News story

Upskill: new book launching at World of Learning

Carmarthen, WalesLearning NewsCrown House Publishing

The UK is in the depths of a skills crisis – the nation is ranked at the bottom of its international class on key measures*. Two decades of underinvestment and failed policy on skills has led to the UK lagging well behind its European competitors. Crown House Publishing will launch Upskill at World of Learning: a new book presenting a rich resource of reliable learning solutions to help busy professionals respond and adjust to the fast-paced world around them.


In their 2017 policy report – From ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Outstanding’: Making the UK’s Skills System World-Class – the CIPD found that employers in the UK train less and invest less in skills than most other EU countries. Meaning that in the UK the lack of key skills among employees is more acute than in any other European country. 

In fact, nearly half of employers who are committed to developing their staff, say that they want to provide more training than they have been able to, with the main barriers being a lack of time and the costs involved. 

Three quarters of the CEOs surveyed in PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2016 Global CEO Survey believe that a skilled, educated and adaptable workforce should be a priority for all businesses. However, while overall investment in staff development has gradually increased over the last two years, there is evidence that more of this investment is being spent on the development of senior leaders than on first-line managers and their employees. 

At a time when the stakes are higher than ever and most days feel like you're a hamster on a wheel, is there something that can be done within businesses and organisations (even small ones) to reverse this skills crisis? 

Increasingly, line managers, section heads, supervisors, co-ordinators and project leads working in SMEs, who are all responsible for developing others, don’t have the time, the resources, the budget or the confidence to identify appropriate staff development initiatives. 

As a management group, they are highly motivated to create a more agile and adaptive workforce but unfortunately are often too immersed in operational concerns, to make learning and development a realistic priority. According to Towards Maturity, 44% of those managers who do look for help, are unable find what they need. This may be because these smaller organisations can rarely afford the luxury of an in-house HR or training function to help advise them on improved working practices. 

Enter Chris Watson. In his new book, Upskill, Chris presents a rich resource of reliable learning solutions to help busy professionals respond and adjust to the fast-paced world around them: providing over 800 practical ideas grouped around a bundle of 21 adaptive skills associated with successful outcomes at work and beyond. These skills – which include communication, collaboration, creativity and interpersonal awareness – can be practised and refined throughout a career, and have all been shown to be associated with greater operational agility. 

Chris shares a plethora of options to support personal and professional development, including: novel methods and approaches, time-saving apps, relevant books and resources, thought-provoking quotes, topical insights, hand-picked videos and numerous links to engaging websites. The majority of the hints, tips and techniques can be actioned without having to access any external support or invest in any additional outlay, and are as relevant for new starters in an organisation as they are for experienced managers.

World of Learning takes place at the NEC in Birmingham, 16-17 October.