VocTech Specialist - Case Studies Part 1
Tuesday 5th March 2019
We hear much about how digital tech is changing the nature of work – how many jobs are ‘disappearing’ and people’s livelihoods are increasingly at risk. The fear that new technology will destroy jobs is not new, but whatever we think about the likely outcomes of the 4th Industrial Revolution, there is no doubt about the speed and magnitude of the change underway.
This creates real challenges for individuals and organisations faced with trying to adapt to the changes. This challenge is even greater where those individuals and organisations, industries and communities already encounter particular difficulties and where the current markets for vocational learning do not adequately bridge the gaps between the skills people have and the skills needed by employers.
We believe that digital technology can also provide solutions to these challenges.
Our VocTech Specialist Call is designed to support projects seeking to respond to circumstances where employers and individuals need to think very differently about the skills they need to survive in a changing landscape of work – and how those skills are to be acquired.
There are complex and dynamic reasons behind the mismatch between the needs of employers and the skills the workforce has to offer. As well as short-term changes arising from factors such as increased regulation and technology roll-out, there are long standing difficulties. Some businesses and sectors are struggling to take advantage of new markets and opportunities arising from technological change and individuals are stuck in persistent cycles of low skills/low pay.
Skills mismatches may also have a greater impact on some groups of individuals, for example those who have difficulties in accessing existing work or training opportunities due to distance, past learning, financial disadvantage, poor English language skills, or disability. This means that their skills and potential are not available to employers who are struggling to fill vacancies.
Finding solutions to these challenges is complex too.
We thought it might be useful to describe some of the ways in which Ufi projects are looking at these problems and addressing the sorts of issues we’d like to see projects looking at in our VocTech Specialist Call.
We offer these as examples of the scope and type of challenge. As the Discovery Phase is new for Ufi, the case studies below don't include that element. We hope they provide inspiration for you to come up with your own ideas to meet our criteria for funding.
We are looking for projects which support individuals to upskill and prepare for the kind of jobs they never thought they could do – or didn’t even know existed!
Case Study 1: Skills Live
In the rail sector, digital skills play an ever-increasing role in the jobs that companies are trying to fill. Yet many young people starting out in their careers are unaware of this. They have never thought to look for opportunities in the rail industry and have no idea how to access them. Skills Live, from the National Skills Academy for Rail, is responding to this challenge by providing high quality, interactive video content on new job roles in the sector, using volunteers from within the workforce to explain how digital skills are used in their jobs. Job Centre Work Coaches will use these resources to explore options with their clients. Young people can also access the videos in their own time via their own mobile devices. Learners who demonstrate an appetite for specific skills, aligned with new apprenticeship standards, are guided to job roles that they might not have previously considered or known about.
It's important for the VocTech Specialist call that there is a focus on the needs of employers in any proposal, preferably with employer engagement in the discovery and delivery of projects.
Case Study 2: BHA Game-Based Learning*
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) developed a proof of concept product in the form of a mobile game on cross-contamination in catering industry kitchens. The project aimed to test the appetite of BHA’s small business members to use digital learning and to test the effectiveness of using mobile game-based learning for a young adult audience. Available on Apple and Android, the game was both realistic and fun – failure to wash your hands gets a you a real telling off from the chef!
It is important that employers are engaged in any projects proposed for the VocTech Specialist Call so that opportunities for work follow on from the learning and development.
Cost is not the only barrier to learning for work. Learners may live/work far from learning opportunities, employers and employees might lack a culture which encourages learning, or lack information, and age or past learning record can be an issue too. Many factors contribute to the gaps between learners, employers and training and development opportunities - we think digital solutions can bridge these gaps.
(*In 2018 the BHA merged with ALMR to create UKHospitality)
Case Study 3: How Do I?
This project aims to make the workplace more accessible to differently-abled people by improving the delivery of vocational learning through workplace-based video, mobile and micro-learning. How Do I? is developing a platform for employers to create instructional video content and are combining this with an app to enable ‘just in time’ workplace learning off mobile devices. The videos will be triggered by NFC (contactless) sticker placed in relevant points around the workplace to enable learners to access the learning content they need – when they need it. They can reuse the content as many times as they need too, at their own pace.
Projects that articulate employer needs to up-skill, re-skill or provide continuing learning for employees in innovative ways would fit well with the VocTech Specialist call.
We hope these case studies help you to better understand what we are looking for with VocTech Specialist and allow you to decide if you should apply - but most importantly we hope it gets you thinking about how technology can have a positive impact on both the employer, and the the employee.
In Thursday's blog we will be showcasing four more case studies of project that would have provided a good model for the requirements of VocTech Specialist.
To support our application process we will be hosting two workshops where you can learn more about the fund, meet the team, and have a one-to-one about your project.
Birmingham - Tuesday 12th March 1:30pm
London - 21st March 9:30am