The National Skills Academy for Power (the Skills Academy), aided by Core Learning Services (CLS), a consultancy providing e-learning-related products and services, is introducing online learning materials as part of its strategy of skills development within power companies.
The online learning materials, which are due to be launched in September to some 93,900 workers in the UK’s Power Sector, cover ‘soft’ skills rather than skills which are specific to the power industry.
“The Skills Academy’s remit is to promote and support best practice in skills within our industry,” explained Ian Wilcox, Commercial Manager for the National Skills Academy for Power.
“We’re committed to a variety of best practice skills delivery methods and techniques. The online learning supplied through CLS is part of a blended offering that the Skills Academy is developing.
“Our specific focus is the Power Sector including Generation, Metering, Renewables and Transmission & Distribution all the way up to the meter,” he added.
The Skills Academy, whose members include Balfour Beatty, E.ON (UK), National Grid and Scottish Power, plays a key role in delivering the training and development needs of the Power Sector. Through collaboration with leading employers, the Skills Academy aims to develop the quality and consistency of training and deliver a sustainable and flexible talent pool.
Initiated by Government, the Skills Academy recognises that overcoming skills challenges in the Power Sector cannot be the responsibility of one organisation alone. So the Skills Academy brings together market leaders to create the engineers of tomorrow, to respond to a rapidly evolving and increasingly sophisticated Power Sector.
“An element of our employer-driven business plan was to introduce online courses via our website (www.power.nsacademy.co.uk) as part of the overall strategy of skills development within power companies,” said Ian Wilcox. “We then sought three potential providers of this service and selected CLS, managed by Paul Higgins, as our partner in promoting the online aspect of this.
“We selected CLS at the end of March this year. Having worked with CLS since then on page design and branding, we expect to roll out the portal on the website by September.
“CLS are also providing the vehicle – a learning management system (LMS) - to deliver their existing underpinning soft skills catalogue to our employers,” Ian continued. “In the future, we aim to encourage our Education & Skills Providers (ESPs) to post further, new online courses on this LMS, and work with larger employers to integrate this into their own internal learning strategy.”
The Skills Academy works with most major power companies and their supply chain. This provides it with access to over 93,900 employees in the UK.
In the run up to the launch of the online learning materials, the Skills Academy has been promoting this new service to these workers via Twitter, its website, e-newsletters and other activities designed to raise ‘awareness’ of the learning materials.
“Through these awareness activities we’re promoting this online learning as development and underpinning knowledge to supplement the technical skills, which are delivered traditionally,” Ian Wilcox said. “Obviously, it’s too early to gauge the effectiveness or the popularity of the portal and its online learning materials but initial reactions from potential learners have been highly positive.
“Although the Skills Academy website and our business is aimed at UK based companies, the website also gets hits from other countries around the world,” he added.
Paul Higgins, Sales Director at CLS, commented: “Our experience with other sectors’ Sector Skills Councils and Skills Academies - such as the sport and leisure sector – shows that online learning is a popular method of learning delivery. Moreover, we believe that it’s important that the platform for the online learning materials – the LMS – provides easy access for learners to the e-learning materials and ensures that the learners gain a positive experience.
“The online learning materials are available ‘24/7’ and so can be undertaken whenever the learner is able to learn; learning can be undertaken almost anywhere at any time and can be done at the learner’s own pace.
“Moreover, in these economically challenging times, online learning can reduce the travel and subsistence costs associated with formal training. In addition, people – especially younger people - are now comfortable working and learning online,” he added.