A Fresh Start for your Workforce in January

A Fresh Start for your Workforce in January

Posted On 2nd December 2020 By Andrew Esson

If you’re looking to hit the reset button for your business and futureproof your workforce, January could be the perfect time to start. Andrew Esson, Director of Industrial Strategy at Newcastle College explains more.

As we approach Christmas and begin looking ahead to January, it feels that this year more than ever we are all waiting to hit the reset button that a new year traditionally brings. This year has brought so many changes and challenges to our lives and to our businesses that we could not have foreseen when we were busy making plans back in January.

What were your business goals this year? Were you planning on hiring a new apprentice or upskilling your existing workforce? Have those plans been postponed or cancelled altogether now?

With the prolonged closure of businesses earlier in the year, even the most resilient employers may not have been in a position to begin upskilling their workforce when the education sector restarted in September.

But a few months on, and without wanting to tempt fate, it does appear that things are beginning to look up. I know that things are still extremely tough for employers, but the majority (unfortunately not all) of sectors have now been able to reopen and with restrictions less tight than they were in March, many businesses are now beginning to get back on track and able to start thinking about the future.

That resilience and the drive to find new ways forward is exactly why we love working with employers from across the North East here at Newcastle College University Centre.

We want to help our local businesses to develop a futureproof workforce that will help you to overcome the challenges that are still to come, whether that is recovering from the pandemic or responding to the unknown changes that Brexit will bring – and most importantly in a way that works for you.

Listening to your needs and responding with courses and qualifications to meet those needs has always been one of our biggest priorities. It is why we have established Advisory Boards made up of local industry leaders to help shape our curriculum. It is why we offer apprenticeships and degrees on a full-time or part-time basis and it is why we offer January starts across many of our courses, particularly our engineering and digital courses which we know offer the skills and experience that our region’s employers will need in the coming months and years.

One example of that is our Foundation Degree in Engineering with Applied Digital Technologies – a brand-new, employer led course that we are very excited about. It is tailor-made to meet the demand of a sector in transition and is designed to give engineering and manufacturing businesses the skills they need to be able to adopt emerging digital technologies.

The Association of Colleges recently ran a survey and found that 68% of SMEs in the UK fear that not enough is being done to help them prepare their workforce for the end of the Brexit transition period and believe that skills should be a top priority for the government.

So, while it may be tempting to think that upskilling and professional development is a luxury rather than a necessity right now, investing into education for your workforce has never been more important.

Equipping your employees with new skills will transform your workforce into a flexible, responsive, and adaptive part of your business that will help you to overcome any new challenge, continue to grow and evolve with new skills, new technologies and new ideas.

And as you can see from the types of courses we have on offer, Newcastle College University Centre is more than prepared to provide the skills and experience necessary. Despite the challenges of 2020, we are embarking on a huge period of investment into our engineering and digital facilities and technologies, so you can rest assured that your investment will be worth it.

I urge every employer worrying that now is not the time to invest in education to reconsider. We understand that this remains an uncertain time for many but if you’re in a position to support your workforce, now is the right time to secure their future along with yours. Plus, don’t forget that government incentives of up to £3,000 for hiring new apprentices have now been extended until March.

Please do get in touch if you’re interested in finding out what apprenticeships and degrees are available for your business from January. I look forward to working together to find powerful solutions to future challenges.

Andrew Esson - Director of Industrial Strategy, Newcastle College andrew.esson@ncl-coll.ac.uk
employers@ncl-coll.ac.uk