Delivering curated learning pathways at Camden Council
Camden Council is a hugely diverse organization, comprising around 4,500 staff in a vast array of professions. The Council is driven by strong values, operating under the mantra emblazoned on their office building: Not for the self but for all.Kickstart is a government initiative providing funding to employers to create job placements for young people on Universal Credit. Camden Council applied to get involved, and also applied on behalf of around 30 external organizations within the borough. Part of the funding goes towards the young people’s L&D, with a view to them gaining full-time employment after an initial six-month placement.
Many in the Kickstart scheme were starting out in the world of work in an online environment—but conversely, the Council was traditionally oriented towards 'Face to Face'. Even so, much of their F2F had been restricted to small subsections of the workforce, such as domestic violence awareness courses geared specifically towards frontline teams, such as social workers.
To meet the needs of learners, Camden Council needed to:
- Deliver a full learning offering, comprising content accessible to any member of staff on any subject, a pertinent example being the need for a more generalized introduction to domestic violence awareness
- Support staff wellbeing in the rapid transition to remote working, and maintain strong L&D practices despite the organization’s historical reliance on Face to Face
- Deliver blended, ‘just in time’ learning, with the flexibility to support the emerging needs of the new Kickstarters.
In the meantime, Camden Council knew they needed L&D content available immediately for the Kickstarters, but they also wanted the option of building on and developing the materials in the future, once they had garnered greater insights into the newcomers’ individual learning needs.
In the move to online learning and work-from-home, Camden Council recognized the risk of overloading learners—especially the Kickstarters—as the L&D team trialed various virtual methods.So to carve out a defined path as they looked to the future of work, the Council drew on Mind Tools to create learning resource packs. Starting with the domestic violence awareness materials, the Council collaborated with internal experts and collated resources to create a comprehensive resource accessible to staff of different levels, depending on their needs.
Camden Council drew on Mind Tools to create around 20 playlists for their Kickstarters on topics such as personalities, preferences, and professionalism in the workplace. Using our toolkit, they assembled further materials centering around such subjects as interview skills, customer service, project management, and CV building, so the newcomers had easy access to highly relevant and useful information as they began assimilating with the world of work.
We worked with Mind Tools to develop the offer, because we wanted managers to support Kickstarters to have access to the learning resources they needed now, rather than waiting for a course. This was especially true because the placements are only for six months. Managers needed to quickly understand the extent to which people were using resources, and what effect they were having.
With the Mind Tools for Business toolkit, the Camden Council were able to adapt to the emerging needs of the new cohorts of Kickstarters entering the ranks. The external organizations for whom the Council applied to the Kickstart scheme now also have access to Camden Council’s bespoke Mind Tools L&D resources.
The Council were delighted with how the Mind Tools learning content eased their learners’ transition to remote working, especially because it channeled people’s enthusiasm for F2F into the unfamiliar but nonetheless stimulating realm of virtual L&D. Camden Council are looking to better understand how the move away from F2F has impacted learning in the organization. It is clear that more staff now have access to the learning resources they require, when they need them. There is more work to do to understand how these changes have influenced how people learn across Camden Council and how this is impacted when more people return to the office.
"We carried out a survey which showed that over half our employees (53%) wanted to continue working remotely post-pandemic for at least 75% of the time. In thinking about the future of work, then, we needed to consider how to retain and build the connection with the place and communities we serve when our staff are working from home. We need to avoid creating a split workforce, with frontline staff in the office and back office staff at home and we need to ensure that the are high quality learning opportunities that are accessible to all staff."
Tom Spencer—Lead for Learning and Development, Camden Council
Mind Tools has proved a key component in solidifying the Council’s approach to L&D during these unprecedented times, and paving the way for a unified, inclusive culture in which staff, new and experienced alike, have their individual learning and development needs met by high-quality, easy-to-digest, accessible content on a daily basis.