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Training Experience vs Occupational Competence

04 March 2021

By Adam Spoors

Training Experience vs Occupational Competence

Training Experience vs Occupational Competence

Its an ever present challenge when recruiting into Further Education to find the balance of an individual or a team who has both the Occupation (recent occupational) competency, relevant knowledge and qualifications (TAQA/CAVA etc). To deliver training programmes effectively and in a quality manner.

More often than not as an employer you have to make sacrifices; either youll hire the relevant FE experience and knowledge, but lack the recent occupational experience.
Or youll hire directly from the market specialism, but your hire will lack the required training & education knowledge and you’ll spend resources train them up.

Now both have their pros and cons and it is rare to find those hires that have the required mix of experience.

I find that most providers opt for the former. They hire from within the education market as on the whole it is deemed an easierhire. They can work with learners more effectively and achieve timely completions.

The problem with this, if you solely hire from within the FE markets that it can be difficult to maintain the occupational competence that is requiredto deliver on todays apprenticeship standards. Other cons, such as stifling innovation and new ideas, allowing a sense of comfort and the weve always done it this waymentality.

**I want to point out, that the vast majority of talent in the market are exceptional at what they do and Im not encouraging that we flip 180 and go in the opposite direction of only hiring occupational competence, as this would result in larger problems than what we currently have.

My point is, that perhaps certain markets should look to diversify the skills in which they hire more than what is currently evident. For example, look at Multiverse (formerly Whitehat) as a case study. They have an incredibly diverse work force, not just in skill sets. They have a wide mix of seasoned educational professionals and professionals with very recent occupational experience, transitioning in to this market. They have incredible reviews, having just announced a successful series B round of investment and are valued at $200m. The diverse work force isnt their only secret to success, but I believe it to be a factor.

As we move further into the digital age. It is said that by 2030, up to 50% of skilled jobs have yet to be created. In turn, there will also be a whole new range of apprenticeship qualifications that come to market in the next 10 years. We are already seeing the introduction of Cyber Security, Data, and AWS programmes.

To use these as prime example, hiring sector specific coaches and trainers to facilitate these programmes is already difficult with the levels of demand in the market. Providers needing to hire for these programmes in has started a price war for the best talent. This is causing salaries to rise exponentially.

A solution might be to hire outside the sector in some capacity, looking to train and invest in the new work force by utilising skilled educational professionals for them to shadow.

The above example is what is happening in the market right now and I expect this to continue. Also expect further talent shortages in other delivery areas to come to pass over the next few years.

Hiring outside of the sector can be risky, it can be expensive and it can be time consuming. I have worked with providers who have experienced mixed success by trialling this. The ones that have been the most successful have truly planned and supported this as part of their culture and hiring strategy.

You can hire someone in to this market and expect them to sing to the same tune as someone whos been in the market for 10+ years. You can however get them to work closely together, support one another and improve one anothers knowledge in the occupational area.

New World Recruitment have worked with multiple providers in different specialisms to facilitate such hiring strategies with great success. These take time and we are working on further adding to our service, offering training to new hires before they start.

For more information on this, please get in touch with Adam directly.

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