Learning – the next big business opportunity for UK PLC

by | Jul 31, 2013 | Articles

In the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Industry strategy, it recognises that there are a number of industry sectors where government action can have a real and early impact – and education is one of them. 

On the 29th of July, BIS published International Education: Global Growth and Prosperity. This is the tenth sector strategy published in the Government’s Industrial Strategy programme.

Globally, education is the second largest sector after healthcare. As billions of people around the world invest in skills and training, there are few sectors of the UK economy with the capacity to grow and generate earnings as impressive as education. BIS has identified that in order to realise these opportunities:

‘We must build on the UK’s strengths in higher and further education, in our schools overseas, through our educational technology and products and services, and in delivering English language training. If we can do this, we will grow both our economy and our wider links with partners around the world. The strategy sets out an ambitious plan for us to do that’

We welcome this initiative by BIS for a number of reasons because it creates an opportunity to combine the UK’s brand for exceptional educational offerings with our reputation for innovation and ideas generation.

Laura Overton from Towards Maturity was involved in the initial consultation process and we certainly welcome this report and the focus on the opportunity that we know exists.

The emphasis on new media for learning as one of the 5 potential areas for growth shows that the report recognises that delivery is changing and that the UK should be at the forefront.

However, we believe that to deliver the vision of becoming a global leader, we need to provide the opportunity to innovate our learning solutions, not just automate the processes of the past. We also need to have a firm grasp about what value really looks like to our customers both at home and abroad.

Adding bottom line value for our customers

The BIS report is very clear about value add from an education perspective, but from an employer’s point of view value has to be defined, not just in terms of numbers being trained (the MOOC route) or the quantity of qualifications (albeit from the best brands in the market). Value from an employer’s perspective means:

  • How much faster can I implement change in my business?
  • How can I improve bottom line performance
  • How can I engage staff and customers more effectively
  • and more!

If Educational establishments (and L&D teams for that matter) are able to articulate how they can help businesses around the globe address these critical issues – the money and commitment will follow!

And we know from our own studies that new learning media, applied innovatively and creatively to real business problems are starting to deliver. In 2012 we analysed input from 700 organisations to provide the most in-depth research on the impact of learning technologies in the workplace. It showed that the average company was able to roll out new products, services and IT systems over 20% faster. It also highlights average companies were achieving a 23% improvement in study time, 24% faster delivery time, 22% reduction in cost of training, 26% improvement in learning reach and 16% improvement in time to competency.

Education and learning can indeed mean big business for UK PLC! But we need to start to talk about real value that matters to our customers if we are to exploit the opportunity and deliver to the bottom line of UK PLC!

Follow progress of this strategy on Twitter:

  • @bisgovuk
  • @bispressoffice
  • #Indstrat.

Infographic summarising the UK’s Education Industry Opportunity:

Please click for further details.

 

 

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