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We need to think creatively to bridge the gap between education and work

Hi there. My name is Kirste Worland – head of technology applications at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 over 30% of skills considered important today will have changed. This is being attributed to the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ whereby the rate of technological change will have brought us a number of advancements including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics. As a result, an ever-increasing skills gap is emerging.

So, how can the future workforce keep pace?

Recently I have been lucky enough to lead the outreach initiatives within our Technology department. We’ve been exploring new ways to nurture growing talent both within and outside of the NHSBSA.

It’s clear that we need to find new and creative ways to attract developing talent and to build on a combination of technical and soft skills in order to reduce the gaps.

One of the ways we’re doing this at the NHSBSA is by leveraging technology and creating strong links with local schools using a new platform called globalbridge. NHSBSA is just one of the dozens of organisations which have signed up with the online platform.

Globalbridge lets employers offer placements, insight and innovation days to students and to connect and engage with schools. The platform is also used to advertise a range of different placement opportunities, degree apprenticeships and NVQ Level 3 apprenticeships.

The digital facility bridges the gap between students, education establishments and employers. It allows students to showcase their skills, and engage with educational establishments and future employers. Universities and businesses like ours gain the ability to connect with talented young people and provide them with valuable technical expertise and skills which they can take with them as they develop their careers. We’re also perfectly placed as employers to develop our students’ soft skills and introduce them to the working world.

During our recent outreach initiatives, the North-East based globalbridge team (underpinned by their platform) helped us connect with local schools and students; as a result, we have been able to create shared learning pathways, and shape engagements and interactions with future talent.

The success of our partnership with globalbridge culminated with the launch of our Structured Apprenticeship Pathway event, which took place at the NHSBSA’s national headquarters in Newcastle upon Tyne last week.

More 40 high-profile businesses were on hand for the launch of the new apprenticeship programme. Organisations such as Virgin Money, Barclays and Sage Group, as well as universities from around the region and pupils from 15 North East schools connected at the networking showcase. It was a great turnout!


[caption id="attachment_413" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Ben Mason, founder of globalbridge, explains how employers and education establishments can break down the boundaries between education and work.[/caption]

Our speakers included: Ben Mason, founder of globalbridge; Sam McLoughlin, business engagement manager at Studio West, a Studio school based in Newcastle; as well as myself and Alistair McDonald, chief executive of the NHS Business Services Authority, who introduced the apprenticeship event.

The aim of the event was to connect education establishments and their talented students with career opportunities, introduce the approach to structured pathways for apprenticeships, using the globalbridge platform, and showcase the benefits of these engagements through our placement opportunities.

Since we went live with our NHSBSA profile in August, we have worked closely with globalbridge on developing relationships within local schools – the energy and enthusiasm from our different teams and the students has been infectious!

We’ve made a number of strong connections already, from careers chats, assemblies, and work placements.

We are all very passionate about making a difference and this partnership has opened a new channel for us.  We have a number of activities planned over the coming months with various education establishments and are exploring new ways to reach and engage with students to help with this ambitious outreach strategy.

I couldn’t be more excited to see where this partnership takes us!