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By: Marla Ovenden-CooperPublished On: July 29, 2021
Corporate social responsibility, CSR is a term generally used to refer to individual businesses and organizations that choose to consider how their operations affect their communities and manage their impact on society, the environment and the economy. CSR initiatives are often affiliated with fundraising, the environment and with the intention of benefiting society or their community as a whole. Certainly, we have seen many businesses become involved in CSR fundraising supporting Covid 19 efforts over the past year and a half. With the slow return to normal and corporations having to manage transitions, corporate social responsibility may and likely should look very different in 2021-2022. Many companies have already begun to include educating communities and their teams as part of their CSR strategy.
If one accepts that educating the workforce is a responsibility of more than just government and that corporations have a role to play, where should companies start? Prior to the pandemic, the World Economic Forum estimated that 1.4 million people will lose their jobs by 2026 as a result of technological change, with more than 70% of those job losses happening because the job type will cease to exist. Considering that Covid19 spurred on a digital surge in almost all industries and is estimated to have accelerated digital transformation by up to 6 years it seems like the perfect place to start. Reskilling the workforce is an important priority. Many jobs will and are starting to come back, but some will have a slow return and many may be absent altogether. Think about workers in the childcare field. Remote work is here to stay, most certainly affecting childcare workers, especially those who have worked in the before and aftercare industry. Similarly, millions of people used online ordering systems and online shopping during the pandemic. Front-line workers in retail may find limited positions and opportunities as companies shift product distribution to primarily online models. Those positions most greatly affected have been in the service industry, resulting in a larger proportion of females and minority groups being affected. Educating this workforce and reskilling is the perfect opportunity for CSR as the world begins to open up.
The IT industry, which includes many roles that are part of digital transformation has long been working towards diversification and in many cases has fallen short of its goals. The opportunity to diversify is now in front of companies and organizations. With women being impacted greater in the pandemic, many women may be looking for or forced to transition careers. Now is better than any time to encourage displaced employees to join the IT field. What better way to impact society than to provide training to employees or to future employees? Many IT positions require soft skills first and the technical skills can be learned afterward. For example, hiring a person with the soft skills that suit your company’s culture and then provide them with training such as the CompTIA A+ or CompTIA Network+ course. The concept that skills can be taught, but attitude is what matters has long been an important component for filing IT gaps, such as the cybersecurity skills gap. Companies have learned that cybersecurity courses and training pathways that lead to cybersecurity certifications can be valuable tools to assist them in filling roles.
One of the biggest challenges in a CSR strategy to help educate and train a transitioning workforce is overcoming confidence gaps. Part of any successful CSR strategy should include not just offering training to staff or potential employees, but promoting this training to diverse groups, including career transitioners. Awareness training is key to helping employees and future employees recognize that re-training into the IT field does not need to include a three or four-year degree. Non-IT professionals can transition into the IT industry through certification pathways. These pathways allow individuals to train, certify and then apply what they have learned in a specific job role. After spending time in the job role, they may choose to upskill to learn more and get another certification. For example, many individuals start their IT career by obtaining a CompTIA A+ certification and after time in the field, they return to take the CompTIA Security+ certification. The fact that IT is already an industry built on short courses and ongoing skills training makes it the perfect place for companies to help others, their company and their community move forward in the post-pandemic period.
The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog