Your biggest asset in 2021: skills and capability

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3 mins read


Steph Bright

2020 saw perhaps the biggest ever shift in our working environment.

Reliance on technology has rocketed and while its role in keeping organisations going is undeniable, it has come with its own challenge. Employee resilience and adaptability to deliver in this new virtual working context entered the spotlight as our greatest organisational asset.

Protecting the workforce became an essential strategy in the face of the pandemic, not just in terms of health, safety, and wellbeing, but also skills, talent, and growth. According to HubSpot, in 2020, 40% of businesses did not meet revenue targets. 

The reskilling revolution

Reskilling is nothing new; it had been on the agenda for many organisations pre-Covid-19 , particularly where there’s been an obvious and systemic shift in technology and digital skill needs to stay relevant, for example in the engineering space where large companies such as IBM and AT&T have focused attention on workforce reskilling to meet changing demands. In 2019 Amazon also announced Upskilling 2025, a 6- year programme to upskill around 10,000 employees with an investment of more than £500 million.  As organisations look to diversify as we exit out of the pandemic, they need quick and agile methods to upskill large workforces at pace – all within a limited budget.

Add a global pandemic to the existing shift in the skills landscape - meaning restricted learning delivery options such as developing skills virtually - and the extent of the reskilling challenge becomes even more complex. It has also placed much greater emphasis on upskilling the wider population with new incentives such as the Reskilling Revolution Platform launched by The World Economic Forum in January with the aim of reskilling one billion people in the next ten years. Platforms such as these are one way in which employees can prepare themselves for the transformational years to come. 

Skill demand through the pandemic

An analysis of data from Capita Learning’s Marketplace reveals that many organisations unsurprisingly continued to invest in workforce skills through the crisis, with volumes of all learning more than doubling between May and October, and demand nearly reaching their pre-Covid-19 peak by November. Despite the anticipated popularity of digital and data skills, leadership was the most in-demand area for skills investment, highlighting the increasing importance of so-called power skills in navigating organisations out of the crisis (and beyond).

In terms of training delivery, we saw a sharp increase in virtual classroom delivery, accounting for 90% of all courses purchased by our public sector clients (and 40% in the private sector) during the period September to November. Given the speed at which organisations had to transition to virtual, this in itself is no surprise, but does potentially highlight some of the limitations in e-learning such as longer development timeframes and may suggest organisations took the ‘lift and shift’ approach – which may not be the optimum solution longer-term. Revisiting and optimising blend strategy is likely to feature heavily on the agenda for learning functions in 2021.

We help organisations to implement their learning strategy through managed access to our extensive network of carefully curated content and delivery partners. We advise them on how to set up their learning ecosystem with the right data and analytics in place.

We have extensive experience of moving private and public sector organisations to managed learning services for the first time, some of which are still our partners nearly a decade later. These long-term relationships are built on the trust and consistent performance that are key to success in highly regulated environments.

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Written by

Steph Bright

Steph Bright

Service Designer, Capita Learning

Steph has a multi-disciplinary learning background having worked across various roles in learning production, customer success and video production for learning over the last 7 years. She has largely specialised in digital products and platforms and has a wide-breadth of learning market insight. Her current role involves defining and developing our Capita learning managed service proposition and designing client solutions.

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