Supporting learning in the digital age

5th December 2019
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Supporting learning in the digital age


We all talk about apprenticeships, how important they are for society, closing the skills gap and for the upcoming generation. But what about the importance of apprenticeships on digital transformation?

The main problem is that although the term digital transformation is thrown around a lot, the general perception of digital transformation is often wrong. Strategic Consultant Kate Temple-Brown of Gradvert, at the recent Tech Connect Live event said: “People often think of digital transformation as AI and robots coming into the world of work taking people’s jobs.”

Ronan O’Neil, Director of Digigrow, gave a presentation on what digital transformation is where he explained: “People think of digital transformation as a headache, expensive and something that never works, but it isn’t this at all, if companies would actually plan the digital change, engage with people in the company and have open minds.”

Digital transformation is all about a simple plan, and not over complicating things. O’Neil added: “Take baby steps, the main problem is companies try to jump and bite off too much – you know the saying, slow and steady wins the race.”

The reality is the world of work is changing, but not negatively like many people think. Compression, collaboration and ability is important and is essentially the future of the industry when it comes to digital transformation. Temple-Brown said: “Jobs that we know may disappear will be replaced by an array of better jobs for humans, and so we need to prepare ourselves – humans not organisations – for the digital transformation.”

People need to learn to be more open-minded and not so sceptical. There is much opportunity for us in the new digital world, and we need apprenticeships to educate people on this.

The key to doing this is for organisations to have a ‘long-term’ view of the people it is employing now and the people it will want to employ in the future.

Technical capability, data management, human skills and collaboration are all skills people will need to work in the digital age – this is the perfect recipe for success in the workplace.

Temple-Brown added: “People forget and undermine human skills, but actually in a recent survey, 93% of employers asked said that human skills were needed. We need to provide agile thinkers to the industry and create the future workforce.”

Technology apprenticeships are about blended learning - this means combining technical expertise into context. Temple-Brown commented: “It’s about helping individuals to understand how to translate, communicate, influence and lead change. More importantly, it’s also about the perfect balance of technical skills and human skills.”

Times are changing and we need to ensure we are adapting and keeping up with this change. Temple-Brown made a very good point in saying: “The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read, it will be the person who cannot learn.”

There seems to also still be a snobbery around people who opt for apprenticeships over degrees, which is a very old-fashioned point of view, and there is no right or wrong path, so why should others look down their nose at people doing an apprenticeship?

To help with the digital transformation and the upcoming society, we don’t need everyone to be fully technically competent, for a business to succeed you just need everyone to know what direction you are. Temple-Brown concluded: “Apprenticeships and learning works differently for everyone. Some people choose to just do one module, some do the full shebang! It really depends what works for people, there is no right and wrong answer and you need a variety. It’s done strategically – you need a good mix of people with different skills and levels.”

O’Neil made a very good point: “When it comes to the future and change, yes it is very important to plan and look ahead, but remember, you are living in the now and it’s important not to forget or neglect that.”

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