Simon Le Tocq, Chief Executive of the GTA University Centre looks back over another successful year for the organisation.
2023 was a very busy year for the GTA which saw course bookings return to pre-pandemic levels. Our dedicated team of 14 staff coordinated the training and development for just short of 2,500 delegates, delivering 274 courses across 21 different subject areas.
The pace of change has been significant in the years since COVID; it has ripped up business plans and forced employers to adapt and flex in ways thought unimaginable before the pandemic. We have an operating environment which is more complex than ever and a future that's even harder to predict! At the GTA we have had to respond to new ways of working and studying to ensure we keep pace with the needs of the local workforce.
2023 was the year AI went mainstream. It is hard to believe that “the internet” was only first available in 1993 and that in the space of 30 years a task to analyse data and discover trends which may have taken hours or even days, AI can now do in minutes or seconds. We are still coming to terms with what AI is and how it can be used but from personalised learning experiences to content creation, AI is going to have a significant impact on how employees learn.
With that said, while there may be a natural inclination to rush toward shiny new AI-powered technologies, it is important to remember that any learning design must start with the learner and centring humans will be an important part of making sure new tools are effective. Automation and algorithms are reshaping job roles but strong ‘human’ skills such as empathy, creativity, critical thinking and leadership are irreplaceable and will become increasingly valuable in the age of AI.
In 2023 the GTA delivered 528 personal development courses (the softer skills or human’ skills) and we expect to see increased numbers here in 2024. And whilst I have no doubt that the demand for online learning will maintain its upward trajectory, indeed, the hybrid courses that we now offer (where learners can join a course either in person or virtually) have seen increased take up, we still see a strong preference for the physical classroom over the virtual one. Online learning offers many advantages but, in our experience, there is no real substitute for the focus on human interaction that face-to-face learning offers.
We saw strong demand for Project Management training in 2023 which is perhaps reflective of a growing recognition that project management is a distinct role requiring specialist skills (and not just a bolt-on task to the day job). In 2023 we saw 40 delegates on 15 courses, with new online virtual live and self-paced qualifications added to the GTA offering alongside face-to-face options.
Our exams team were exceptionally busy last year with a 155% increase in the number of exam candidates that came through our doors mainly due to commencing delivery of the Life in the UK exams for the Committee for Home Affairs. We also saw an increase in numbers of individuals and employers approaching us to assist with facilitating professional and higher education exams that may have only been available off island.
Director training also saw strong numbers on courses in 2023 which is excellent news for Guernsey boardrooms. We saw record numbers going through the IOD Company Direction programme with 3 cohorts, one in-house programme and a total of 57 delegates. The NED Development Programme, our mentoring programme for aspiring directors, also attracted very good numbers and we were able to offer 20 placements on boards ranging from local charities to London Listed funds.
We continued to see increased demand for bespoke training in 2023; this is an area in which we have developed considerable expertise as more organisations have begun looking towards personalised learning and development solutions for their employees. Our team will sit down with you to understand your needs and challenges and create a solution that will help your team perform better. In 2023, we designed 45 such across a variety of different subject areas delivered both in-house and at the GTA.
Working in partnership with the Guernsey International Insurance Association and the Sagacious Group we were also delighted to launch a brand-new professional qualification – The Guernsey Certificate and Diploma in International Insurance Management. This is a great example of joined up working with industry to ensure the local workforce remains upskilled and keeps us ahead of competitor jurisdictions. We were also delighted to see our first 5 successful candidates achieve the certificate qualification – with many more registered to take the exam in 2024.
The range and depth of the programmes we offer are extensive and constantly updated as we work to ensure our learning portfolio meets the needs of the local workforce. We are very proud to be able to say that 94% of delegates that completed training with the GTA last year would recommend us and we would like to thank each and every one of our customers for their support in 2023.
Whether it is an exam, a professional qualification, a coaching programme, personal development or cpd we look forward to assisting you with your learning and development needs in 2024!
If you would like to learn more about how the GTA can help you on your learning journey, please call 01481 224570 to speak to one of our Programmes Managers.