricula to ensure that what students learn will prepare them directly for the world of work, and higher education and higher education providers must do more to connect students to organizations looking to hire.

Bootcamps offer a quick fix

The urgent need to close the skills gap means companies need employees with the right experience now, not three years from now after they graduate. Even highly desirable sectors such as technology are struggling with a skills shortage that has reached a ‘highest of all time’. Demand exceeds supply in many industries; in 2021, there was more IT jobs advertised online than all UK businesses the previous year.

“Demand exceeds supply in many sectors; in 2021, there was more IT jobs advertised online than all UK companies in the previous year.

To help solve this problem, HE and FE need to offer courses that quickly train individuals in the skills that companies want. In my last article for FE News, I discussed the benefits of short courses that condense an intensive learning program into months rather than years. Not only are shorter courses better for students, who can improve their skills and enter the job market faster, but also for companies, who can hire recruits armed with new knowledge and experience for the job. .

The need for recruits with cutting-edge experience is one of the reasons we’ve seen an increase in bootcamps in recent years. Bootcamps allow students to quickly acquire practical know-how in a specific field by fully immersing themselves in an intensive course led by experts. These are particularly popular in the tech sphere in areas such as coding and data science, but their success has spread to other industries such as marketing and beauty.

Many tech companies are hiring straight from bootcamps with an analysis of the 24 best coding bootcamps revealing that 71.4% of students found industry jobs within 180 days. Additionally, research from 2021 shows that 6.03% of Big Five employees came from bootcamps. And many bootcamp providers – including iconoClass – are so confident in the quality of their training that they offer a job guarantee or money back.

“Many tech companies are hiring directly from bootcamps with an analysis of the 24 best coding bootcamps finding that 71.4% of students found a job in industry in 180 days.

Tailor-made business training

Bootcamps are great for those out of a job or looking to change careers, but the intensive nature of the courses means they’re not always suitable for candidates who are already in the job. Upskilling people already in the workplace is key to closing the skills gap, especially as 1 in 4 employees feel that they have not received the proper training to do their job well.

“Upskilling people already in the workplace is key to closing the skills gap, especially as 1 in 4 employees feel that they have not received the proper training to do their job well.

The responsibility for ensuring that staff are properly trained, of course, lies with individual organisations, but FE providers can help companies develop their staff by offering tailor-made training programs for companies in the skills that employees need. most needed. One of the barriers to staff training is that it usually requires employees to spend time away from the workplace, but there are training options that can improve the practical skills of on-the-job staff. This type of training should be a no-brainer for companies, as it gives employees the opportunity to really put their experience into practice and achieve results for their organization during their training.

Training providers can also enhance their business offering with customized courses that allow an entire team to be trained in specific skills at the same time. For teams that are struggling or failing to meet KPIs, training everyone at once can help identify and hone individual strengths and weaknesses and improve ways of working together, to push the performance of all the teams at the top level.

The skills gap in the UK is a major threat to the economy. UK businesses are struggling, along with people who want to find a job but lack the skills to get the job they want. It is important that education service providers play their part to help solve this crisis. Where education and business once operated almost entirely separately, we need to work more closely than ever and involve professionals in course creation and administration to ensure students come out ready for work and on the corporate radar. who are looking to recruit. Additionally, with the skills gap extending to those already in the workplace, we need to see more training providers offering tailored courses that meet the specific needs of an organization and upskill on-going staff. ‘use.

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