81 per cent of employees in healthcare want to upskill this year, as government campaign launches to boost business growth in 2022

24 January 2022
4 min read

Businesses across the health and social care sector are being urged to ‘Join the skills revolution’ as tens of millions of employees around England express desire to skill up in their jobs this year. New research has revealed that a huge 81 per cent of workers in the healthcare industry are interested in learning new work skills in 2022, over-indexing against the nation’s average of 70 per cent.

The new Censuswide survey of over 4,000 of the UK’s workforce showed a clear national appetite for skills development and indicated that employees are hungry to learn more and progress further in their careers this year compared to 2021 – with 69 per cent wanting increased job satisfaction in 2022 and 67 per cent feeling that gaining new skills will be key to achieving their work goals. 

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of workers said that progression and opportunities to learn were paramount goals in their working life.  

This research coincides with the launch of the government campaign which urges employers to ‘join the skills revolution’, aiming to help businesses across a wide range of industries gear up for economic recovery by skilling up their workforce. The campaign highlights the range of training and employment schemes available for businesses wanting to boost their workforce capabilities, including apprenticeships, traineeships and T levels.

Skilling up in health and social care 
The sector-specific findings, indicating 81 per cent of the healthcare workforce hungry to skill up, also found that 82 per cent of employees in the childcare sector felt likewise and are keen to develop new skills for work in 2022. Health and social care was shown to be one of the top areas (17 per cent) workers across sectors wanted to learn more about, second only to IT and digital skills (20 per cent). Businesses are being encouraged to grasp this development opportunity to boost their business growth.  

Prominent industry voices have spoken out on the importance of skills to drive better results and retain their workforce.  
Jacqui Hall, FRSB, head of early careers, biopharma R&D at AstraZeneca, said, “As the UK’s largest life sciences company, AstraZeneca is committed to developing the next generation of scientific leadership and talent. We invest in a range of programmes to provide opportunities that people from all backgrounds can access, supporting over 500 young scientists in the UK every year – including apprentices, undergraduate and graduate placements, PhDs and post-doctoral scientists. But entry into the sector is just the start of the journey – we know that fostering a culture of lifelong learning, where our people are proactive about their personal development and learn every day, is vital for our continued growth. To achieve this, we have invested in world-class technology and digital tools to enhance the learning experience for our colleagues – with our online platform Degreed offering over 20,000 courses across 300 pre-curated learning paths. Most importantly, our 3Es framework (experience, exposure and education) embeds a culture that supports individuals to find formal and informal learning moments each and every day. It is in no small part thanks to this approach that AstraZeneca is able to adapt, innovate and respond to new, unprecedented healthcare challenges and deliver life-changing medicines to patients in the UK and around the world.”  

Natasha Edwards, owner and manager of Evergreen Care Home, said, "The demand for those with the skills to work in the care sector has never been higher, especially in light of the last two years. The Skills Revolution campaign offers us the ideal opportunity to recruit and promote from within our wonderful team. Upskilling our current employees through the various training incentives nurtures their career development and sense of personal fulfilment in work. At the same time, it's helping us to maintain a strong team dynamic, with many of our employees having worked their way up within the care home they inherently have a wider understanding and appreciation for each staff member's role." 

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is extremely proactive in the use of apprenticeships to develop and progress their workforce. Apprenticeships are seen as a vital part of their workforce planning, the Trust currently has 80 apprentices, in a range of roles – including clinical and non-clinical roles. 
Karen Hookham, apprenticeship services manager at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said, “Our apprentices have stepped up during the pandemic, continuing to work on wards and in departments. They are a fantastic asset to our business. As well as continuing their studies, apprentices work across departments to learn the skills they need to become permanent members of staff on completion of their apprenticeship.” The 'Join the Skills Revolution’ campaign will showcase hundreds of government-funded skills opportunities available and help businesses to up-skill their employees, find new talent, and be a part of training the future workforce. 

Nadhim Zahawi MP, secretary of state for education, said, “It is no secret that a skilled and motivated workforce is the key to driving better performance and boosting productivity. There has never been a better time to make skills a top priority. To support businesses to unlock untapped talent there is a huge range of training available to help upskill their staff for free, including online courses to boost numeracy to apprenticeships, traineeships, T Levels, or our Skills Bootcamps.” 
A demand for learning 
The research found a considerable demand for on-the-job training, with 39 per cent of workers saying they would find this particularly useful. A further 31 per cent of workers wanted courses specific to their sector, as well as encouragement and practical support from their employer – with one in three saying they felt held back by a lack of time (36 per cent), a lack of confidence (31 per cent) or knowing where to start (30 per cent).

The opportunities on offer as part of the Join the Skills Revolution campaign, have been designed by and in partnership with employers, listening to businesses to meet their recruitment needs and address skills gaps, through flexible, free or subsidised courses. Skills Bootcamps for example, provide fast-track sector-specific training in areas such as construction, HGV driving, green skills, digital, manufacturing and engineering, as well as creating a pool of skilled staff ready to recruit with the right training. 

Businesses are urged to join the skills revolution and drive better performance, by visiting  www.gov.uk/skills-support – for skills opportunities designed by employers, for employers. 

Meanwhile adult learners can discover hundreds of opportunities to learn new skills at gov.uk/SkillsforLife – from free careers advice and courses to advanced qualifications and on-the-job training.