The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on jobs across the UK, affecting almost half of them at the present time as staff are placed on furlough and/or face redundancy. This has led to something like one in four employees taking on e-learning opportunities during the lockdown in order to boost their employability once it has eased.

It has been estimated that some five million job roles across the UK could change due to the fallout from the pandemic, with younger employees particularly keen to use the lockdown period to develop or polish new skills.

Evidence for this can been see with the Open University’s learning site, which has logged more than 950,000 course enrolments during the lockdown period, taking it well beyond the 3.25 million mark since its launch. It said that work-focused courses such as leadership and followership (the other side of the leadership coin) had proved particularly popular, alongside modules on professional skills, such as workplace communications.

For employers, the challenge is to develop our people for tomorrow’s economy, and both the speed and nature of the global lockdown has meant that the way in which we respond to this challenge has had to change significantly in respect of the learning and development market opportunities available to us.

As the strict definition of our ‘workday’ is changing, we are no longer limited to a certain number of hours that all employees share, and this means that more and more people may find it harder to find time to polish their current skills and learn new ones to develop themselves professionally.

The Trade Association Forum has long since recognised the importance of an accessible online training opportunity to complement the successful face to face training courses and seminars already offered to members, and took swift steps to react to the coronavirus lockdown, bringing forward the launch of a suite of courses for members at all levels within the organisation, whether they be furloughed or not.

This extensive suite of courses responds to the increased demand for online learning and it includes modules on wellbeing, time management, equality and Diversity, HR for Non-HR, GDPR and Cyber Essentials to name a few, along with a free Working from Home SME Toolkit in recognition that this subject may be particularly useful whilst adjusting to our new daily working routines.

To deliver this new service, TAF made the decision to partner with IMPROVE, which is headed up by Steve Walker, CEO and Founder, who has over 20 years’ experience in learning and development activities. IMPROVE have themselves seen a 250% increase in demand for their online courses.

Our routines will no doubt change once again in the near future, but one thing seems certain – the world of work will never be the same again. I am sure we will all be reviewing our overheads carefully and we will no doubt analyse how effective we have been as businesses throughout recent months. And if there is a strong business case for continuing our working from home approach, does this mean we can still continue offering an excellent service to our members whether we are in an office, at home or indeed out and about.

If you or your or any of your colleagues would like to make the most of professional development or building new skills whilst taking advantage of the benefits of online learning, you can visit the TAF online learning platform here.


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