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UK Businesses Failing to Provide Staff With the Training They Need

LONDON, December 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

  • 60% of UK workers require key workplace skills but just 25% receive training 
  • By contrast, 80% felt well prepared for work after leaving university, with 58% feeling confident after leaving school

Latest research from Opinium on behalf of online training specialists, Filtered, has revealed that universities and schools are thought to be doing a better job of preparing UK employees for the world of work than businesses themselves.  In a survey of over 2,000 adults in employment across the UK, only 25% of workers stated they have received training on the skills they need, despite 60% claiming that they needed key workplace skills in order to perform in their jobs successfully. By contrast, the survey revealed that most people (80%) felt confident in their preparedness for work following University, and 58% after leaving school.

Of most importance to UK workers were skills such as self-management (time management, planning, organization and self-motivation); attention to detail; problem solving and creativity; and literacy. However, on average just 25% of those same people had ever received training from their employers in these areas and 41% not having received any form of training for work from their employers at all. In addition, 85% of people surveyed stated that there is no compulsory training offered by their place of work.

In a clear call to action, Filtered today joins the likes of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) in calling on businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in the UK to invest in workforce training. Echoing results from reports by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the BCC earlier this year, Filtered's report provides another stark warning that without proper investment the skills shortage in the UK is a major barrier to growth. Whereas reports from the FSB and BCC surveyed specific member businesses on training, the report from Filtered provides a new viewpoint - one from the workers themselves across a range of UK businesses. In June 2014, the FSB reported that almost one third (29.9%) of the companies surveyed reported that skills shortages are hampering growth. While, in November 2014, the BCC found that the majority of businesses strongly agreed (78%) that training is worthy of investment to improve performance and drive growth. The link between training and skills, and skills and economic growth is clear. 

The survey findings released today also show a relationship between training provision and company size. Unsurprisingly, some of the biggest corporate culprits are small businesses (with a workforce of less than 50) where only 20% of the workforce is receiving the right training. This contrasts with findings for medium-sized firms (50-1,000 staff) in which twice as many (40%) of staff receive training. This difference may be explained by smaller and zero training budgets at small firms. However, Filtered's research also found that workers in large enterprises (over 1,000 people) also fell short with only 20% of the workforce receiving training. It may be that some staff are getting 'lost' in larger firms, explaining this dip.

The survey goes on to probe the explanations for and solutions to this lack of training. The biggest reason given by learners for non-training is a lack of time, with two in five (40%) of respondents of stating they were discouraged from taking part in training due to time pressures at work. 31% cited the intrinsically related reason - cost - as a major inhibitor of training. These statistics echo results from the BCC's recent report which found that the main barriers to training investment are cost (50%) and an ability to free up staff for training (31%). Yet the desire from workers to train is clear with over half of those surveyed (51%) saying they would be motivated to invest time in training to make their current role easier.

Marc Zao-Sanders, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Filtered comments, "Research shows that there is a clear link from workplace behaviour through to economic prosperity. Not training the workforce adequately or appropriately leads to skills gaps which reduce profitability of the businesses, which in turn stifles economic growth. Our research says that at the start of this causal chain, it's a lack of worker time which is responsible for the lack of training. It's therefore vital that businesses find time - and cost-effective ways of providing the right training for their staff. Technology and personalization of learning materials are almost certainly going to be a big part of the solution to this important problem."

Notes to Editors

Filtered is an online education platform that maximizes the impact of business training by carefully selecting the content most valuable to each user. It personalizes learning material from the outset, closing the gap between users' current skills and knowledge and where they need to be to make the greatest impact professionally. By asking self-assessment, aspiration and competency-based questions about the extent of current knowledge and the way users expect to use the training at work, the platform's algorithm filters out anything a user already knows is or unlikely to use. This creates a bespoke syllabus so that users are presented with just what they need to learn. A recent study[1] has demonstrated that even a simple filtering of topic syllabus according to each trainee's need to learn results in a 26% increase in the impact of training. The adaptive algorithm self-improves, using data and feedback from each learner's course experience to enhance syllabus selection. 

In its first 18 months the platform has helped over 10,000 people master new skills across a range of sectors including accounting and finance, consultancy, retail, transport and logistics, engineering, manufacturing, education, farming, charity and healthcare. Users range from individuals looking to develop personally and professionally to graduates seeking to bridge the gap between academia and work, and small, medium and large businesses looking for effective and scalable training solutions for their workforce. Corporate clients include New Look, Regus, Grant Thornton, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The company commissioned Opinium in October 2014 to survey 2,000 UK adults aged over 18 in employment.



1. Source: An analysis of 3000 real-word Microsoft Excel training users, conducted in August 2014.  The study compared student performance in tests before and after training, and found users training using selected material improved their test performance by 26% more than users training using unselected material.

SOURCE Filtered

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