Procurement · 5 January 2016

Majority of workers want training to help them get to grips with new software

Some 15 per cent of workers in their late twenties and early thirties found using new programs difficult and wanted training to help

Almost two thirds of workers want better training to help them understand how to use new computer programs, according to new research by accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson.

Older workers struggle the most with new and updated software – with almost 40 per cent of employees in their 50s struggling to keep up. But some 15 per cent of those in their late twenties and early thirties also found adapting to new programs difficult.

Jason Mitchell, a partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said: “Good training that treats all staff as individuals goes a long way in helping them learn software packages and reduces the resistance to learning that, according to our research, increases with age. Encouragingly, most of the people we spoke to felt that they could master new software but they wanted to do this over time and not be under pressure to be ‘instant experts’.”

“We found that people overwhelmingly prefer hands-on learning from practical demonstrations rather than lecture-style training. And they wanted to be allowed the time to experiment and learn at their own pace after formal training sessions. No one wanted to be labelled as an expert after a single software training event,” he added.

Around half of employers provide extra training and support for employees who are struggling, the research also revealed.

Yet micro businesses are less likely to provide employees with digital training than larger firms are.

Another study, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and published in September 2015, found that fewer than one third of small enterprise owners have a business plan in place which includes digital training.

Additionally, some 80 per cent have never received external support to develop their businesses’ digital skills.

UK business owners are increasingly turning to freelancers to plug digital knowledge gaps. Freelancer marketplace Upwork revealed in November 2015 that skills in Adobe Photoshop and the WordPress blogging platform both made it on to the list of the top ten skills businesses look for in contractors.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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