Learning Needs Analysis in Selected Employment Sectors. Edited by Dr Margaret Linehan

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1 Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors Edited by Dr Margaret Linehan

2 Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors Edited by Dr Margaret Linehan

3 Pubication Information Athough every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the materia contained in this pubication, compete accuracy cannot be guaranteed. A or part of this pubication may be reproduced without further permission provided the source is acknowedged. Pubished by CIT Press, Bishopstown, Cork, Ireand. Design by Raven Design CIT Press 2009 Acknowedgements This document is based on contributions from individuas and organisations. The principa contributors are the members of the Roadmap for Empoyment Academic Partnerships (REAP) working group, isted in the Appendix. Many other staff within the partner academic institutions and esewhere heped to make this work possibe. This document woud not have been possibe without funding from the Strategic Innovation Fund, Cyce 2, from the Higher Education Authority, under the Nationa Deveopment Pan

4 Foreword The Roadmap for Empoyment-Academic Partnerships (REAP) project draws on the outcomes and experiences of the Education in Empoyment Strategic Innovation Fund Cyce 1 project. It aims, through rea engagement, to deveop a bueprint for partnership between academia and the workpace. This coaborative project wi change the reationship between the education provider, the earner and the workpace by recognising both the needs and contributions of a the parties and the roe of the higher education institution as that of a key service provider. One of the initia steps in understanding the nature of this deveoping reationship was to undertake a earning needs anaysis. This is not an attempt at an exhaustive anaysis of the earning needs of a sectors in the different regions but rather a oca, strategic, focused engagement by each of the academic partners with an empoyment sector of regiona and strategic importance to their particuar institution. It was recognised at the outset that the economic and competitive circumstances in which each organisation operates are fuid and that the particuar earning needs are subject to change more rapidy in some sectors than others. However, this targeted engagement, in seeking to understand and quantify oca, organisationa and sectora earning needs through a series of interviews, at a point in time, has had the effect of increasing mutua understanding, growing reationships and opening the door to a variety of partnership opportunities. Some of the earning gained has aready borne fruit through the deveopment of new work-focused courses and research activities. More importanty, the findings wi act as a catayst for deveopments in the recognition of prior earning, and in work-based and fexibe earning which comes through as a recurrent theme regardess of the sector addressed. By sharing the findings throughout the coaborative partnership and beyond, the project team is making a vauabe contribution to reevant earning deveopment. Whie the project is ed by Cork Institute of Technoogy the working group incudes members from Athone Institute of Technoogy, Dubin Institute of Technoogy, Institute of Technoogy, Sigo, Institute of Technoogy Taaght, NUI Gaway, University Coege Cork and Waterford Institute of Technoogy. On behaf of the project Steering Group I woud ike to acknowedge the work of the entire working group, that of the contributors to this report and its editor. Michae Deaney VP for Deveopment Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors

5 Executive Summary In today s competitive word, the Irish economy needs more peope with higher eve skis in the workpace. A reiance on traditiona manufacturing and ow-skied services wi not be sufficient for deveoped countries ike Ireand to remain at the forefront of economic and technoogica advancement. Organisations across a sectors have to respond rapidy to the dynamics of their markets, which continuay chaenge their business modes and the eve and reevance of their knowedge base. As work-environments increasingy move to knowedge-based environments, with their increasingy dynamic and changing contexts, ongoing up-skiing of empoyees wi pay an essentia roe. Learning for Life (2000), Ireand s first white paper on adut education, underined how ski shortages threaten Ireand s economic progress. Reevant stakehoders endorse this view, and aso agreed on the high priority status of addressing the ski shortage issue. The white paper, however, reported that there is ess agreement as to how workpace education shoud be organised and financed (Department of Education and Science, 2000: 76). Since the pubication of the white paper, educators, empoyers, and poiticians have given increased attention to the concept of earning as a ifeong activity and to the concept of organisationa earning. In 2006, the Government introduced a Strategic Innovation Fund for projects in higher education institutions to enhance coaboration in the sector; to improve teaching and earning; to support institutiona reform; to promote access and ifeong earning; and to support the deveopment of fourth-eve education. Through the Strategic Innovation Fund, the deveopment of new strategic aiances creates new synergies and potentias for higher education systems. Through the range of initiatives it supports, the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) provides new impetus to the deveopment of system-wide quaity in higher education institutions. SIF is driving reform of structures and systems within and across institutions to cater for growing student numbers at a eves; for greater teaching and earning quaity; to ensuring graduates are equipped for a ifetime of innovation and change in the workpace; and to enhance research and innovation capacity. The Roadmap for Empoyment Academic Partnerships (REAP) project is one of the initiatives funded under the second cyce of the Strategic Innovation Fund. The REAP consortium is ed by Cork Institute of Technoogy, which coordinates the work contributed by the other members of the consortium: Athone Institute of Technoogy, Dubin Institute of Technoogy, Institute of Technoogy Sigo, Institute of Technoogy Taaght, Nationa University of Ireand Gaway, University Coege Cork, and Waterford Institute of Technoogy. The REAP consortium proposes to change the nature of the reationship between the education provider and the workpace, by deveoping a mode of cooperation and partnership that recognises and vaues the needs and contributions of the worker and identifies the workpace as a centre of earning. This report is based on the coective output of members of the Research and Investigation strand, one of the two inked sub-strands of the REAP project. Members of the REAP working group conducted a earning needs anaysis in various regions of the country with nine different empoyment sectors: Community and Vountary; Energy and Sustainabiity services; Financia services; High Potentia Start-up enterprises; Lega, Pharmaceutica; Retai; Sma to Medium size enterprises; and Tourism, Hospitaity and Leisure. This anaysis provides a snapshot of engagement potentia as a starting point for negotiating earning in a tripartite arrangement with empoyers, third-eve education providers and earners. These anayses, whie not exhaustive, represent rea and current opportunities for oca deveopment of earning partnerships. The report provides a brief background to each of the nine empoyment sectors incuded in the research, identifies current and future earning needs of these sectors, and investigates possibiities for future engagement between third-eve institutions and empoyers.

6 In order to contextuaise earning needs, organisationa earning, and the earning organisation for this report, a review of the reevant existing iterature in these areas was conducted. These iterature findings are summarised and presented in Chapter 2. The iterature search underscored that the earning process in organisations requires the broadening of access to new sources of knowedge and experience, as we as the remova of barriers to earning. The report signas that third-eve institutions and empoyers are aware of the need for coser coaboration to achieve joint goas, such as, high quaity graduates with skis that society needs now and in the future. Whie new knowedge and skis are constanty required, the extent to which organisations support education and training varies consideraby in different sectors. Commony identified needs across a nine sectors incuded: up-skiing and re-skiing of empoyees, work-based earning courses, recognition of prior earning, fexibiity in course deivery, networking opportunities, work pacements, and industry specific courses at ow cost. The report aims to assist empoyers and third-eve education providers by identifying earning needs which, in turn, can ead to the deveopment of successfu partnerships to foster workforce deveopment. The experiences outined give some vauabe insights into what makes for effective partnerships with the essentia mission of enarging Ireand s base of higher skis. The practica invovement of empoyers with higher eve educationa providers in identifying earning needs and jointy deveoping courses that successfuy address those needs is of major importance and a centra feature of this report. Faciitating richer communication and understanding between education institutions and industry partners wi be a rewarding exercise, eading to more sustainabe productivity and utimatey to onger-term prosperity for empoyers, empoyees, and society in genera. Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors

7 Contents 1 Introduction 1.0 Background Roadmap for Empoyment Academic Partnerships (REAP) Structure of the Report 4 2 Organisations, Learning, and Learning Needs 2.0 Organisationa Learning and the Learning Organisation Faciitating Organisationa Learning The Basis of Learning Needs Anaysis Why Conduct a Learning Needs Anaysis? 8 3 Regiona and Sectora Learning Needs 3.0 REAP and Sectora Learning Needs Anaysis Community and Vountary Sector Energy and Sustainabiity Services Sector Financia Services Sector High Potentia Start-up (HPSU) Enterprises Lega Sector Pharmaceutica Sector Retai Sector Sma and Medium Enterprises Tourism, Hospitaity and Leisure Sector 45

8 4 Anaysis of Sectora Learning Needs 4.0 Introduction Community and Vountary Sector Energy and Sustainabiity Services Sector Financia Services Sector High Potentia Start-up (HPSU) Enterprises Lega Sector Pharmaceutica Sector Retai Sector Sma and Medium Enterprises Tourism, Hospitaity and Leisure Sector New Course Deveopment Concusions 64 References 67 Appendix REAP Working Group Members 70 Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors

9 Introduction 1.0 Background Approximatey 1.4 miion of the current Irish workforce shoud sti be in the abour force in 2020, but changes in technoogy and business processes wi have rendered many of their skis obsoete by then (Forfás, 2007a). Changing empoyment patterns in the organisation of work practices have impacted on the demand for highereve skis. Empoyees are expected to be more fexibe, to have a broader range of skis and to be better abe to manage their own career deveopment. Graduate-eve skis and quaifications are seen as increasingy important in the changing workpace. The Forfás Expert Group on Future Skis Needs proposes a vision of Ireand in 2020 in which a we-educated and highy skied popuation contributes optimay to a competitive, innovation-driven, knowedge-based, participative, and incusive economy. The Expert Group suggests that, if Ireand is to reaise this vision of a new knowedge economy which can compete effectivey in the goba market pace, the country requires a resident popuation with enhanced skis, increased participation in the workforce, and greater thirdeve participation (Forfás, 2007a). Progress in integrating ifeong earning into mainstream education and training systems in Ireand, however, has been reativey sow. The Irish participation rate in ifeong earning of 9.7% is we beow that of the top ranked state, Sweden, at 34.2% (Forfás 2004). Organisations endeavouring to deveop their knowedge base and to engage with higher education institutions face a confusing array of schemes. The existing arrangement of programmes and schemes is not sufficient to deiver the target skis-profie set out by the Expert Group on Future Skis Needs. If that is to be achieved, a number of innovative programmes need to be undertaken which shoud foster a cuture of ifeong earning. The education sector needs to proactivey faciitate and simpify the engagement process with industry partners. Deveopments must be informed by an understanding of needs and opportunities, by region and by sector. The need for workpace innovation and the transformation of the concept of work from the use of previousy acquired but quite static skis into continuous and dynamic earning is now widey accepted as essentia for the Ireand of the future. A number of recent reports have identified a gap in understanding and differing priorities between the training providers and potentia cient organisations and individuas. The Enterprise Strategy Group s report Ahead of the Curve (2004), for exampe, emphasises the need for education providers to engage with empoyers and to take a proactive roe in fostering and supporting industry-based research and deveopment. The report presents chaenges necessary for an adaptive and responsive higher education sector, incuding requirement to: be fexibe and adaptive to the needs of students and enterprises; be creative and innovative in deivery methods; faciitate mobiity of staff in both directions between academia and enterprise. Forfás (2005) aso outines an ambitious vision for the Irish workpace of the future and presents a set of recommendations that incude: A continuous earning and deveopment faciity that enabes individuas to identify and assimiate knowedge, skis, and abiities acquired in different contexts; Detaied regiona assessment of changing technoogy trends and ski requirements as a basis for regiona growth to inform and support proactive coaboration between industry and the third-eve education sector. 1

10 More recenty, Forfás (2007a) suggests that: Universities and, in particuar, institutes of technoogy wi have to deiver fexibe, market-driven soutions. This wi require these institutions to tap into market trends and to deveop improved inkages with potentia customers; There is a need to deveop ways of capturing data on skis needs at a regiona and sectora eve and to feed it back to education and training providers; Severa themes emerge from the above reports: Lifeong earning is essentia for the deveopment of human capita, which is inextricaby inked to persona, socia, and economic deveopment; Educationa provision for workpaces must be context-sensitive, fexibe, innovative, and adaptive; Deveopments must be informed by an understanding of the needs and opportunities, by region and by sector; The education sector needs to proactivey faciitate and simpify the engagement process; Higher education institutions and empoyers shoud strive for mature, ong-term partnerships that can meet and exceed current needs and anticipate future needs. There must, therefore, be genuine diaogue between third-eve education institutions, training providers, and those seeking earning, refecting the view expressed by the Industria Deveopment Authority (2005): Goba competition requires a coaborative, nationa team effort in which a key stakehoders activey contribute and assume their respective responsibiities to deiver on our shared nationa vision. 1.1 Strategic Innovation Fund Aims and Objectives The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is provided by the Department of Education and Science and is administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). SIF is a competitivey-driven resource stream to impement organisationa transformation. The fund is muti-annua, amounting to 510 miion over the period SIF aims to support innovation, and to foster coaboration between institutions competing for funding to: Incentivise and reward interna restructuring and reform efforts; Promote teaching and earning reforms, incuding enhanced teaching methods, programme restructuring at third and fourth eve, moduarisation and e-earning; Support quaity improvement initiatives aimed at exceence; Promote access, transfer, and progression, and incentivise stronger inter-institutiona coaboration in the deveopment and deivery of programmes; Provide for improved performance management systems and meet staff-training and support requirements associated with the reform of structures and the impementation of new processes; Impement improved management information systems. Through the coaborative nature of the projects, new strategic aiances have been deveoped and supported, providing new impetus for enhanced quaity and effectiveness. The OECD Review of Higher Education in Ireand Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors 2

11 made a compeing case for reform of third- and fourth-eve education in Ireand (OECD, 2004). Whie the sector is acknowedged as an engine for economic deveopment, higher education institutions need to rise to the chaenges of increasing their reevance, for exampe, through promoting access and participation by those aready in the workforce. SIF is an important eement in the investment in and reform of higher education institutions to enabe them to meet chaenges presented by changing socia and economic reaities whie buiding on their existing strengths. In this way, the projects funded through the Strategic Innovation Fund shoud improve the earning experience for a diverse range of earners at a eves. Two of the projects funded through the Strategic Innovation Fund, and ed by Cork Institute of Technoogy, focus on the non-traditiona student. Recent growth in non-traditiona student numbers and demands for up-skiing and upgrading quaifications is increasing the pressure on third-eve institutions to provide efficient user-friendy routes to quaifications. These two projects emphasise the importance of ifeong earning and pace significant emphasis on continuing professiona deveopment and up-skiing the workforce. The CIT-ed Education in Empoyment project, funded under the Strategic Innovation Fund Cyce 1, is a consortium comprising Athone Institute of Technoogy, Dubin Institute of Technoogy, Dundak Institute of Technoogy, Gaway Mayo Institute of Technoogy, Institute of Technoogy Sigo, Letterkenny Institute of Technoogy, Nationa University of Ireand Gaway, and University Coege Cork. The Education in Empoyment consortium is promoting a mode of education deveopment, deivery, support, and assessment - based on a number of underying principes: Learning (as a process rather than an event) is at the centre of the provision; Learning (forma, non-forma and informa) must be assessed and accredited; The workpace can constitute a rich earning environment, and work-based earning shoud be integrated into earning programmes; A sustainabe partnership between education and the workpace is necessary for the deveopment, deivery, support, and assessment of education in empoyment. The Education in Empoyment project, therefore, began to investigate work-pace education partnerships in each of the coaborating third-eve institutions. The resuts of the research iustrated that the existing partnerships were perceived as informa. As a resut of the research, members of the Education in Empoyment consortium were requested to either (i) estabish a new partnership, or (ii) buid on the goodwi with an existing partner, and in turn estabish the partnership on a more forma eve. The Education in Empoyment project, therefore, began the initia work on higher education and industry partnerships which became the main focus of the CITed Strategic Innovation Fund Cyce 2 project. 3

12 1.2 Roadmap for Empoyment Academic Partnerships (REAP) REAP is a Cork Institute of Technoogy-ed coaborative project, invoving eight higher educationa institutiona partners, which is funded through the Strategic Innovation Fund, Cyce 2. The REAP consortium comprises: Athone Institute of Technoogy, Dubin Institute of Technoogy, Institute of Technoogy Sigo, Institute of Technoogy Taaght, Nationa University of Ireand Gaway, University Coege Cork, and Waterford Institute of Technoogy. The REAP project is a ogica extension of the Education in Empoyment project which wi further engage the higher education institution, the empoyer, and the earner in a broader partnership for mutua benefit. Members of the REAP consortium aim to research the deveopment and vaidation of higher education empoyment partnerships. As a starting point for this activity, members of the REAP project identified earning needs in workpaces which shoud hep to draw up a comprehensive pan for partnership between empoyers and higher education institutions. For the purpose of this report, staff from the participating third-eve institutions focused on identifying and anaysing earning needs of seected empoyment sectors of regiona importance, in order to utiise their experience and expertise in fiing these earning gaps. The REAP consortium proposes to improve the nature of the reationship between the education provider and the workpace, by deveoping a mode of cooperation that recognises and vaues the needs and contributions of the worker, and acknowedges the workpace as a centre of earning, and the higher education institutions as key service providers. In ine with the Strategic Innovation Fund objectives, the REAP project wi bring about a new definition and scope for the term education to incude and embrace workpace earning, incuding earning through and at work. 1.3 Structure of the Report This report is divided into four distinct chapters. The first chapter serves as a genera introduction and provides a background to the report. Chapter 1 aso highights the aims and objectives of the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). Finay, the chapter provides a brief background to the Roadmap for Empoyer -Academic Partnerships (REAP), one of the SIF projects. Chapter 2 introduces the earning organisation and organisationa earning, exporing definitions of these concepts from the reevant iterature. The chapter aso investigates the basis for anaysing earning needs in organisations and expores the manner in which the anaysis of earning needs faciitates organisationa earning. Chapter 3 presents the findings of the empirica research conducted in each of the third-eve partner institutions to identify earning needs of various sectors in their respective regions. Members of the REAP working group devised an interview guide to conduct in-depth interviews with each of the identified nine sectors incuded in this research. Chapter 4 anayses the earning needs identified by the nine sectors addressed in this research. The anaysis shoud aid further coaboration between third-eve institutions and industry sectors and shoud address identified earning gaps. The chapter aso summarises some of the current initiatives which have been deveoped in response to the earning needs anaysis. A concusion to the report is aso incuded. Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors 4

13 Organisations, Learning, and Learning Needs 2.0 Organisationa Learning and the Learning Organisation Organisationa earning and the earning organisation are concepts which are frequenty used interchangeaby. Organisationa earning is often used to describe earning activities that occur in organisations, whereas the earning organisation is proposed as a particuar type of organisation (Garavan et a., 2009). Yeo (2005) suggests that organisationa earning is a process that seeks to answer the question of how earning occurs in organisations. Organisationa earning is a dynamic organic process. Probst and Büche (1997) describe organisationa earning as a process by which an organisation s knowedge and vaue base activey changes, eading to improved probem-soving abiity and capacity for action. Organisationa earning is unique to any institution, and is both quantitativey and quaitativey distinct from the sum of the earning processes of individuas, and is a product of the newer approach being adopted by managers, whereby coective thinking, open discussions, active negotiation of views, transparency, and integration of diversity is spread to a within an organisation. The term earning organisation represents a coective entity that seeks to identify the particuar characteristics of organisations which enabe them to earn. Murray (2002) suggests that the earning organisation focuses on the process of gaining, sharing, and using knowedge. The earning organisation seeks to expain how individuas in organisations transfer knowedge to faciitate the achievement of organisationa goas. Garavan et a. (2009) postuate that effective earning organisations are abe to tap both the commitment and capacity to earn at a eves in the organisation. From the many definitions of the earning organisation in the extant iterature, theorists agree that the earning organisation is predominanty viewed as an outcome. Organisationa performance is an outcome which is highy vaued. The earning organisation has been defined as: An organisation that faciitates the earning of a its members and continuousy transforms itsef (Peder et a., 1991). Senge (1990) defines earning organisations as those: Where peope continuay expand their capacity to create the resuts they truy desire, where new expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where coective aspiration is set free, and where peope are continuay earning how to earn together. Mumford (2000) offers an aternative view of the earning organisation, focusing on behaviour and practices: Creating an environment where the behaviours and practices invoved in continuous deveopment are activey encouraged. Various authors agree that the concept of the earning organisation draws on the organisationa earning concept to expain its rationae. Three ongstanding themes are brought together in the concept of the earning organisation: how to structure organisations to enhance performance; how to faciitate individua earning and deveopment in a corporate setting; and how to ensure that organisations adapt quicky to changes in their externa environment (Coopey, 1996). Probst and Büche (1997) contend that surviva of organisations in an increasingy competitive environment wi depend on the capacity of organisations to earn, and that successfu organisationa earning must be ongoing. 5

14 Simiary, Kob (1996) recommends that earning shoud be an expicit objective that is pursued as consciousy and deiberatey as profit or productivity. Probst and Büche further assert that an organisationa or coectivey constructed view of reaity can deveop ony if individuas are prepared to discuss and negotiate their individua views and by sharing these experiences across an organisation. The earning process in organisations requires the creative destruction of barriers to earning and the broadening of access to new sources of knowedge and experience. In many organisations this requires a new cuture of earning. Kob (1996) beieves that, ike individuas, organisations earn and deveop distinctive earning styes. Organisations do so through their transactions with the environment and through their choice of how to reate to that environment. Kob aso beieves that successfu organisations are not distinguished by any singe set of knowedge or skis but by the abiity to earn. Continuing success in a changing word requires an abiity to expore new opportunities and earn from past successes and faiures. The prevaiing view of earning organisations paces an emphasis on increased adaptabiity. More recenty, Stewart (2001) proposed that organisationa earning is a type of coective cognition. He envisaged that individuas are constanty seeking to understand their environment and to negotiate each other s earning experience. Learning occurs at mutipe eves and is integrated into everything peope do. Stewart further suggests that organisationa earning is a centra component of the work that eaders perform and not an add-on or deiberate process. Garavan et a. (2009) draw some cear distinctions between organisationa earning and the earning organisation. They suggest that organisationa earning is descriptive, whereas the earning organisation is prescriptive. Organisationa earning is concerned with identifying gaps in earning capacity and with structures that generate new information, whereas earning organisations expand their capabiity to earn and ensure a continuous capacity to transform themseves. From this brief anaysis of the extant reevant iterature, it is cear that earning needs anaysis is one of the key components of organisationa earning. Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors 6

15 2.1 Faciitating Organisationa Learning A number of authors have identified the pivota roe that organisationa eaders or senior managers pay in identifying earning needs which subsequenty faciitate organisationa earning. Senge (1990) advocated that eaders in earning organisations must be skied at disseminating knowedge, at encouraging staff to share their speciaised taents, and at faciitating knowedge transfer. Argyris and Schön (1996) indicated that earning that resuts from organisationa inquiry must be embedded in the images of organisationa members, its artefacts, and the organisationa environment. It requires a eadership vision and commitment to organisationa earning systems. Garavan et a. (2009) emphasise that the hiring of a key eader is one of the most important factors in faciitating organisationa earning. Leaders pay a major roe in heping individuas to reaise what they have earned, and they faciitate empoyees in setting the context in which earning can be meaningfu. According to Mumford (2000), managers sometimes tend to think of manageria activities and probems first, and recognise a earning need ony as a secondary requirement. Mumford suggests that managers shoud be encouraged to consider opportunities for earning because itte is ikey to happen uness managers themseves are engaged in the process. Mumford aso beieves that managers have to ead the deveopment of a earning organisation not just for their own persona deveopment, but aso because without their eadership a earning organisation wi not be created. Mumford (2000: 16) suggests that an organisation can be said to encourage earning when: it encourages managers to identify their own earning needs; it provides a reguar review of performance and earning for the individua; it encourages managers to set chaenging earning goas for themseves; it provides feedback at the time on both performance and achieved earning; it reviews the performance of managers in heping to deveop others; it assists managers to see earning opportunities on the job; it seeks to provide new experiences from which managers can earn; it provides or faciitates the use of training on the job; it toerates some mistakes, provided managers try to earn from them; it encourages manages to review, concude, and pan earning activities; it encourages managers to chaenge the traditiona ways of doing things. Overa, organisationa theorists summarise that patterns which faciitate organisationa earning incude: deveopment and continuous education; continuous improvement initiatives; commitment to earning by eaders; strong eves of organisationa trust; an abiity to pick up new ideas; a wiingness to experiment; benchmarking; and customer input (Garavan et a. 2009; Hardy and Dougherty, 1997; Easterby-Smith, 1997). 7

16 2.2 The Basis of Learning Needs Anaysis Learning needs anayses are undertaken in industry and business to determine the gap between the existing skis, knowedge, and abiities of staff and those that are needed for the organisation to function at the desired eve. Once this gap is determined, decisions can be taken on the type of training required (if this is the preferred action) and the form of deivery. Effective training needs anaysis is particuary important in the current rapidy changing workpace as new technoogies and fexibe work practices are becoming widespread, eading to corresponding changes in the skis and abiities needed. If training needs are identified systematicay, it wi provide vauabe information on who needs training and what trainees need to earn. Armstrong (2003) suggests that earning needs shoud be anaysed, first for the organisation as a whoe (corporate needs). Organisationa anaysis wi focus on both the externa and interna context. A primary focus of organisationa anaysis is with determining the appropriateness of training, given the organisation s business strategy. Organisationa anaysis aso considers the resources avaiabe for the training and the eves of support avaiabe. Second, earning needs wi focus on departments, teams, functions, or occupations within the organisation (group needs). Garavan et a. (2003) suggest that it is important to specificay isoate the team eve as an important dimension, given the increased use of teams as an organisationa strategy and because teams sometimes fai. Third, earning needs for individua empoyees (individua needs). Person eve anaysis invoves determining whether performance deficiencies resut specificay from a ack of knowedge, ski, or abiity, or whether they arise from motivationa issues. The anaysis at this eve may aso focus on the readiness of the empoyee for training. These three areas are interconnected as the anaysis of corporate needs wi ead to the identification of earning needs in different departments or occupations, which in turn wi indicate what individua empoyees wi need to earn. Learning or training needs anaysis is sometimes assumed to be concerned ony with defining the gap between what is happening and what shoud be happening. Training, therefore, is viewed at cosing this gap: identifying the difference in what peope know and can do, and what they shoud know and be abe to do. Armstrong cautions against adopting the deficiency mode approach, which impies that training is ony about putting things right which have gone wrong. Learning, is however, much more positive than that, as it is concerned with identifying and satisfying deveopmenta needs, encouraging peope to take on additiona responsibiities, increasing a-round competence, and preparing peope to take on higher eves of responsibiity in the future. 2.3 Why Conduct a Learning Needs Anaysis? One goa in conducting a earning needs anaysis is to determine if a earning need exists. Key stakehoders within organisations wi have information and perspectives on the earning needs of organisations or an industry sector. Garavan et a. (2003) identified four eves of stakehoders in organisations who coud hep to identify the earning needs of their organisations. These are: senior eve management, midde eve management, trainers, and subject matter experts. Senior eve management generay views the needs assessment process from the broader organisationa perspective. Instead of focusing on specific jobs, they are invoved in determining if earning and training are reated to the organisation s business strategy; and, if so, what type of earning or training is appropriate. Senior eve management is aso invoved in identifying what business functions or units need training (person anaysis), and in determining if the company has the necessary knowedge, skis and abiities in the workforce to meet its strategy and be competitive in the marketpace. Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors 8

17 Midde management is more concerned with understanding how training and earning may affect the attainment of financia goas for the units they supervise. For midde-eve managers, therefore, organisationa anaysis shoud focus on identifying: How much of their budgets they want to devote to training and earning; The types of empoyees who shoud receive training and enroment on earning programmes; Jobs where training and earning can make a difference in terms of improving products or customer service. Trainers need to consider if training is aigned with business strategy. Trainers, however, are primariy interested in needs assessment in order to provide them with the information to administer, deveop, and support training and earning programmes, incuding determining if training shoud be purchased or deveoped in-house; identifying the tasks that need to be trained; and determining top and midde-eve managers interest and support for training and earning. Subject matter experts are empoyees, managers, technica experts, trainers, and even customers or suppiers, who are knowedgeabe in reation to: Training issues, incuding tasks to be performed; Knowedge, skis, and abiities required for successfu task performance; Necessary equipment; Conditions under which the tasks have to be performed. Garavan et a. concude that there is no rue regarding how many types of empoyees shoud be represented in the group conducting the earning needs assessment. In summary, therefore, earning needs anaysis wi hep to: Identify what skis and knowedge individuas aready have; Highight skis/knowedge/competencies that need deveoping; Outine and define expectations and goas; Determine what can reaisticay be achieved, given the avaiabe resources; Identify any obstaces or difficuties which may arise; Increase the sense of ownership and invovement of individuas; Outine what resuts can be expected and if/how these can be measured; Determine whether to purchase training from an externa suppier or to deveop training by using interna resources. The earning needs anaysis conducted for this report focuses on various sectors of industries rather than on individua organisations. The sectors were identified by working group members of the REAP project and are intended to give a snapshot of industry sectors in various regions throughout the country. The identified earning needs are anaysed and presented in the next chapter. 9

18 Regiona and Sectora Learning Needs 3.0 REAP and Sectora Learning Needs Anaysis The objective of this particuar strand of the REAP project is to estabish the earning needs of empoyment sectors in a variety of organisationa sizes and types. Members of the consortium focused on identifying earning needs of strategicay important empoyment sector(s) in their region. Some of the sectors isted beow were anaysed separatey by more than one of the partner higher education institutions. These separate anayses were amagamated for the purpose of this report. A series of interviews were conducted by members of the higher educationa institutions in the partnership with senior executives representing the empoyment sectors identified beow. The main sectora areas incuded in this research incude: Community and vountary sector; Energy and sustainabiity services sector; Financia services sector; High potentia start-up (HPSU) enterprises; Lega sector; Pharmaceuticas sector; Retai sector; Sma and medium size enterprises; Tourism, Hospitaity and Leisure sector. A brief background to each of the above areas is presented beow in order to contextuaise the particuar sector. Existing and future earning needs of these sectors were expored to identify if there is potentia for further partnership deveopment between these sectors and higher educationa institutions. This chapter presents the findings from the research conducted with key stakehoders of the above nine seected sectors. Direct quotations from in-depth interviews are presented under three main themes: Identified earning needs in each of the above sectors; Accreditation of earning; Future forms of engagement between third-eve institutions and the sectors under investigation. Anaysis of the findings wi be discussed further in Chapter Community and Vountary Sector Brief background to the sector Irish society is characterised by a wide range of active and energetic community, vountary and third sector organisations providing vita services to communities and citizens on a nationwide basis. There are over 19,000 community and vountary organisations in Ireand, each paying an important roe in the creation of a more incusive society and making a significant contribution to the economy (The Whee, 2007). It is estimated that the community and vountary sector contributes 2.5 biion each year to the economy whie empoying approximatey 40,000 fu-time staff and 23,000 part-time staff with a further 31,000 vounteer staff (Centre for Nonprofit Management, 2006). Many of these organisations occupy what is known as the third sector or socia economy as they occupy the space between the statutory sector and the market economy. Over the past fifteen years Ireand has witnessed some fundamenta changes in the organisation of community and vountary sector activities. Some of these changes are refected in the changing nature of: the reationship Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors 10

19 between the state and the community and vountary sector; the significance of new modes of partnership; a renewed focus on community deveopment; and an emerging interest in the contribution of community and vountary organisations to the deveopment of the socia economy. Whie much progress has been made in this area, one of the primary issues facing community and vountary organisations is the capacity and abiity of the sector to continue to fufi increasing demands for reguation and accountabiity. This can be compounded by the absence of infrastructura support in the form of training, mentoring, eadership, management, strategic panning, financia supports and human resources. Identifying Learning Needs in the Community and Vountary Sector Five semi-structured interviews were conducted with representative organisations in this sector with empoyees across management and organisationa eves. The research incorporated a cross-sectora comparison to incude community organisations at oca, regiona and nationa eves. The interviews expored the possibiities of forming better reationships between third-eve institutions and community sectors. Community organisations wecomed the research and they viewed the research positivey as an important route to enhancing coaboration and future networking. Interviewees pointed to mutipe and overapping compexities in unstabe environments and the need to focus on aternatives to an over-reiance on government funding. Some of the issues specificay addressed incuded the provision of skis, knowedge and expertise, management skis, research needs, coaboration and networking, and identifying gaps in deveopment practice. Many of these issues were identified as major probems across organisations whie some organisations identified needs that were specific to their own organisation. The specific earning needs common to a organisations in this sector incuded: Fund Raising Strategies; Training and Deveopment; Research Needs/Coaboration; Business, Finance, and Strategic Panning/Marketing and Management; Poicy Training; Sustainabiity and Socia Enterprise Initiatives. Fund Raising Strategies Some organisations prioritised the importance of earning needs associated with fund raising. Interviewees beieved that fundraising is a specific earning need that is required by a organisations in this sector. The foowing quotation represents the views of the participants in this research: Fundraising is critica. Our crucia task over the next few years wi be fundraising. For students who are studying business the whoe area of fundraising coud prove beneficia in making inks with vountary organisations. These students coud hep vountary organisations to put together pans and strategies and carry out very practica pieces of work. This is one area where there is a huge need for expertise in community organisations (Director, Community Organisation). Interviewees aso suggested that third-eve institutions woud be in a position to end expertise in the areas of drafting funding proposas and appications for funding opportunities. It was aso perceived that third-eve institutions are in a position to assist the community and vountary organisations to deveop corporate inks in their oca regions. 11

20 Training and Deveopment The participants in this research viewed training as fundamenta to the success of their organisations in terms of advancement and of their abiity to adapt to change and as a vita investment in human capita. An additiona difficuty for organisations in this sector reates to the training and deveopment needs of vounteers. Many interviewees identified the need for a taiored programme to aid the professiona deveopment of their staff and vounteers. Specific training needs identified incuded: eadership skis, professiona supervision, programme panning, deveoping new and aternative modes of practice, and advocacy. Interviewees beieved that these were areas where better engagement with third-eve institutions woud have reevance. Interviewees identified a further earning need to train representatives from community and vountary organisations who sit on county and nationa boards. One interviewee suggested: There is a gap in terms of pubic administration, for exampe, equipping peope with skis to ensure that they have a stronger voice when sitting on boards with professionas (Board Member, Community and Vountary Sector). Two interviewees argued for stronger inks between the sector and third-eve institutions in order that community and vountary staff may benefit from the training expertise provided by third eve institutions, to hep them to progress in their careers. The interviewees acknowedged that training is being provided in some areas, but that organisation-specific training is acking. Research Needs and Coaboration A interviewees recognised the importance of deveoping research initiatives through enhanced coaboration with third-eve institutions. One interviewee, for exampe, highighted the need for a ongitudina study to track the progress of those who avai of their services. Expertise in ongitudina studies was identified as an area where there is earning need. This interviewee beieved that: There is a rea need for expertise in reation to tracking mechanisms over a three- to five-year period. This expertise is absent at present and woud give a good insight into what services work and what services do not. It coud aso inform changing practices that may be required within our organisation (Assistant Director, Community Organisation). Another interviewee pointed out that greater coaboration with third-eve institutions woud have mutipe benefits. She pointed to a need for engagement around critica evauation of the work of her organisation. She beieved such engagement might take pace through externa assessment by the third-eve institution: It woud be reay usefu if you coud have externa peope assess the work of our organisation. There coud be a roe for a report which coud be compied by third-eve staff. The assessment coud investigate and evauate many different areas of the work we do. It woud be good for managers in this sector to have networks with peope from outside the organisation and buid a reationship with peope who have an interest in what we do but are not caught up with the everyday running of the organisation (Project Coordinator, Community Organisation). Two of the community organisations incuded in this research deveoped inks in recent years with two oca third-eve institutions and these organisations have benefited from these partnerships. These two organisations currenty have staff members from third-eve institutions on their boards of directors, and this was seen as hepfu in terms of advocating on behaf of the community organisations. Deveoping research initiatives around particuar issues in the community was seen as a further benefit: Learning Needs Anaysis in Seected Empoyment Sectors 12

21 Having someone on your board from a third-eve institution ends a huge amount of credibiity to the organisation (Project Coordinator, Community Organisation). A number of interviewees beieved that coaboration in terms of conferences inking with third-eve institutions and other organisations coud be used as a way of enhancing shared earning. One interviewee aso identified a need for mechanisms to be put in pace to aow joint initiatives in areas of business and poicy deveopment, research, pubications, and raising pubic awareness. Business, Finance, and Strategic Panning/Marketing and Management Learning needs in reation to business were a concern across a organisations to ensure competitive positioning. The need for skifu eadership and management was viewed as particuary reevant in the current economic cimate. Business needs anaysis and cost-effective panning for community organisations were aso identified as key skis for this sector. A interviewees agreed that increasing reguatory contro on community and vountary organisations and demands for greater accountabiity present significant chaenges. The interviewees beieved that there is scope for third-eve institutiona invovement in their organisations for deveoping business pans and business needs anaysis. Other earning needs identified reated to training in strategic panning and organisation deveopment. A number of interviewees suggested that the training provided shoud be customised to adapt to the specific needs of community and vountary organisations. As one respondent noted: If someone was to come in and provide training in marketing skis it woud be great. The approach, however, needs to be different from a purey commercia organisation. There are differences in our sector and we need to be aware of these differences. There is aso a need for strategic management within community deveopment organisations. We woud wecome specific training which can combine community deveopment with a business orientation (Coordinator, Community Organisation). Interviewees woud wecome more invovement with third-eve institutions and have identified areas which they beieve woud strengthen such partnerships. The quotations presented are representative of a variety of identified business issues: There is a gap in the provision of resources for the business needs of community and vountary organisations. At the moment, we have someone working with our administration staff on accounting matters and that is very hepfu. If there were peope avaiabe from third-eve institutions who coud faciitate this type of training then it woud save us a ot of money because buying in expertise at the moment is proving very expensive. Aso, if students coud do this type of work as part of their pacement or if they were just interested in getting invoved at community eve then that woud be beneficia a round (Director, Community Organisation). There is a need for management training and aso a need for training for new board members. If third-eve staff with expertise in these areas coud come in and do this type of training it woud be beneficia to the organisation as a whoe (Assistant Director, Community Organisation). If third-eve institution staff woud agree to provide training in financia management that woud benefit our organisation greaty. If this training coud be provided within the community in the form of workshops it coud make the difference in eading peope on to access third-eve courses aso (Coordinator, Community Organisation). 13

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