In-Focus: The Work-Based Learning Dividend

by | May 11, 2017 | Featured, In-Focus Reports

Work-based learning offers organisations a unique opportunity to develop, nurture and grow a more qualified workforce who are aligned to their future strategy.

Employers in England are leading the way in the development of new apprenticeship standards that can offer significant benefits to both candidate and company, although many L&D leaders do not feel ready to maximise the dividend they can realise from the new system.

Commissioned by The Open University and authored by Towards Maturity, this report draws from survey data, interviews and focus groups with apprentices, their managers and people professionals gathered in spring 2017.

Introduction

The aim of this research is to stimulate new ways of thinking about learning innovation, delivering apprenticeships and the wider work-based learning agenda. Innovation in the use of technology – when paired with the voice of the learner themselves – can help us to redefine good practice.

Whilst the driver for this study at this particular time is the implementation of transformational UK government policy to increase the quantity and quality of apprenticeships, the findings have a wider relevance for those employers seeking to integrate formal learning into the workplace and maximise the value of their skills investment.

Work-based learning, exemplified by apprenticeships, is a long term talent investment that can pay out sustainable dividends:Organisations who focus on achieving a sustainable, high performing and healthy workforce understand the importance of identifying their talent risks and how smart investments in their talent pipeline can propel profit, productivity, growth and transformation. Future-focused talent pipelines should include a holistic and an external and internal analysis of the short, medium and long term talent landscape. Apprenticeships, aligned to the appropriate talent path, offer organisations a unique opportunity to develop, nurture and grow a more qualified workforce who are aligned to their future strategy.

  • Access to a broader and more diverse talent pool
  • Higher retention rates and levels of motivation
  • Social and economic advantages

Organisational leaders, people professionals and partners involved in work-based learning need a growth mindset as this arena can be complex, and at times frustrating and confusing due to the outdated perceptions of the apprentice persona, but the rewards can be significant if led and managed by knowledgeable, supported and tenacious individuals.

Change is already happening in the workplace, but many are slow to catch up when it comes to recognising the value of the work-based learning proposition. The new Apprenticeship Levy in the UK can be perceived as yet another tax on employment: the Apprenticeship Fund as a pot into which large employers will pay large sums of money that they can never hope to recover. In this In Focus report we want to challenge employers of all sizes to maximise the benefits from re-thinking how to leverage new models of work-based learning and share the resulting dividend.

The OU has an established reputation of bringing innovation to the education market and new apprenticeship standards provide an opportunity to integrate academic and work-based learning in new and exciting ways. Towards Maturity’s benchmark research with leaders in learning and development and with learners, focuses on delivering business impact and releasing individual potential through evidence to support learning innovation. Together, we want to challenge outdated thinking, stimulate change and initiate action.

What you’ll learn in this report:

  • Why work-based learning provides a great model for organisational development
  • The essential elements of good work-based learning design
  • How the changing landscape of apprenticeships is affecting L&D leaders and business decisions
  • The opportunities that need to be embraced in regards to work-based learning
  • How to support the self-directed learner and empower
  • How to improve learner journeys and maximise support
  • Proven strategies for integrating learning and work

 

By downloading this report, you confirm that you’re happy for your details to be passed to the report sponsor, The Open University, for the purposes of receiving information on relevant staff training solutions and services. If you do not wish for your details to be passed on, simply contact us for a copy of the PDF.

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Authors: Dr Genny Dixon and Jane Daly

Data sources for this report

  • A Learning Landscape Audit with over 300 apprentices, interns and trainees gathered between October 2016 and February 2017. The survey invited them to reflect on how and where they currently learn, and the factors that motivate – or restrict – their engagement with learning. These stats are highlighted in purple throughout.
  • Four focus groups held during February and March 2017 with C-suite executives, L&D leaders, apprenticeship providers and apprentices. Their insights are captured in the comment boxes in each chapter.
  • The Towards Maturity 2016 Benchmark™ research with over 600 L&D leaders, Unlocking Potential (towardsmaturity.org/2016benchmark). Unlocking Potential is free to download, thanks to the support of the Towards Maturity Ambassador programme. For more information, visit: www.towardsmaturity.org/ambassadors.
  • Data from the Towards Maturity Learning Landscape™ research, gathered online during 2016 from a sample of over 4,700 workers, The Learner Voice: Part 3 (towardsmaturity.org/learnervoice).

About the Benchmark

The Towards Maturity Benchmark Study is an internationally recognised longitudinal study on the effective implementation of learning innovation based on the input of 5,500+ participants and 35,000 learners gathered since 2003. Towards Maturity continuously surveys and studies how people learn at work and the impact this has on organisational performance. By turning data into insights and insights into action, this research is used to help L&D leaders assess and improve the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of their learning provision.

Get started with your own Benchmark

Our confidential Benchmark is free to utilise and takes 60 minutes to complete (just 20 minutes to update if you have completed it previously). Start your benchmark here.

Download this report

Create an account or sign in to download this report and get instant access to:

  • L&D Benchmark Reports
  • In-Focus Reports
  • Sector Reports
  • Case Studies
  • Free Resources

By downloading this report, you confirm that you’re happy for your details to be passed to the report sponsor, The Open University, for the purposes of receiving information on relevant staff training solutions and services. If you do not wish for your details to be passed on, simply contact us for a copy of the PDF.

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