Did you know that UoP currently has over 100 short courses open to individuals to support their learning and development journeys at work? – even more, if you include the courses that support wider, lifelong learning skills development. In addition, many programmes are developed and delivered every year for specific individual organisations, bespoke to their needs and requirements.

As the national Learning at Work Week approaches its 19th year, we should recognise how much, as a University, we are doing to support individuals with pathways to higher level skills, and in supporting businesses and organisations to raise productivity of their workforce for current and future demands. Alongside this, we can consider what new opportunities could be developed to grow this valuable area of our work.

learning at work week

‘Continuous learning lies at the heart of thriving in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The skills required for most jobs are evolving rapidly but our adult education and training systems are lagging behind. While 35% of the skills demanded for jobs across industries will change by 2020, at least 1 in 4 workers in OECD countries is already reporting a skills mismatch with regards to the skills demanded by their current jobs.’  Accelerating Workforce Reskilling for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – White Paper – World Economic Forum July 2017

Delivery of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and short courses to external stakeholders has been taking place across the University for many years. The (suitably-named) Learning at Work department in the Faculty of Technology, has been offering a programme of short courses for property professionals for more than 30 years, now with over 30 short courses delivered to over 800 professionals annually. By contrast, we have new courses being developed and delivered for the first time – the Department of Sport and Exercise Science have launched 11 new credit bearing and non-credit bearing short courses over the last few months, including a suite of courses for practitioners to understand how to create rehabilitation exercise programmes for specific illnesses, and in the School of Art and Design, a 12 week short course in drawing has recently been delivered, generating 78% surplus. BaL offer a varied programme to support both SMEs and large organisations to upskill leaders, managers and Board members, while the School of Education and Childhood Studies are currently delivering the Further Forces programme which trains service personnel preparing to leave, or have recently left, to become FE trainers/teachers.

‘For businesses to capitalize on new opportunities, they will need to put talent development and future workforce strategy front and centre to their growth. Firms can no longer be passive consumers of ready-made human capital.’  The Future of Jobs – Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – World Economic Forum – January 2016

More Routes Needed!

Despite the exciting developments that have taken place over the last few years with regards CPD programmes, we believe there is still so much more we could be doing. The World Economic Forum list the Top 10 Skills that are going to be required in 2020 – can we support skills development in these areas, through the short courses we currently offer or could develop?

Top 10 Skills

in 2020 in 2015
1.       Complex problem solving 1.   Complex problem solving
2.       Critical thinking 2.   Coordinating with others
3.       Creativity 3.   People management
4.       People management 4.   Critical thinking
5.       Coordinating with others 5.   Negotiation
6.       Emotional intelligence 6.   Quality control
7.       Judgment and decision making 7.   Service orientation
8.       Service orientation 8.   Judgment and decision making
9.       Negotiation 9.   Active listening
10.   Cognitive flexibility 10. Creativity

Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum, 2016

The University Strategy 2015-2020 recognises the part that CPD and Short courses have to play in talent and personal development:

 ‘We will: significantly expand and extend our range of innovative high-quality, flexible provision, including postgraduate taught, part-time, distance learning and distinctive CPD provision, that delivers real value for learners and employers.’

 We are providing opportunities for individuals and employees to progress from short, perhaps non-credit bearing courses, to access credit bearing programmes, and build up their credit, over time, to gain a full award. But we need more routes! We want more courses, from across the university, to support a wider range of pathways, in order to meet the needs of an extremely diverse market.  Opportunities could be:

  • To explore content in our core courses, and select individual units from these to be delivered ‘stand-alone’,
  • To maximise our existing resource and enable individuals to join specific units at the same time as our UG/PG market
  • To develop bespoke courses, in line with individual business/organisational/market needs

There are many examples of best practice across our organisation – if you want to find out more about what your colleagues are doing, or need guidance or support in setting up CPD programmes or short courses, please contact:

Lisa Rhodes – Director of CPD    lisa.rhodes@port.ac.uk