The UK is in the midst of a skills crisis. Many organisations are grappling to remain competitive with diminishing productivity and are struggling to seize opportunities that could help to drive growth and profit. Faced with political ambiguity and a pace of digital development that is relentless, organisations find themselves needing to fill a ruthlessly widening skill gap.

Business leaders are desperate to address their skills shortages, and have been paying the price for it as well. According to The Open University Business Barometer 2019, employers have spent more than £4.4 billion on recruitment fees, increased salaries and temporary workers to help solve their skill shortages. A short-term solution to a growing problem.

Helping organisations to succeed

To help rectify the issue, the UK Government has focused their Industrial Strategy on helping businesses to invest more on the skills that are needed now and in the future. The strategy encourages employers to focus on a more sustainable approach to their skills shortage, with a long-term goal of boosting the UK’s dulling productivity by promoting work-based training and, ultimately, catalyse a culture of lifelong learning where employees develop their skills and retrain throughout their careers.

Employers have started to take note and are making noticeably changes to the way they solve their skill shortages. Organisations are spending up to a third less on short-term solutions, with fifty-three percent increasing their training and development budgets over the past year.

In order for this positive change to continue, the training and education in which employers and employees invest their time and money in must deliver results. It is not enough to provide the skills required; employees must be able to apply their knowledge to solve problems, at all levels of their organisation. At the same time, with productivity already affected, training must not be too disruptive to an organisation’s day-to-day operations.

For professional membership and qualification bodies, this means that there is a plethora of growth opportunities available.

Teaching skills that are most effective to manage change

Referencing The Open University Business Barometer, employers report that in the past year, managerial skills, followed by leadership and IT skills were the most lacking in applicants. Skills that are the most effective to manage change or challenges faced by employers during this time of unrelenting digital disruption.

Choosing a professional qualification provider that offers training in these skills is paramount to their success. With new technology-enabled learning, employees can learn how, when and where they like, which means that education can flex around existing work and personal commitments.

However, whilst education delivery is executed online with ease, many professional membership and qualification bodies still have their students sit pen-to-paper examinations and ship hard copy versions of their final assessments. A jarring contrast to students’ learning environment.

Matching assessment systems to the teaching

Faced with the uncoupling of existing complex solutions and their own shortage of digitally native examiners, professional membership bodies are understandably hesitant to amend their assessment systems. Choosing a partner that is well versed in implementing new technology and is flexible to your professional membership bodies’ needs is paramount to the success of migrating to new systems. Alternatively, taking a phased approach by only changing a system at a time, and training employees, assessors and examiners bit-by-bit can ensure on-boarding is seamless with minimal effect to students or their employers.

Choosing an onscreen marking solution (also known as e-marking or scoring) before moving to onscreen testing is one way to do this. By focusing on editing internally facing systems first, streamlining how examiners assess students’ work, your professional membership body can mitigate any risks that could diminish a student’s learning experience.

However, before making any major changes, it is important to know best to your ability if moving to e-marking is right for your professional membership and qualification body. By taking our ‘Is e-marking right for you?’ questionnaire, you will receive an immediate personalised report that highlights the beneficiary impacts implementing e-marking could hold. This will allow you to make an informed decision before seeking a trustworthy partner to actualise e-marking within your professional membership and qualification body.