Research by Cambridge Network's Learning Collaboration underlines the desire of local employees to concentrate on personal development during the pandemic. In response, employer companies are placing learning programmes and workplace health at the top of the agenda.
Why training is helping Cambridge employees to thrive in lockdown
Sarah Gleadell, head of the Learning Collaboration, says: "Our recent survey of Cambridge Network members showed that 75% of company employees want to work on their personal development, and employers are approaching us to help them create long-term training programmes to support their employees' ambitions.
"In conjunction with relevant people from our cohort of expert trainers, we are working with companies to structure bespoke two- to five-year programmes that cover a range of topics, from soft skills to management change training. Significantly, this is not about change management – it's about resetting how you think. My conversations with HR teams in companies have been overwhelmingly positive, so instead of merely surviving lockdown, we prefer to talk about thriving in lockdown."
Sarah says that the Learning Collaboration's rapid shift from face-to-face to online training, prompted by the first lockdown in March last year and continuing now, has had little or no effect on people's attitudes.
"In fact, going virtual has actually been an advantage for some of our members because with no travel involved, it is easier for global teams in different time zones to share training. In some cases, our trainers have been working out of hours to ensure that overseas teams can benefit from the same courses.
"For one multi-national, we are trialling a management development scheme in Europe before rolling it out to all 7000 employees across the world. We are using three different trainers to deliver a five-year plan, and at the end of that time we will have delivered training and support to every employee – from a 16-year-old starter to the CEO."
She says that courses presented virtually also often appeal more to introverts or people who might struggle to deal with a classroom setting: "For these people, online training is a more effective and rewarding process."
Her team has found that the focus for employers is very much on training existing employees, both for upskilling and to help enhance their career prospects.
"Retention of talent, especially in this region, is a real issue," she adds. "Companies are keen to hold on to good people, and if they are scaling up, they want their people to grow and develop with them."
Did you know that every level of Cambridge Network membership means you automatically have the right to book on to any of the Network's quality Learning Collaboration courses at any time? A wide spectrum of soft skills, technical and leadership development courses are on offer throughout the year, so sign up now to build your capabilities.
The Learning Collaboration works on behalf of Cambridge Network members to organise, purchase and share training and management development opportunities. That means all members benefit from economies of scale, gaining improved access to high quality professional training courses at value-for-money prices.
Cambridge Network's Learning Collaboration works on behalf of local employers to organise training and management development for their staff. Set up by the Network in conjunction with local HR Directors, our aim is to provide all Cambridge Network members and organisations with improved access to high quality, shared training courses at value-for-money prices.