Over 75% of the 2020 Workforce is already in todays Workforce
Analytical Services NIs working age population is less well qualified than most other UK regions … But the dynamic innovative economy that the NI Executive wishes to create will require more and higher skills
Analytical Services …And many do not train because they believe they already have the necessary skills The vast majority of employers (91%) say that their staff already possess the required skills (Skills Monitoring Survey, 2005). Nearly 90% of NI employees who did not undertake training said the lack of training would not harm them in keeping up with changes in their job (Skills at Work in Northern Ireland, 2006)
Analytical Services A Policy Conundrum? Upskilling todays workforce is important if we are to achieve our skills ambitions But job related training in Northern Ireland is low And large proportions of NI employees and employers do not report a requirement for upskilling Hence need for evidence… How best to engage the workforce in skills enhancement? What types of engagement are most effective? What are the benefits of workplace learning?
Adult learning in the workplace: enhancing skills for life? Karen Evans
Individual data Initial test and interview Follow-up test and interview Final test and interview Interviews with tutors N=567 in initial sample Plus more detailed in- depth interviews with a sub-sample of learners, and their managers and tutors
Workplace data Interviews with training managers Follow-up interviews with training managers Interviews with line managers
ESOL learners are heavily represented in the sample Basic skill workplace learners in sample are 35% ESOL Current UK employed workforce is 3% ESOL
Highest qualification obtained (%) LearnersNon-ESOL learnersUK working age population, 2001 None464427 Level 1111612 Level 2182316 Level 1 or 2 (includes those where unclear which) 3648 Level 311616 Level 462 29 Level 510 NB: numbers in column 1 do not sum to 100
Understanding people and environments workplace courses can both improve skills and change peoples approach to learning; but current policy design is highly inefficient. It is at odds with the needs of mature, self- aware learners, and with the workplace environment.
Enterprises own efforts Workplace courses successfully reach adults who do not participate in other formal learning, but fail to create any lasting infrastructure when delivered through outside initiatives. Support for workplace learning should encourage and complement enterprises own efforts. Learning programmes initiated by and within workplaces are the ones that survive long-term.
Reasons for facilitating training: possible reasons offered to managers Improve job skills Improve soft skills Offer general development to staff Increase staff morale Reduce number of errors at the workplace Reduce absenteeism Reduce staff turnover Improve health and safety Increase staff confidence Help staff to be receptive to change Other
Motivations and benefits…. Both the participants in workplace literacy courses and their organisational sponsors are motivated by a wider range of factors than the wish to improve performance at work. The most marked benefits for individuals and organisations are in personal and/or work satisfaction.
Correlates of progress Non- ESOL – programmes leading to qualification Non-ESOL – already qualified to levels 1 and 2 (lower at level 3 and unqualified) All cases (ESOL and non-ESOL) – positively associated with job change
Most important expected and actual benefits from the course
Outcomes of course (item by item basis) Increased confidence at work66% Developed new skills61% Increased confidence outside work59% Met new people58% Affected how current job is done*45% Helped with use of computers outside work33% Helped with use of computers at work27% Made work more interesting25% Increased chances for promotion11% Increased chances of a better job10% Helped earn more money2% * 40% elaborated: all reported positive impact Whether or not a course increased confidence at work was highly (and positively) related to whether a learner also thought it had helped them to do their current job better/had affected how they did the job.
Changing track… Adults who participate in workplace courses are somewhat more likely than their peers to continue with formal learning in later years. Workplace learning has the potential to change individuals learning trajectories and encourage them to rethink their ambitions and capabilities
Participation In Further Learning (%) Learners All Learners excluding involuntary LFS sample Non-ESOL44.551.937.5 ESOL45.8n/a33.7
Confidence - building People with low confidence in their own ability to learn will need extra encouragement or incentives. Once involved in formal learning, they progress as fast as other learners. Adults who are confident about their ability to learn are also much more confident that they will gain from workplace courses.
Too few hours….? Workplace literacy courses produce very small average gains in performance, but participants average performance continues to improve over a two year post- instruction period. Current policies are inefficient, as courses are too short to have much impact. But they may stimulate learners to use their skills more, and so continue improving.
Use it or lose it…. Whether the job itself facilitates the learning and use of literacy skills in the workplace appears to influence whether people increase their proficiency or lose ground. Adults who actively use literacy in their day to day lives in the workplace and beyond it are the ones who will continue to improve.
The relationship between job change and change in reading score was positive: learners whose jobs changed showed a 5 or 6 point larger improvement in reading scores between first and second tests. This is consistent with these learners utilising their new skills at work. Indeed this was strongly supported by the qualitative research.
Implications? Citizens entitlements – best achieved through or beyond the workplace? Connecting courses with use of skills on- job and beyond-the-job: evidence of effective practices in Taylor and Evans 2009* Organisational dynamics – the challenges for brokerage…: (Journal of Adult and Continuing Education)
Further insights From Improving Workplace Learning (Evans, Hodkinson,Rainbird Unwin 2006, Routledge)
Three dimensions of workplace learning consistently identified as significant: Workplaces can be characterized as more expansive or restrictive as learning environments. Richer learning generally found where environments support skills utilization and development. Regulation of the employment relationship and Government initiatives have significant impact on opportunities for, and nature of, workplace learning Dispositions and tacit skills of employees influence the nature of the working environment and the ways in which workers react to and interact with that environment
Regulatory framework Workers dispositions The learning workplace Expansive learning environments Understanding the learning workplace is central to analysing incentives and barriers
Types of Informal Learning 1)Observing from Knowledgeables 2)Practising without Supervision 3)Searching Independently for Information 4)Focused Workplace Discussions 5)Mentoring and Coaching
Workplace Informal Learning Process 1)Trigger events – company ethos of quality performance; safety concerns 2)Attitudes about lifelong learning- curiosity, creativity, imagination 3)Inner recognition – personal and work benefits Informal learning not motivated for monetary rewards or up-ward mobility spurred on by a need for the challenge or a variety in the everyday work routine
From Putting Knowledge to Work, Evans, Guile and Harris 2009 : Can a shared focus on putting knowledge to work better bring together employer, employee and provider interests?