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Growing your


Pitching up at our desks day after day it is

easy to miss the changes in our working lives.

You don't have to have spent many years in

the workplace to be able to look back and see

how working practices, tools and business

models have changed out of all recognition.

As indeed have the expectations of clients

and even fellow workers.

The future of work holds promises which only

a few years ago would have graced science

fiction rather than commercial reality. The rest

of the organisation are holding serious

conversations about robotic process

automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI)

and big data. Put simply, learning and

development needs to join in that chat.

And if you are pretty sure you colleagues in

other areas aren't talking about these key

emerging topics then it's probably time to find

a new employer. In every sector competitive

advantage is to be found in exploiting these

rapidly emerging technologies. Ignoring the

trends is simply not an option.

Yet as the Open University, along with others

who have undertaken similar research have

found, most sectors of the economy are

facing massive skill shortages in the very

talents and competencies that offer the most

promise in ensuring fulfilling and sustainable

careers and promoting successful enterprises

and a thriving wider economy,

The talent required cannot be insourced in

sufficient quantity from elsewhere such as

other businesses, sectors or markets. And so

if every employee needs these competencies

the only way that they are going to have the

talent they need is by growing their own.

And the only way that they will do that in a

timely fashion is through deploying learning

technologies. This challenge cannot be met in

isolation. L&D needs to work together as a

profession to set out a visionary plan to

develop the digital skills the 21st century


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Peter Williams



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