The Future Of Workforce Development: How To Attract, Develop And Sustain A Thriving Workforce

Issue 81

How organisations choose to invest their time and resources is critical to their competitiveness, productivity and performance, and a key focus for business owners or senior leadership teams

But investment in people – their training, development, and wellbeing – can often fall down the agenda for time poor or cash strapped managers with deadlines and targets to hit.

We spoke to experts from Northumbria University about the value of workforce development and the benefits of supporting, upskilling and empowering people to fulfil their workplace potential.

Dr Gosia Ciesielska, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies at Northumbria University, has a particularly unique perspective on employee development and retention, through her role leading the Restorative Just Culture programme at the University.

A transformative learning programme, it teaches managers how to create a workplace culture of trust, learning and accountability. Initially developed through a partnership with the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, the pioneering course provides transferrable skills that improve people management and increase morale.

Gosia said: ”The programme provides contemporary people management skills that would benefit anyone in a leadership or line management role, no matter what the sector. ”Rather than disciplining or criticising staff when something goes wrong, this approach is about ensuring lessons are learned in an open, supportive, and proactive way. It’s an effective tool to increase accountability, build trust and can significantly improve staff retention and wellbeing – helping to drive productivity and save a business money in the long term.

Gosia concluded: ”Northumbria University is a fast-growing university with international reach but is very much embedded within regional and national business networks. We have expertise in executive education and in partnering with external organisations to provide the best combination of academic, challenging input and practical, ‘real world’ focussed learning. ”The Restorative Just Culture programme is just one example of how we can help businesses to improve workplace wellbeing, build new skills, increase productivity and reduce costs.”

Alongside a wide range of leadership and management training and CPD courses, Northumbria University also has a strong track record in delivering Higher and Degree Apprenticeships as a route to developing technical skills within the workforce.

By offering learners the best of both worlds, combining university study with workplace learning, Northumbria University is recognised as a leading provider, ranking top 10 in the UK for Higher and Degree Apprenticeships (The Times Good University Guide, 2022) as well as being one of the first UK institutions to offer governmentsupported apprenticeship programmes.

Dr Charlotte Paterson, Workplace Coach for the Civil Engineer Degree Apprenticeship programme, said: ”With an ever-growing portfolio, Northumbria offers a diverse range of apprenticeships across many sectors. Whether businesses have taken on a new recruit or have an employee they would like to upskill or see progress further in the organisation, apprenticeships can be an effective way to develop and retain your workforce, whilst employees gain a degree-level qualification.”

Charlotte continued: ”By accessing levy payments or government funding, businesses can provide their employees with a recognised and relevant qualification, often at little extra cost to the organisation.

”Perhaps most importantly, we offer more than a learning programme; we develop a true partnership. We work with organisations to shape and tailor courses that directly meet the demands of their business and sector, and provide the technical skills, knowledge and ‘real world’ experience necessary to get the job done.”

To find out more about the ways in which Northumbria University can help you to train, develop and support your workforce to fulfil their potential, visit:

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