Soft Skills

Sponge Drives Power Skills at Imperial College Healthcare

Bristol (UK), September 2022 - Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and digital learning provider Sponge have launched an admin and clerical people training programme ('ACE') to develop essential soft skills.

Consisting of over 14,000 employees across five large hospital sites in North West London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust supports over a million patients every year. Recently, it has partnered with Sponge to increase the number of employees accessing non-mandatory training via eLearning, bringing more efficiency and modernisation to NHS training programmes.

Prior to working with Sponge, the Trust had leadership and personal development training in place, but this was usually delivered in a classroom-based setting with little flexibility on offer for employees to engage with the training in between shifts. Employees either couldn't access the training or were too busy, so there was a significant skills gap when it came to admin and clerical work.

Additionally, there were cultural challenges. Many employees were used to classroom-based training delivered via a presentation, and shifting this mindset was a key success measurement for the training.

Sponge worked with the Trust to develop engaging “Skill Pill” microlearning modules, lasting no longer than 30 minutes, with interactive quizzes to complete at the end of each module. Sponge mapped and delivered its Skill Pill learning library content to meet the learning needs of the Trust.

To drive internal engagement, Sponge also produced a series of marketing initiatives to help promote the learning to the wider organisation, and used reports and insights when appropriate to show learning trends that could then be used to adjust the courses.

"The digital learning programme that Sponge developed has set the standard for what learning should look like within the Trust," said Claire Shimell, Management Development Consultant, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. "People now expect this level of training, delivered in a modern and engaging way, which can fit around their day-to-day work. Our partnership with Sponge has been critical in helping to upskill our employees."

Since partnering with Sponge, the Trust has seen a demonstrable cultural change when it comes to its internal training. There is now an expectation that digital learning experiences will match those from the ACE programme, and the flexibility of the digital learning has had a major time saving impact for employees who are operating in a fast-paced environment.