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Can e-Learning close the skills gap?

The corporate training sector is changing, with learners and employers setting new expectations of what they should receive through training. And businesses need to adapt.

Technology is helping to build learning programmes that are accessible and fun, while ensuring learners engage with and understand what they are studying. One example of this is training and apprenticeships provider Babington Group, which is harnessing feedback from learners to deliver continued improvements to their products and the learning experience.

Blended learning

There has been a big change in what both learners and employers expect to receive through training. Providers are now replacing traditional ‘chalk and talk’ methods – teaching learners in the classroom – with a blended approach that makes use of a range of technologies to help students learn at their own speed, and in a way that best suits them.

Tech helping training to deliver

Desktop, laptop and tablets are popular ways of delivering training, but smartphones are an increasingly important tool. To stay ahead of the game, best-practice training providers need to keep pace and evolve applications of technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality to revolutionise learning.

Trainers are also employing technology to collect data to measure the progress of students, with regular further assessments to establish how learners are putting their learning into practice and developing skills, knowledge and behaviours.

The future for apprenticeships

Despite the 61% drop in apprenticeship numbers earlier this year, they will become more prevalent as an alternative, but equivalent, learning journey to university1. While employers are engaged with the changes to the levy and support them, they have been slow in converting that into apprenticeships. This is often a budgeting challenge for training providers.

“There has been criticism of the amount of paperwork involved with the apprenticeship process, whilst some employers are unhappy that Apprenticeship Levy-funding learning must include 20% off-the-job training. This is particularly a concern with SMEs, who would prefer apprentices to learn while they’re doing their job, with further training during the learner’s own time,” says Carole Carson, CEO of Babington Group.

Greater flexibility would present opportunities for training providers. However, increased competition and the need to invest in the technologies to engage both learners and employers could result in consolidation among training and consequently fewer providers supplying training on a more commercial footing.

Strategic partners

Competition for business available from apprenticeship levy-paying companies is growing. This has seen some training providers, such as Babington, enter into strategic partnerships to both strengthen their offering and give them access to potential markets.

There are huge opportunities to supply learners and employers with new types of learning that’s outside government funding – but only if we keep pace with the significant changes in the training sector. “We’re building partnerships with some universities, for example, which are becoming interested in apprenticeships. We act as a feeder to them and vice versa. We are also an independent advisor to the Collab Group, which is a collection of 36 colleges in UK. Other partners include the Chartered Management Institute and Grant Thornton,” says Carole.

Our skills in the new world report  [ 3966 kb ]looks at how the corporate training market is evolving and how eLearning is changing the learning landscape. To find out more information and to discuss how your business can keep pace with change in the corporate sector, please contact Victoria Giles or Keely Woodley.

We have partnered with Babington to deliver The Babington Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship. A professional accountancy programme that leads to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification.


1. Skills in the new world, Grant Thornton UK LLP, 2018 [ 3966 kb ]