New research from City & Guilds reveals that UK workforces are failing to keep pace with L & D investment in the workforces of employers in rapidly emerging economies such as India and Kenya, with 92% of Indian and 78% of Kenyan employers planning investment to upskill workers compared to just 54% in the UK.   So why aren’t UK employers keeping pace with the need to develop talent?

Peter Ryding, serial Turnaround CEO, champion of HR and founder of, believes this is largely because UK employers are failing to properly harness emerging tech developments opportunities in L&D and are stuck using old methods of learning that often don’t necessarily work.

“Old health and safety videos, which are seen as ‘tech’ because employees are charged with watching them on a pc with a headset, are viewed as nothing but a chore by the employee and a tickbox exercise by the employer. 

“We wonder why employees are not engaged?  The limited useful information is viewed negatively and rapidly forgotten (90% within 90 days!) yet many employers still use this method and the quality of their classroom learning often isn’t any better.

“Employers need to stop thinking about ticking boxes and merely gaining mandatory qualifications for their people, and embrace new, multi-faceted levels ways of learning and development that can better equip, empower and engage employees, coaching them to learn soft and hard skills one minute and apply them the next. so they put them into practice into the business as soon as possible.”

That’s exactly what is happening in the developing world.

India is not only becoming a leader in workplace education, they are embracing digital learning to a new level across their society, with even young children using smart phones to learn new skills.  These experiences are immersive, tech-rich featuring AI and VR, and most importantly, adapted to the needs of the learner.  It is this approach, says Peter, that is seeing tech trusted in overseas workplaces, with employers keen to invest in L&D technology they know will work. By contrast, many Western workplaces still view new tech with distrust – but could new tools like AI and VR transform workplace learning?

Peter Ryding explains:

“In L&D, when there isn’t always a clear return, learning budgets are tight – with old methods resulting in a poor experience for leaders and learners – whereas mentoring, proven to be highly effective in upskilling workers and managers alike, requires a higher investment. 

“As a CEO mentor and business coach, I was determined to create a learning platform that could deliver e-learning and e-coaching – “emulated coaching’ using AI would take the cost and scarcity of the human coach out of coaching. Doing this would slash the costs and make leadership coaching affordable for all employees – not just the bosses.

“That’s exactly what we did.  VIC your coach develops staff and executives to solve problems faster and get more done in less time, developing leadership skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.”

The developers harnessed best practice psychological and L&D research with AI technology to create an enjoyable experience that engages participants by incorporating multiple methods of learning.

The resulting system includes short, bite sized videos that are both memorable and practical, with reading and reinforcement in a system that is adaptive, predictive and proactive, automatically tailoring content shown to better engage and develop the each individual learner.

VIC Your Coach will work on any device with voice recognition and text to speech to emulate the human coaching experience, making it intuitive and easily accessible. It doesn’t just upskill workers – it also offers feedback for managers, giving them actionable data on their team, helping managers understand different learning styles, workplace personalities and opportunities for further employee development.

Peter Ryding concludes:

“Don’t get me wrong, VIC took time and budget to develop, but the result is ground breaking and innovative. It works – and it’s receiving praise from both employers and employees who rate it 10/10.

“There is absolutely no reason why this technology could not be adapted for other areas of L&D and start the same workplace learning revolution here that overseas employers are already enjoying.

“The biggest change we need to make is to raise our L & D expectations. The L & D budget is a productivity investment.  Instead of merely focusing on gaining new qualifications, or achieving mandatory training compliance, L&D professionals need to be seen and see themselves as coaches – developing staff to be the best they can be, rather than just ‘good enough’ to pass an exam or tick a box.

“Embracing new tech which can truly upskill workers is a great first step.”