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Learning at Work Day


Learning at Work Day is 20 May 1999

‘In the global marketplace, knowledge, skills and creativity
are needed above all to give the UK a competitive edge …
Business must encourage and support all their employees
continually to develop their skills and qualifications.’
Our Competitive Future:
Building the Knowledge Driven Economy, DTI

‘Learning is at the heart of a company’s ability to adapt
to a rapidly changing environment. It is key to being able
to identify opportunities that others might not see and
exploiting them more rapidly and fully.’
John Browne, CEO BP

‘A Learning Organisation is one that benefits from the
full brainpower, knowledge and experiences of all its people
to make sense of the world. It consciously transforms itself
in its search for excellence. It actively encourages the learning
of all individuals who work for it and with it, at the same
time implementing systems to ensure that the organisation is
itself a learner. The working environment of a learning
organisation is high challenge, low threat.’
The Campaign for Learning’s definition of a learning organisation.

The recent Competitiveness White Paper is very clear that successful modern economies are built on the abilities of their people, stressing that knowledge and skills are critical to the performance of British business. It has challenged the business community to create a learning culture in the workplace to help build the knowledge driven economy.

Learning at Work Day (20th May) is a unique opportunity to sow the seeds of a learning culture at work. It is part of Adult Learner’s Week, the annual celebration of adult learning organised by NIACE, the national organisation for adult learning. The Campaign for Learning is working to create learning opportunities at workplaces throughout the UK on May 20. We hope that participants will be inspired by their involvement to continue learning at work throughout 1999 and beyond.

Of course, learning happens in the workplace on a daily basis. The learning can be haphazard and unplanned, however, resulting in low productivity and wasted effort. Effective learning is a combination of many factors that will vary with the individual. However, most people will benefit from a combination of forward planning, time to consolidate and a low risk environment. The common experience of being ‘thrown in at the deep end’ rarely includes these factors.

The Campaign for Learning is organising Learning at Work to provide inspiration for more effective learning at work.


Learning in the workplace can be made more effective through a variety of informal techniques:

Get into the habit or reviewing your learning on a daily or weekly basis. Ask yourself ‘what did I learn from that?’ regularly.

Take the opportunity to explain something you have learnt to a friend or colleague. Teaching is a great way of learning.

Set yourself realistic learning goals. Send your learning goal to the Campaign for Learning’s Pledgometer at Campaign for Learning

Try and work out your personal learning style. Visit the Campaign for Learning web site for more information about discovering your learning strengths.

Don’t think of mistakes as hideous experiences that you want to forget but treat them as an opportunity to learn something.


Learning is a lot easier if your workplace is an environment that supports and encourages learning. Use Learning at Work Day as an opportunity to persuade colleagues, employees and managers to create more learning opportunities at work. The Campaign will be producing a Learning at Work Day pack with detailed suggestions on how to get involved. Some of the suggestions are listed below:

Remember the BBC series Back to the Floor? The nation was riveted by the learning experienced by Chief Executives as they got back to their roots. Encourage your Chief Executive to get back to the floor on Learning at Work Day. If he or she cannot spare the whole day ask them to spend time in your organisation’s Learning Centre, if you have one.

Organise morning/afternoon job swaps for colleagues from different departments. The morning will be spend in one colleague’s department and the afternoon in the other colleague’s department.

Organise a Learning Lunch Hour. Activities could include:
- A visit to a learning fair organised by local colleges and learning providers.
- A session on First Aid from the St John’s Ambulance
- A reading group
- A discussion with a local environmental group about learning to Go Green at work
- A visit to the Town Hall to learn about how the local authority spends the council tax
- A visit from a Community Nurse to learn about recognising childhood diseases

A Learning Tour of the Internet guided by staff who are familiar with the Internet. There is an enormous variety of subjects that could be of interest, including football, films, home improvement or cooking. Children are often experts in this area. Ask a local school if they are willing to organise visits from pupils who could act as tutors.

Work with your local radio station to organise a phone-in on what sort of learning normally happens at work, and how things could be improved.

Invite your suppliers in to the workplace to give your staff more information about how their products or services work

Run a workshop for staff to discover from each other the computer skills timesavers that aren’t in the manuals.

Ask each department to list their top five stress busting tips

Ask local education providers to donate a free learning opportunity to a prize draw

Make a commitment to Investors in People

Contact your local TEC (Training and Enterprise Council) to find out what they will be doing and how you can work together.

Work with your Personnel department to launch a new training initiative

If your organisation has a Learning Centre use it to run a workshop on using the Internet. If not, work contact a business partner who has to discuss a collaborative venture for both workforces.

Ask your Personnel Department to help you and your team identify their personality types and how they affect the team’s work

Obtain the Learning at Work series of booklets from the Campaign for Learning. Areas covered include Making Better Presentations, Effective Team Working, Brushing up on Customer Care, Contributing to Meetings and Improving Telephone Skills
Ask Trade Union representatives what they are planning


Up to 10 grants of £300 will be made available for learning providers and small companies to develop work based learning activities on Learning at Work Day. The learning activity must be targeted at the small business sector.

Activities could focus on taster sessions, job swaps, learning fairs, a learning lunch hour, information and advice sessions!

Learning Works grants are sponsored by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
How to Apply

Please send your proposals marked Learning Works on no more than two sides of A4 to the ALW team at NIACE. You should describe the activity involved, how you would use the grant and the range of media coverage expected. You should also include a detailed budget which lists your planned activities and the costs associated with them.

Proposal should be submitted by Friday 5th March 1999 to NIACE, contact us at:
21 De Montfort Street
Leicester LE1 7GE Tel: 0116 204 4200 Fax: 0116 223 0050
Website: NIACE


The Campaign for Learning will be working with a number of its corporate sponsors to stage a variety of national activities, including a major national workplace event. This work will extend to local authorities such as Hampshire, Birmingham and Warrington and out into the voluntary sector. The Campaign’s Learning at Work Group is developing a network of influential Chief Executives who will be speaking out publicly about their commitment to learning.
A national Internet activity will also be coordinated to introduce staff to the benefits of the Worldwide Web.


We are working on two planning packs to help you organise Learning at Work Day activities. The packs will include more information about some of the activities described earlier, planned to be available at the end of February, and a guide to keeping you local media involved, to be available the end of March. Posters, bookmarks and coasters are also planned.


We plan to encourage both national and regional media to raise the profile of Learning at Work Day. To do this we need information about your plans. Please let us know what you are planning by post or e-mail.

Please tell us if

ö You are interested and would like to receive a planning guide

ö You are interested and would like to receive a media pack

ö You would like to receive …………(enter number) A2 posters

Learning at Work Day, Campaign for Learning
19, Buckingham Street, London, WC2N 6EF, Tel 0171 930 1111, Fax 0171 930 1551
Campaign for Learning


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