How can Virtual Work Experience help eradicate the skills crisis in the UK?

In recent years, the United Kingdom has faced a widening skills gap, a challenge that threatens economic and developmental progress. From the tech industry to manufacturing, engineering to real estate, the cry for skilled personnel resonates across sectors, highlighting shortages that could very well blunt the country's post-pandemic recovery.
As many professionals in the HR, talent acquisition and L&D space well know, several factors contribute to this growing divide, including rapid technological advancements, evolving job roles, an aging workforce, and the aftermath of Brexit - they all exacerbate the scarcity of qualified professionals.
If you’ve been in my network for a while you know I like to bang the drum for Virtual Work Experience as a solution to this crisis but there are good reasons why. As a solution it is uniquely positioned to bridge the skills gap we are currently experiencing in the UK and prepare young people for future careers.
 Virtual Work Experience:
  • Breaks down geographical barriers: It enables students to explore a wide range of industries and roles, regardless of their location.

  • Develops a diverse set of skills: It offers exposure to various skills and competencies required in different industries. Participants can acquire technical, soft, and industry-specific skills, enhancing their employability.

  • Provides real-world insight & practical learning: Participants can complete activities, projects or job sprints that enable them to problem-solve, complete specific tasks, reflect on their learning of new skills and understand particular industry skills in greater depth.

  • Improves digital literacy and technology skills: Engaging in these programmes naturally enhances digital literacy which is increasingly essential in the modern workplace. Participants become more adept at using digital tools and platforms - a significant asset in today's tech-driven world.

  • Reduced costs and time constraints: Virtual work experience eliminates the need for commuting or relocating, making it cost-effective, time-efficient and reducing the carbon footprint. This accessibility encourages more individuals to participate, especially those who might face financial or logistical constraints.

  • Flexible scheduling and availability: Enrollees can balance their academic, personal, or existing work commitments and choose time slots that suit their availability, broadening participation. A growing number of Springpod's partners are opting for their programmes to be always on demand - enabling students, schools and colleges to access at any time when it's right for them.

  • Enhanced networking opportunities: Springpod’s work experience programmes provide students with the opportunity to interact with professionals, mentors, and peers within the virtual environment. This interaction facilitates networking and connections, potentially leading to future mentorship, job opportunities, or collaborations.
 Not only is it a great solution for young people, it benefits organisations too:
  • Scalability and reach: Virtual work experience programmes can be easily scaled to accommodate a larger number of participants, allowing a broader reach to address the skills crisis on a local or national level.  Our programmes range from targeted cohorts of 100 students to large scale cohorts of over 3,000.

  • Evaluation and feedback mechanisms: Springpod’s programmes have built-in data insight capabilities enabling the measurement of student engagement levels, learner demographics, confidence levels, desired next steps, volunteering hours, learner feedback and much more.  Our clients are able to measure and understand the impact of their programme either for their talent acquisition or social impact goals or both.
 By leveraging virtual work experience effectively, young people can acquire valuable skills, gain practical knowledge, and make informed decisions about their future careers. This, in turn, contributes to reducing the skills gap and helps address the skills crisis in the UK by fostering a more skilled and adaptable workforce.
So far this year over 140,000 young people have enrolled onto Springpod work experience programmes.  If you'd like to find out how we can support your future talent acquisition and social impact goals please get in touch: or drop me a message on Linkedin.
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