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How projects and programmes are preparing the workforce for the future

Blog posted by: Mark Rowland 14 April 2020.

With shifting technology and working culture changing the emphasis on the kind of skills needed in the workplace, organisations are creating projects searching for solutions to upskill and retrain their employees so that they’re better placed to take on the changing demands of work.

Here’s how some projects are handling the issue:

PushFar’s digitised mentoring project

As the skills needed in the workplace become more nuanced and complex, mentoring becomes a more important tool to help individuals develop the ‘soft’ skills that they need. Tech company PushFar has developed a platform – an agile, ongoing project – to make this easier for organisations to implement, enabling mentors and mentees to connect with each other. Its clients includes Itsu, The Trainline and Lidl.

“A lot of businesses have been trying to do mentoring schemes in house, but it’s time-consuming and difficult to get right. Hence PushFar,” says creator Ed Johnson. “The platform essentially streamlines mentoring, so we make mentoring more accessible and more effective for both the individuals in the mentoring relationships and for organisations and administrators who are running those mentoring schemes for their employees.”

The Oxfam Future Skills Project

This project aims to bring new skills and opportunities to women working below the poverty line, through a combination of work placements, workshops, group work and mentoring. The programme launched with a pilot scheme in Greater Manchester in 2016/17, which was then rolled out in phases to other locations, such as London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Oxford.

According to Oxfam, most of the women on the pilot project said they felt more confident. Three quarters of the women went into either employment, education, enterprise or further volunteering.

The NHS Project and Change Academy Programme

 A more APM-specific programme, The NHS Project and Change Academy Programme aims to give all NHS staff an understanding of change and project management. This, in turn, allows for a more successful implementation of a wider change agenda across the NHS, where technology and new skills will be essential to delivering a good service to an ageing and more demanding population. The learning materials align with standards from APM, the Chartered Management Institute, and guidelines from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and HM Treasury.

This Is How’s youth-tech engagement project

This is How is a new digital learning platform, launched by Nominet and Livity, to help get young people interested and excited about tech. The aim of the platform is to help the younger generation start to learn about the future of work and the prospect of the digital world – to help them prepare for their coming careers, and help employers fill any emerging skills gaps.

It helps young people determine what they might be good at through an online quiz, then helps them to connect with job opportunities and create a roadmap to acquiring the skills they need. It also runs a podcast to get people excited about the kind of jobs they could be doing in the future.

Generation’s upskilling drive

Generation is a non-profit that aims to solve two problems in one go: the challenges businesses face in recruiting, developing and retaining employees with the right skills, and adults who want to re- and up-skill themselves. This is a truly global project, helping people across 13 countries, including the UK, the US, Brazil, Kenya and Hong Kong. The programme has helped more than 35,000 people develop new skills, and its 3,200 corporate partners have reaped the benefits – 84 per cent of Generation’s partners say that its graduates outperform their peers.

Join the conversation: read the sixth and final Challenge paper in the Projecting the Future series - The future of work and skills.

The paper takes a broader look at the changes in how we work and the implications for skills. It asks: What skills will be needed for future success, particularly in the project profession?

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About the Author

Mark Rowland is a senior writer on the Project editorial team. He has worked as a business journalist and editor for 15 years, and has won awards for his writing and editing. He has also worked in project and product management, overseeing the launch and continuous development of new websites and publications. Project is the official journal of the Association for Project Management (APM).


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