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January 12, 2017
Digital disruption: Solving the skills gap at scale
By: Mohini Rao

The skills gap is one of the most pressing problems facing UK businesses, with unemployment expected to cost the country around £28bn over the next decade. At Accenture we believe that this gap will only be bridged if we think big, and affect large-scale change in a joined-up way. With the advent of digital technology, we are now able to do just that.

Empowering young people (NEET) into work

Take our flagship Skills to Succeed Academy as illustration. In the UK we have an issue with youth unemployment with nearly one million 16-24s Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET). We saw an opportunity to apply our learning and technology expertise to address this; creating the Skills to Succeed Academy: an innovative online approach to employability skills learning. The Skills to Succeed Academy provides NEETs with free access to a high-quality, tailored and interactive curriculum that focuses on helping young people understand how to do things for themselves, while also building their skills and confidence to help them find a job.

Transforming employability services

The Skills to Succeed Academy removed the need for advisors to carry out employability training, freeing their time for more valuable coaching tasks. As a result, young people receive a much more comprehensive service. The benefits of our approach are already making themselves apparent: 73 percent of jobseekers who used the Skills to Succeed Academy say they increased their skills and 77 percent say their confidence improved. Where we tracked outcomes, 27 percent have gone on to secure employment.

Partnering for success

We have worked with a number of partners across the employability eco-system to scale our impact. Our partners include Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), National Careers Service, Careers Wales and Skills Development Scotland, amongst many others. If digital provides the technological enabler for the programme, these partnerships ensure its effective delivery. Importantly, DWP provided resources to implement and support the deployment and delivery of the Skills to Succeed Academy within all UK Jobcentres, ensuring we could reach NEETs at the exact time and place they need help.

As Susan Park, Director of Work Services at DWP, puts it: “The Skills to Succeed Academy is a great tool for young people to learn core employability skills in a more engaging way. It enables our work coaches to have better conversations with young people, allowing us to better prepare them for work.”

Through these partners, the Skills to Succeed Academy has already reached more than 100,000 young people to help build their employability skills and confidence. We are also looking to replicate the success of the programme elsewhere, with launches planned imminently in South Africa, Australia and Ireland.

Skills to Succeed illustrates the power of technology to reach people in need. Digital technology is bringing true disruption to the jobs market and will make a deep and lasting impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of jobseekers in the UK and beyond.

Hear from Martina; a Skills to Succeed and DWP Success Story. Martina had recently completed college, and at the age of 20 was looking to get into work. Without any previous work experience she was struggling to get into employment. Recognising Martina’s challenges her job centre Work Coach, Laura, referred her to the interview skills modules in The Skills to Succeed Academy.

Martina says “Prior to completing the Academy training modules I was struggling to communicate myself effectively in interviews; I lacked confidence and key skills. I completed the online training modules over the course of two months. I quickly gained an interview for an apprenticeship in business administration and I got the job! I can only put this down to the confidence completing the Skills to Succeed Academy gave me.”

For more information on the Skills to Succeed Academy, please read on

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