Online College Helps Staff Upskill During Lockdown

Simon Quarendon | May 14, 2020

Sign language, acrylic painting, baking, growth hacking, copywriting, social media and digital marketing are just some of the skills that students are improving having enrolled into the Selbey Anderson Online College (SAOC).

The College, now in its fourth week, was set up exclusively for the benefit of Selbey Anderson staff. Over 60 per cent of the Group’s work force have enrolled into the College which was set up with the express aim of  helping them improve existing skills, and learn new ones, during the current Covid-19 crisis.

With all staff currently working from home, Dom and I decided to create the College so as to help raise morale and offer staff members the opportunity to learn something new, with students encouraged to choose one work-related skill and one non-work related skill.

Although aimed primarily at junior staff – some of whom were begining to feel the effects of not coming into the office every day – four MDs have also enrolled, as well as a Group Chief Executive Officer (Dom).

To help up administer the College, we appointed a training company (Realise) who have provided two ‘coaches’ who are supporting each student during the 12 week programme. Every student will receive a Certificate of Attendance at the end of their course, hopefully in person at a ‘Graduation Ceremony’.

We set up the College because we’re determined to get something positive out of the situation. For us, that means everyone returning to the office with improved skill sets, as well as having studied something of personal interest.

We’re hoping that the College will also act as a catalyst for creating even more of a learning culture across all the agencies in the group. It was an aspiration before; but we now think it’ll become a reality.

One of the MDs who has enrolled in the College, Mark Pinnes, from PR agency Flagship Consulting has said this about it; “Everyone has grasped the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities – not just within the work setting, but as human beings. That’s great for each team member, Flagship’s culture overall, and refreshes the depth of insight and range of skills we can bring to our clients.”