3 Strategies to Help Providers Establish a Lifelong Learning Partnership with Employers

Claudia Reiners
February 23, 2022

3 Strategies to Help Providers Establish a Lifelong Learning Partnership with Employers

4bf428ed6af9ff680b7ac8b24b046f3d?s=50&d=mm&r=g Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

Establishing long-term partnerships with employers is an excellent way to guarantee a steady stream of reliable and eager students.

These partnerships enable you to predict how many new students you’re likely to take on and when, streamline your enrolment process, identify which emerging and in-demand skills your client will need ahead of time, and build new courses to solve these skills gaps.

But what is the best way to build these partnerships? How do you best communicate the benefits of lifelong learning to employers?

In this article, we’ll go through three key strategies to build a resilient and robust relationship with clients based on the principles of lifelong learning.

What is lifelong learning?

Lifelong learning is an approach adopted within the workplace that centres around the idea that professional development should be more than one-off courses – proper training programmes should build the skills and knowledge of workers throughout their entire career.

Education providers should collaborate with employers to provide consistent and relevant training suited to each company’s needs, that can be then ascribed to individual employees. 

Rather than filling in skills gaps when they occur, a provider will be able to help a company prevent emerging skills gaps in the first instance.

Additionally, employers will be able to build a culture of lifelong professional development, helping their workers realise their true potential.

What are the benefits of lifelong learning for companies?

The best way to entice clients into taking on lifelong learning practices within their workplace is to demonstrate its benefits. 

Companies that build and invest in long-term plans to upskill their workforce will see improvements in several areas, including retention, acquisition and company morale. This, in turn, can lead to higher productivity and increased profits.

Here are three key benefits:

An increase in retention

Keeping highly productive and valuable employees should be the aim of any company. But it’s all too easy to let good talent slip through the cracks and move onto new places.

Some employers will have trouble nailing down the key reasons why they struggle to keep employees for longer periods of time. This can be a serious issue if they can’t find a way to get on top of it.

According to the latest research, the average cost of replacing an employee earning £27,000 a year can be as much as £11,000.

Research from LinkedIn shows that establishing a dedicated and long-term training programme can help prevent significant turnover. The research has found that 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they invested in their career. 

As COVID-19 has demonstrated, there is still room for improvement training across every workforce. Education providers can be more proactive in approaching, and assist companies to see the big picture and understand the financial incentives of establishing a culture of lifelong learning.

Attracting new talent

Lifelong learning is an incredibly useful tool for recruiting the best talent to your company. 

A survey from Forbes found that 86% of workers said that they would change jobs if it meant there would be more opportunities for professional development. 

Therefore, a company that invests in ongoing professional development will have a competitive advantage in the labour market. Those who offer and promote lifelong learning may find themselves sourcing – and even poaching – valuable talent from their competitors. 

The impact of lifelong learning on attracting and building a wealth of talent is undeniable. Providers should leverage these benefits to form meaningful, two-way relationships with employers.

Protection against staff shortages

A third of UK businesses experienced a shortage of workers last year, with the most common reasons being a lack of new and qualified applicants. 

Skills and worker shortages can damage morale and stretch resources within companies. The same survey revealed that over 60% of businesses reported staff working longer hours to make up the difference.

Providers should look to demonstrate how companies can train from within in order to mitigate the risks of staff shortages. 

Together, providers and employers can establish a clear professional development path for each employee. Employers who plan to upskill employees will be better positioned to adapt and solve unexpected skills shortages. 

How to sell your lifelong learning programmes to companies

After explaining the benefits of lifelong learning to companies, it’s important to understand how you can grow and scale the courses you provide to grow alongside them.

  • Understand their goals and needs for the next month, year or decade

    Companies can scale at high-speed rates, and being able to cope with new employees, new departments, and new educational needs will be vital if you want to establish a long-term education journey with them.

  • How can you help them to scale?

    The key strategy is to understand where the company sees itself going and demonstrate how you can keep pace with their emerging demands. Before approaching employers, know exactly which courses you will be able to deliver and which courses you plan on developing soon. This will streamline and strengthen your initial conversations with them.

  • Where are they looking to build talent?

    Speak to representatives of the company about what their overarching vision is and align your mutual goals to this. A brick-and-mortar store that only needs training in specific areas might also benefit from training with UX design and web development down the line if they choose to move into e-commerce.

How to provide the best plan possible

Once you feel that you’ve explained the benefits of lifelong learning to a potential client and have established the critical points of growth and expansion they will be focusing on, it’s time to provide them with an in-depth, tailored plan.

Build out from case studies from previous clients

If you’ve worked with similar companies before, or have seen success in establishing a lifelong learning programme with other clients, use this as a base to work from. 

As you learn more about the business’s unique needs, you can begin to tweak your programmes to better suit your new client. 

Employers and companies alike want to know your success with implementing lifelong learning programmes. Demonstrate your previous wins through testimonials, case studies and media kits. 

Learn and use industry knowledge

Find key examples of companies who have the best reputation in the industry and become an expert on the best courses, skill areas and practices for employees in the sector you’re looking at.

Remember, it’s about more than just keeping up with the competition. Your lifelong learning programme needs to be able to react to changes in the industry, be up to date with the latest technologies and innovations and will allow your clients to always be one step ahead of the competition. You should know the sector inside and out before providing a lifelong learning plan to companies.

Lifelong learning can be a great opportunity for both providers, employers and the broader workforce.

Establishing this style of partnership with clients can help you generate a reliable stream of high-intent students, whilst providing them with a wealth of benefits such as employee retention, talent acquisition and employee satisfaction.

If you’re curious about how you can take your workforce development and corporate training to the next level, get in touch with our sales team to discuss how Candlefox can help you.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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