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November 2018
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Nottingham County Council Strengthens Commitment to Skill's E-learning

Nottingham County Council (NCC) has made the decision to substantially increase its investment in online learning from SkillSoft, a leading provider of on demand e-learning and performance support solutions, in order to deliver more training to a wider range of employees, but at less cost than traditional classroom training.

In all, Nottinghamshire County Council has purchased up to 30 courses from SkillSoft with the potential for up to 1,000 users to access each one. Brian Fairchild, NCC service manager learning and development, says that old-style teaching on such an extensive scale would, -not be an option given the current economic climate. Yet he believes that providing SkillSoft e-learning courses will more than maintain the quality of training while extending its reach across the organisation.

Kevin Young, SkillSoft general manager EMEA, reports increased interest from public sector bodies as they investigate ways to maintain training momentum despite the threat of government budget cuts. -This situation is becoming a catalyst for change; giving councils the opportunity to re-assess the way they deliver training and discover that e-learning has matured and is now a viable alternative.

Fairchild explains that previously, only Nottinghamshire County Council’s IT department used SkillSoft e-learning to deliver training for ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) accreditation. The council had also developed its own online course in-house and the new service from SkillSoft enables the council to build on this success.

-We wanted a programme that covered three different areas, he says. -First, we needed a wide range of general business and personal development courses that we didn’t have to design and build ourselves. Then, we wanted software with an authoring tool so that we could create our own tailored courses. And, finally, we needed to deliver higher level training combined with our own management resources such as HR guides, currently held on a dedicated intranet site.

-We put this all in one tender, but hadn’t imagined that one company would be able to do it all and had envisaged dividing it up among several suppliers. However, we were delighted when SkillSoft demonstrated that they could, in fact, cover our entire brief themselves.

SkillSoft is currently implementing the software with the aim of going live next month. Fairchild is looking forward to a streamlined system with all e-learning courses across the council delivered via a centralised SkillPort interface. -This alone will make delivery of courses far more efficient and manageable, he says.

He says that e-learning will also help the council’s risk plan. -For example, we are at the moment planning strategy in case of a flu pandemic. Recently we had to cancel training sessions because tutors were ill. What with having to re-schedule everyone’s diaries it turned out to be a time-consuming and, therefore costly exercise. Of course, with e-learning this isn’t a problem – and even if an employee is ill, they can easily go back and catch up without involving anyone else.

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