Highly Commended: Campaign for Learning Networked for Learning - SME

The Advice Skills Academy is a partnership of advice giving organisations across the Liverpool City region. It works to develop common individual and organisational learning and development planning processes, as well as co-ordinate programmes of accredited and non-accredited learning which improves skills, knowledge and productivity and develops learning organisations.

For Learning at Work Week the Advice Skills Academy’s seven partner organisations took an active part in delivering learning activities for employees and volunteers, designed to suit their needs and to support the overall mission of the Academy.

The week aimed to promote and encourage learning in a variety of forms including online, face to face, formal and informal learning, and demonstrate the 70:20:10 model. The intention was to promote group learning so that knowledge and experiences could be shared. To encourage participation, a mix of work-related and more fun and informal sessions were planned that would fit into colleagues’ busy work schedules.

All of the partner organisations delivered activities which included quizzes, word searches and crosswords for individuals on topics such as mental health awareness, emotional intelligence, welfare benefits and advice. Staff could take part in ‘bring your hobby to work day’ where colleagues gave presentations and delivered creative activities such as painting and origami. Online learning and information was also made available. Colleagues could find out about National Numeracy Day and take an online test. Other areas of learning included Priority Debt, ACAS early conciliation, assertiveness and Google Digital Garage. In break times, colleagues had the opportunity to do group quizzes on employment law, signposting to agencies and admin general knowledge. To support their Individual Learning Plans, staff were able to shadow other colleagues to find out more about roles and departments they were interested in.

The Academy sent emails with links to online activities and information about the week. Flyers with inspirational quotes about learning were displayed in workspaces alongside details of what was on offer. During the week, partners used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to highlight to staff and stakeholders all of the activities. The promotions and quizzes generated lots of conversations at work and in meetings with people talking about their own experiences and sharing their results, harnessing the power of word of mouth communications.

Over 90% of colleagues reported that the week had made them more positive about learning. People enjoyed working in groups and valued the opportunities to network, learn about others’ roles and share knowledge and experience. For the Academy and partner organisations, the week was an opportunity to think differently about how to deliver learning such as through quizzes and interactive presentations. Bring your hobby to work day has supported team building and shown the importance of these types of activities, with one partner putting on a ‘picnic in the park’. By encouraging staff to learn independently, the Academy and partners have demonstrated that personal learning and development is valued in the workplace. This has changed the perception of employees who worried that investing work time in learning may not permissible.