October 2018: Looking to the future
September in the trade union calendar means Congress - the movement’s annual conference - and this year was the 150th one. That’s time for reflection on the past (which you can do with this very nice collection of 150 stories), but also for a focus on the future.
We presented this video on the big screen at Congress, introducing WorkSmart to the delegates. And we had loads of useful conversations with people at our stall.
It was great to see a lot of enthusiasm, and particularly good to get feedback from young union activists on what they’re seeing in their own workplaces. There's a lot of positive work going on out there, and it's great to see how we could be a part of helping much more of it happen in the future.
Training to get on
A big part of getting on at work is access to training. Our research found that if you’re younger, you’re much more likely to get a really raw deal from your employers. They’re less likely to invest in your future by providing useful training, especially to staff on short term, part time or agency contracts.
We’ve been lucky to be able to work with Carnegie UK Trust to research what training and skills younger workers need to get on, and the ways we could deliver those better as part of WorkSmart. Carnegie have funded a research sprint for us, enabling us to reach out to experts and industry bodies as well as workers to get a better picture of the situation in sectors that employ a lot of young workers, like social care.
That’s also helped us build and test prototypes for future WorkSmart features that can help workers make sense of the range of training opportunities out there.
And the doors are open!
It’s been a long wait but we’ve released our beta app onto the Google and Apple appstores. We’re now starting to work with the 2,000 young workers who pre-registered for the service. We’re using analytics to see how they react to it, and learn where any sticking points might be.
We’ve had more user testing this week, where we’ve been talking with young workers about our initial content around self-confidence and building work relationships, as well as testing possible interfaces for interactions in the app. Eight users have given us some great pointers in how we sharpen our materials, but have shown us we're very much on the right track to meet some of their needs.
The more eagle eyed of you will have noticed that the TUC has two WorkSmarts. We’d already been using that name for our long-running work advice website. That content won’t be going anywhere for a while at least, but later this month we’ll be switching its design around, so that we can introduce the new service more coherently to our users.