How to increase productivity and retain staff

As developments such as AI usage and data science become increasingly important many businesses are acutely aware of gaps in their knowledge at all levels in the business. Falling behind in key skillsets reduces competitiveness and productivity.

The current government has targeted key sectors of the economy to fill roles in areas where there are skills shortages and encourage businesses to reskill or upskill their employees. These sectors include well documented shortages like HGV driving, health and social care and construction but also broader skillsets that increase productivity across all businesses like project management, data engineering and digital marketing.

To support this they have introduced Skills Bootcamps. Bootcamps are training courses of up to 16 weeks, designed to help companies reskill current employees from one area of the business to another, or to simply update their skillset, particularly where technology has played a part in changing their role. There are also bootcamps for those that are unemployed, to return to or start a new career in a sector like those mentioned above.

The Department for Education is providing funding for businesses to use these courses to overcome one of the main barriers to training – budget. They will fund 90% of the cost for SMEs or 70% of the cost for larger businesses training their teams.

The Data and Marketing Association has been delivering bootcamps on behalf of DfE for two years in Digital Marketing Strategy and Data Analytics and Measurement.

What we have learnt

Bootcamps are primarily used by SMEs that typically have very small budgets for training – government funding makes upskilling affordable. They are also conscious, post covid that they must remain competitive in how they communicate with their customers, and that their marketing spend must be effective in its targeting and provide good return on investment.

We have seen both leaders of small businesses and new junior hires benefit from practical training delivered by industry professionals. Larger businesses are using bootcamps to onboard new junior staff to get them up and running in the early days of their employment, or to add digital marketing skillsets to more experienced marketing teams.

The other barrier to training is time but the training is proving a time saver. It helps motivate and retain employees. But also, new skills and abilities create more confident and empowered marketers to make required changes in the business such as opening new channels, improving website conversion or using AI and customer data effectively.

Five things you should do if you are sending someone from your team on a bootcamp:

  1. Check who is delivering it – are they specialists in their field?
  2. Really think about why you are sending someone – what extra roles and responsibilities do you hope to give that person as a result of the training
  3. Which areas of your business will improve
  4. Plan the time into their diaries to attend to fully benefit and encourage them to share their knowledge.
  5. Know the DfE Bootcamps rules:
  • Learners must be 19 or over.
  • Be resident or work in England
  • Have a National Insurance number
  • Learners must be able to attend most live sessions on the course.

DMA’s Digital Marketing Strategy Skills Bootcamps are delivered throughout the year using Zoom classrooms to facilitate national availability. For more information on DMA Bootcamps visit our website .

For more information on DfE’s Skills Bootcamps in general visit the Government website .

About the author

Kate Burnett, General Manager, DMA Talent - Data and Marketing Association

DMA Talent - Data and Marketing Association

Kate Burnett is the general manager at DMA Talent – Data and Marketing Association.

Kate works with businesses, education institutions and charities to create opportunities for young people to explore what the industry has to offer and is passionate about equipping young people with the skills and knowledge to start and build a career they will enjoy.

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