24th July 2014

Skills for Health is delighted to announce that it has taken ownership of the Skills Platform from Skills Effect. The Skills Platform, an online marketplace and community, offers those working within the voluntary sector a place to search for direct training, mentors, consultants, employees and practitioners that are able to help them strengthen skills within their field1.

Image: Skills Platform from Skills Effect.In 2012 Skills Effect successfully bid for UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) funds to develop the Skills Platform, with the idea of creating a better, more effective base of information and activity around skills development in the voluntary and charity sector. The platform provides an online market place for skills where training providers can freely advertise their goods and service, and employers/individuals can access and compare solutions to their training needs – but also work collaboratively together when existing solutions are not available. It also offers the facility for employers to make their training provision available to external customers (for example, many employers run in-house courses where excess places can be made available to external individuals/organisations).The initial development of the Platform has shown that what was initially designed as a solution for the third sector has a wider significance and application for skills development across the UK economy as a whole. The platform, which was first pilot launched to providers in December 2013 and to employers in January 2014, was very well receive. With a small amount of promotion, nearly 1000 individuals/ organisations established profiles offering skills development or training, alongside 1000 employers who registered on the site, with over 4000 individuals accessing learning resources to date.

With over a third of the voluntary sector provision operating within the health sector foot print, the move from Skills Effect to Skills for Health was a logical step for both parties, to support mass take-up of the service. Skills for Health has already a very significant web presence with other online products and is in an ideal position to sustain and grow the platform to its full potential.

John Rogers CEO of Skills for Health has recognised the obvious benefits to the wider health sector. He comments, "Skills for Health recognises the hard work that Skills Effect, UKCES and the wider third sector have invested in the initial development of the Skills Platform. We are keen to take the Platform onto the next level of its expansion and to ensure we build on the solid foundations created by Skills Effect. The Skills Platform has a huge potential to revolutionise collaboration in training and development across the third sector, the health sector and beyond. We look forward to working with all of the key stakeholders who have engaged with the Skills Platform to date and to realising the wider potential of the platform."

Keith Mogford, the CEO of Skills Effect will be moving to Skills for Health as the Development Director for the Skills Platform. He comments: "The popularity and the success of the platform so far has proven that there is a need for the service and the continued use of a skill sharing system within the sector. We are particularly delighted with the progress of the online community and I am pleased to be able to take this forward within my new role at Skills for Health. I am confident that the move is the most beneficial for the platform, with Skills for Health being in a very strong position to support the Platform for the long term."

In order to establish a successful new basis for the Skills Platform, Skills for Health and Skills Effect have agreed that the Platform will continue to be promoted into the voluntary and charity sector, as well as launched into the health sector in 2015.

Significant plans to expand and improve the site are already underway with upcoming steps for the platform including:

  • Further site development to improve ease of use for purchasers
  • Opportunities for partners to syndicate their content to and from the platform
  • Maximising benefits to supplier through a new 'no win, no fee' charging system
  • New benefits to buyer through discount offers that are exclusive to the site and cashback on purchases.

Improvements in the service will start to come into operation over the next two months. SfH will be working closely with suppliers, customers and partners to introduce a major launch of the platform for the third sector in November 2014, and for a health sector launch in early 2015.

To view the platform please visit: www.skillsplatform.org

1Skills Platform combines marketplace functions that allow individuals and organisations to search for training and other skills development services; compare those services; make enquires, and where appropriate purchase service online using an integrated online payment facility.