The Five Best Tips to Know Before Starting Your College Adventure

Have you received your acceptance letter to the college of your choice and are you ecstatic to begin your college adventure? We definitely want to begin with a word of congratulations and kudos for continuing your education. 

Before your semester begins, there are a few pieces of information that can help you be better prepared for college life. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to avoid any surprises and what you might expect during your first semester. 

Keep reading for all the necessary details to help you prepare for the upcoming semester!

Plan for the Long Haul

You might be feeling a bit ambitious about starting school and want to take as many classes as you can fit into your schedule while still keeping your sanity. While this might work for some people and upperclassmen, it’s important to pace yourself. 

length of a semester will vary between schools. Typically a shorter semester will mean more intense classes while a longer semester allows for a bit of a slower pace but possibly more in-depth coverage of a subject. 

If a semester is really short (like a winter intersession) it is not advisable to take more than one or two classes at a time. No matter how long your semester is, all of your classes will be measured in credit hours. It can be tempting to take a large number of credit hours in order to get a jump start on your college career – be careful doing this as it can cause you to burn out before you get into the true ‘meat’ of your degree!

You can schedule your classes around work or work around your classes, but try to pick a style of scheduling and stick to it. This will help your employer adjust to your needs as you progress through your degree. 

If you are attending a physical university, as you are scheduling your classes have a map of the campus near you. Having classes that are back to back and across campus for each other will end up giving you an unintended workout.

Start Saving Now for Your Books

The Five Best Tips to Know Before Starting Your College Adventure

Even if your tuition is covered by a scholarship or financial aid, there is a chance that this money won’t stretch far enough to cover your books. Unfortunately, brand new books are super expensive and it seems like every semester a new version comes out which keeps the cost high. 

Ideally, you can start saving now for your books. If you can email your professor before the class starts, find out if the newest version is necessary or if a book that is a few years old will suffice. Opting for an older version means that you might be able to
find the book online at a cheaper rate than the brand-new text at your campus bookstore. 

Sometimes the newest version is necessary. Find out if the book can be downloaded instead of purchasing a hard copy. Typically a downloaded version will be cheaper and you can print off the pages as you need them if you choose to do so! 

Expect Less Oversight

If you’re starting college the semester after you graduate high school, you might be expecting to have teachers breathe down your neck and constantly as you about your assignments. In college, you won’t be micromanaged.

It will be up to you to get organized, know when projects are due, when the exams are, and generally be able to keep up with your readings as they are assigned. Chances are, your professor won’t even know your name unless you happen to be in a very small class or you make an effort to introduce yourself.

Take Advantage of Office Hours

When you’re enrolled in a class that seems overwhelming, you can ask for help during your professor’s office hours. Most of the time, you won’t need an appointment and can just pop in as you need. 

Meeting your professor outside of the classroom will show that you are interested in the topic and are trying to do your best. Often a professor will go the extra mile to ensure you understand complicated lessons and be a bit more lenient with grading if they see that effort has been made.

Attend Class 

Attending class might sound like silly advice but you’d be surprised at how many people will skip class just because there isn’t an attendance policy in place. By doing this, you are only hurting yourself, throwing away tuition dollars, and missing out on pertinent information that will make your life easier when it comes time to study for your next exam. 

As a freshman, most of your classes will probably have attendance policies. Take these policies to heart; failing a class because of too many absences (even if you have a passing grade) is a horrible feeling and a waste of money!

Making the Most of Your College Career

The Five Best Tips to Know Before Starting Your College Adventure

Even if you were a shy kid in high school or weren’t quite as popular as the cheerleaders and football players, attending college will be your time to shine! You can become whoever you’d like and join clubs or intramural sports teams without the fear of judgment. 

There are professional societies, Greek fraternities and sororities, and even religious clubs. All of which will be open to you because you’re a student!

Most campuses are so big that people won’t necessarily know you but such a large number of people will make it easy to find your niche, make friends, and really live the college experience. Get involved in various activities and clubs; attend the sporting events to cheer on your team. 

It will ultimately be up to you to ensure that you enjoy your college adventure and learn as much as possible about your chosen field. Have fun and enjoy it! 

11 Great Benefits of Online Education

When it comes to earning a college degree, the benefits of online education can’t be disputed. 

If you’re thinking about taking a college course online, we’re offering a list of 11 amazing benefits of online education plus this list of
affordable online colleges to make your decision easier!

Mortar board and a graduation diploma

1. Flexible schedule

One great benefit of online learning is the opportunity to study while working full time or taking care of your kids. Whatever responsibilities you have during the day, you can always study at the time that is most convenient for you. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice sleep, commute to a physical classroom, or arrange (and pay) for childcare.

2. A variety of programs to choose from

Any course you can think of – you can take it online. You can study business administration, sociology, history, English, computer science, accounting, fine art, sport management – you name it! The greatest part about this option is the fact that the world is your oyster. You can truly choose a subject that is close to your heart, even if it’s originally taught on the other side of the planet. Don’t let geographical coordinates stop you anymore.

3. It’s cheaper

By choosing online learning you can save hundreds of dollars! In the case of online education, the traditional costs associated with using equipment and physical classrooms don’t apply. All you need is the right software and hardware in order to be able to log on and complete your assignments. 

In addition, by not having to commute to a university or college to take the course, you will save money on gas and car maintenance. Finally, you can use this saved ‘commute time’ to study and take tests in the comfort of your home.

4. Multiple channels of communication

One of the best things about online education is the flexibility of communication. As seeing your online college professors isn’t always possible, you can communicate with them via various channels including email, phone conversations, live chat, etc. This means you get multiple chances for constructive feedback, as well as an opportunity to ask questions at any time. 

5. Create a perfect learning environment

Whether you’re studying at home, during lunch break at work, or while visiting relatives, you have an opportunity to customize your learning environment according to your preference. You don’t need to use crowded places like libraries any more! 

You can dedicate an entire room in your home where you’ll be able to study in peace and quiet. For those who are rather shy – you don’t have to worry about having to interact with other students. 

6. Learn at your own pace

With online courses, you no longer have to compare with other students or pressure yourself to keep up with them. In some cases, you might get through your assignments and exams in record time because the material is easy for you to understand, whereas, in others, you might need more time in order to comprehend the concept. Be as it may, the important thing is you’re in charge of your own progress! 

7. Access course materials any time

With online courses, you can review your course materials however often you like and at any time you want – even at 2 in the morning. You have access to a variety of materials like written materials, podcasts, and videos. You can take online notes that will help you to better understand the class materials, flip through screens with ease, or use the “find” function to quickly pinpoint relevant paragraphs. 

You can even take online exams and quizzes and get your score right away. Online education systems have immediate scoring systems to inform you how you did on the test and save you from lots of stress.

8. Transfer your credits

Want to transfer your college credits? No problem. All you have to do is conduct careful research of the universities and colleges you’re interested in and you should be able to arrange credit transfer.  

Contact the admissions offices of the institutions you’ve chosen to get a list of the online courses they accept for credit transfer and get your degree faster.

9. Improve your career advancement opportunities 

Is advancing your career conditioned by having a higher education degree? Then, you can easily upgrade your skills and knowledge by taking online courses. Compared to traditional courses which usually take years to complete, now you can get an opportunity for a raise or promotion in a matter of months!

10. Development self-discipline

When people aren’t forced to attend classes at a physical location, they have to manage their own tasks and time and develop some serious self-discipline. If this seems impossible for you, you can use a time management tool and online calendars. 

However, if you do manage to boost your self-discipline, you’ll have a great skill that will prove very useful even after you complete your college education.


11. Connect with fellow students

Online colleges provide an opportunity to discuss classroom assignments using live online discussion sites or chat forums. This way, you’ll be able to converse with fellow students, swap ideas about assignments, or get your questions answered without having to go to a physical meeting place. 

In addition, you can join online study groups. People who study online often form study groups using free online tools such as Skype or Google Hangout in order to be able to study remotely with other students. All you need is a computer and a headset. You can present documents, share screens, use virtual whiteboards, organize your study projects, etc. 


In Conclusion

Online learning offers a great number of benefits, but these are the top 11 ones to help you figure out if online courses are the right choice for you. 

Supply Teachers Face Uncertain Future


Britain’s army of supply teachers – and the recruitment firms that partner with them – face an uncertain future as schools across the UK close their doors to pupils. That is the warning from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

There are currently tens of thousands supply teachers working across the UK, with government figures revealing that £1.3 billion was spent by maintained schools and academies on supply staff in 2015/16 and 2016/17 alone.

Unlike permanent teaching staff, supply teachers who are out of work due to school closures are likely to be directed straight towards the benefits system.

According to guidance from teacher union, NASUWT, agency workers who have three months continuous service may be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) subject to earning a minimum of £118 per week if they are self-isolating. However, Supply teachers who are well but unable to work due to school closures could claim Universal Credit or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

Commenting on the current situation, Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Affairs at APSCo, said:

“School closures will have a major impact on our members working in the education sector and the supply teachers they partner with. With ministers suggesting that schools could be closed until September, there is no end in sight – and for the supply staff that schools heavily rely on in usual circumstances, if there is no work then there is no pay.

“Education recruiters, meanwhile, will be in the unenviable position of deciding whether to terminate assignments with their clients and will also have to look at their own business continuity planning given this decision. There is also the issue of protecting the income of the flexible workforce given that other sectors are also being impacted. We hope that the package announced by The Chancellor to help businesses survive this crisis will be accessible soon and easily.”

One In Five Women Have Quit A Tech Role Due To Discrimination Or Harassment

women in tech

Studio Graphene has commissioned a survey of over 500 full-time professionals in the UK technology sector to uncover the diversity problems that tech firms currently face. It found:

  • 60% of respondents acknowledged that a lack of diversity is an issue in the tech sector
    • Women (66%) are more likely than men (56%) to hold this view
  • Half of women (49%) have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace
    • A fifth (20%) have resigned in the past because of discrimination or harassment in the workplace


In terms of potential solutions: 

  • The most popular solution is improved protection for whistle blowers – 62% of women are in favour of this
  • 58% of women want to see more flexible working practices that support parents
  • 54% back anonymising CVs during the recruitment process to prevent bias
  • Less than a third (32%) of people, and even fewer women (29%), want to see mandatory representation quotas


Half of women have experienced discrimination while working at a tech firm, new research from Studio Graphene has revealed.
The London-based digital agency commissioned a survey of 500 full-time workers in the UK tech industry. It found that 49% of women have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace, while 20% have resigned from a role in the past because of discrimination or harassment.
The majority (60%) of respondents believe that a lack of diversity is an issue in the tech sector, though women are more likely than men to hold this view (66% versus 56%).
When it came to potential solutions to the diversity crisis, the most popular option among women is improved protection for whistle blowers – 62% are in favour of this option.
Studio Graphene’s research showed that 58% of women want to see the introduction of more open working practices, such as flexible and remote working, to help parents with young children. Furthermore, 54% back the move to anonymise CVs during the recruitment process to prevent bias. 
By contrast, setting a mandatory representation quota of women in tech companies is a less popular solution; less than a third (32%) of people, and even fewer women (29%), support this idea.

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “The results of the research are striking; not only are there too few women in senior positions across the UK tech industry (77% of tech director roles in the UK are fulfilled by men), but there is also an alarming number who face discrimination and harassment in their roles. Meanwhile, there are less obvious but still important issues to consider, including the way that company cultures and working practices could be ostracising women.
“Tech firms are in the throes of a diversity dilemma and should take heed of these results – new interventions are desperately required to foster inclusion in the sector. We ought to be celebrating gender and ethnic diversity, but first startups and large corporates alike must stringently assess how they perform when it comes to hiring, supporting and promoting minority groups.”

Home Education In The UK Up 130% Since 2013


Home Education In The UK Up 130% Since 2013

The number of children being homeschooled in the UK has more than doubled since 2013, a new study has revealed.

The research, conducted by Oxford Home Schooling using Freedom of Information requests, found that the number of students being taught at home increased by 130% between 2013 and 2018, from 24,824 up to 57,132.

Some local authorities, however, saw far larger rises than others.

Barnsley Borough Council reported the largest increase in the UK, with its home education population multiplying more than eightfold over the five-year period. The number of children registered as homeschooled grew by a massive 772%, from 65 up to 567.

It was followed in the list by two Welsh councils – Pembrokeshire and the Isle of Anglesey – which saw increases of 642% and 640% respectively. Overall, Wales saw the highest average growth of any UK region (206%).

Scotland, on the other hand, experienced the smallest increases, with an average rise of 82%. In fact, while only three UK councils reported decreases in home education, two of these – Shetland Islands (-16%) and North Ayrshire (-11%) – are Scottish.

The 10 councils which have seen the largest increases in home education since 2013 are:

1) Barnsley Borough Council (+772%)

2) Pembrokeshire Council (+642%)

3) Isle of Anglesey (+640%)

4) Bury Metropolitan Council (+523%)

5) Slough Borough Council (+441%)

6) Wakefield City Metropolitan District Council (+385%)

7) Blaenau Gwent County Borough (+375%)

8) City of Edinburgh (+308%)

9) City of London (+300%)

10) London Borough of Camden (+297%)

However, the local authority that has the highest proportion of homeschooled children is East Sussex, where 1.68% of students are taught at home. Over 1,200 pupils are taught at home, out of 74,000 school-age children.

The 10 councils which have the highest proportion of homeschooled children are:

1) East Sussex (1.68%)

2) Barnsley (1.67%)

3) Peterborough (1.64%)

4) Torbay (1.54%)

5) Norfolk (1.49%)

6) Somerset (1.26%)

7) Cornwall (1.25%)

8) Plymouth (1.24%)

9) Blackpool (1.22%)

10) Medway (1.21%)

Dr Nick Smith, principal at Oxford Home Schooling, said: “People choose to homeschool their children for all kinds of reasons. It could be because the student has special educational needs, has been bullied at school, or has other interests, such as sport, that make traditional education impractical.

“Homeschooling allows families to spend more time together, developing the parent-child bond, and gives students the kind of one-to-one attention that can sometimes be lacking in a school environment.

“The increases seen in our study are therefore unsurprising. The growth of home education reflects the UK’s changing educational needs.”

To see a visualisation of the data and to discover the councils near you that have seen the largest increases in home education, visit:

Gender Quotas Give Women A Position, But No Power


Gender Quotas Give Women A Position, But No Power

Quotas to get more women into executive positions do not actually change legislation or policies around gender representation, finds new research from BI Norwegian Business School.

Benny Geys, Professor of Economics, and Rune Sørensen, Professor of Political Economy and Science, studied the long-term effects of executive gender quotas in Norway which had been in place for over 20 years. They used local government data and studied how the sudden increase in the number of women in positions of political power affected women’s overall political representation as well as local public policies.

With Norway implementing gender quotas since the early 1990s, the country ensures at least 40% of each gender must be put forward in local councils to be placed on a board; the key decision-making body in local politics.

Although more women have been placed in executive boards, the researchers found no evidence for shifts in public policies despite the increased representation of women in executive positions.

The quota induced a modest increase in the representation of women in local councils, but did not increase the reality of women being selected for mayor or other top administrative positions. Important parts of local decision-making processes remain controlled by men as most mayors are still male.

This highlights that having more women in decision-making political positions, such as executive boards, may remain ineffective in changing policy if other institutional, structural, and organisational barriers are not addressed – regardless of the global assumption that having more women in executive board positions leads to changes in how business and politics approach gender inequality.

As more countries are introducing gender quotas around the world, policy makers should take these insights into account, as quotas alone will not be effective due to other undermining factors. They should search for additional, or alternative, approaches to enable women to have an influence on policy.

These findings were published in Electoral Studies.

Women In The Workplace – The Work That Still Needs To Be Done


Women In The Workplace – The Work That Still Needs To Be Done

While women continue to drive change in the working world, from championing flexible working to tackling the gender pay gap, much still remains to be done.

As we approach International Women’s Day, we speak to a group of female lawyers to hear their take on how far women have come, and what employers can do to continue to drive the change that is needed.

Ipswich-based law firm Prettys is unusual in the legal world as it has four female partners, equal to the men.

Here, the women of Prettys including partners Vanessa Bell, Georgie Hall and Georgina Rayment, as well as senior associate Louise Plant, offer their advice on how employers can put the right policies in place to continue breaking down the barriers that are still holding back many women in the workplace…

The gender pay gap

Progress in tackling the pay gap between men and women is slow, says Vanessa Bell, Prettys’ head of employment law.

But she has seen some positive steps taken to tackle the gender pay gap, particularly in the legal world, in ensuring women have greater development and sponsorship opportunities through measures such as talent and leadership training programmes.

Forward-thinking companies are also increasingly offering enhanced parental leave benefits and promoting agile working to support staff trying to juggle parenthood and a career.

“A number of initiatives and campaigns have developed over the past few years to help promote opportunities for women in the workplace,” says Vanessa.

“One of these is the Mansfield Rule, which measures whether law firms have considered women lawyers for promotions, senior-level hiring and significant leadership roles.”

Supporting working mums

With many women taking career breaks to have children, Louise Plant, head of personal injury, highlighted what practices good employers should have in place for working mums.

“While it’s still often the case that the job can require long hours, employers should be becoming more alive to parents being able to work more flexibly in terms of hours and location so that a work-life balance is maintained as far as possible,” she says.

“A good employer recognises that the more they can do in terms of flexible working to assist parents where possible to be with their children, can ultimately result in those employees feeling valued, which in turn can lead to them working hard – and being loyal to a supportive employer.”

Dress codes

When MP Tracy Brabin faced criticism for wearing an off-the-shoulder dress in the House of Commons, it sparked a debate on dress codes in the workplace. And particularly whether women are unfairly judged on what they wear.

Georgie Hall, head of private client, urged people to challenge gender bias.

“Most workplaces have a sense of ‘appropriate’ attire but there is often a lack of discussion between what employers think is necessary, what service users find appropriate and whether there are job specific image requirements. The issue of gender is also thrown into the mix,” she says.

“The more that we recognise the need for discussion, the greater our chance of acknowledging that the real value-added focus should be on a person’s performance.”

The next generation of women in law

With figures showing that the number of women choosing a career in law is growing, things are certainly heading in the right direction.

Law Society statistics reveal that while 50.8% of qualified solicitors are women, the rate at which they are being added to the roll is over 60%. The figure for women entering university to study law is higher still at almost 70%.

But Georgina Rayment, who heads Prettys’ family law team, says that comparatively, the number of female partners in law firms is much lower, at around 30%.

“That figure will inevitably grow because of the increasing number of women entering the law industry.  Improved knowledge and information through work experience, careers fairs, vloggers and social media is accelerating the change, as is a cultural shift in law no longer being seen as a male domain.  Along with more flexible working practices, this knowledge makes the prospect of a career in law more accessible and encourages female solicitors to actively seek promotion.

70% Of Students Wouldn’t Be Able To Cope Without Internet Access


70% Of Students Wouldn’t Be Able To Cope Without Internet Access

Integrating smart technology into purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is a key issue for providers, operators, higher education institutions and their wider communities, as more students expect accommodation that can fulfil their internet access expectations.

In partnership with The Class of 2020, the leading European think tank focused on the past, present and future of co-living, co-working and PBSA in cities, fibre broadband specialist Glide has developed a research plan to study student and staff perceptions and attitudes of current and prospective applications of smart technology among residents and staff living and working in PBSA.

The research is also supported by YouGov Profiles insight on full time students’ attitudes to smart tech and examined the impact of smart tech across the different stages of a student’s residency.

The research found that students are taking the lead in early adoption of smart tech, with 57% claiming they are usually interested in trying the latest technology products, services, and apps, compared to 40% of the GB nat rep audience.

A super-fast and reliable service is key for this audience, as 80% claim super-fast broadband is important to them and a further 70% admit they wouldn’t be able to cope without internet access.

Smart tech and the rise in voice assistants is also changing the way that students study – rather than trawling the university libraries, 88% of respondents say the internet is their main source of information, and 50% believe that using cloud storage (like DropBox, or Google drive) is just as secure as saving documents to a computer or phone.

Nearly half (48%) of students believe that being able to give verbal commands to a digital assistant is a real time-saver – indicating that the traditional methods of studying are very much in the past.

With this in mind, it is important for PBSA providers to ensure that its network can cope with the hundreds of user devices trying to stream and connect simultaneously.

By making building connectivity and infrastructure future-proof, student accommodation developers and building operators can meet their objective – they can continue to be at the forefront of constantly shifting technologies and focus on meeting the demands of a modern high bandwidth student community.

The research also found that smart tech could play a key part in ensuring students feel settled and comfortable during their first weeks following arrival.

When asked what smart tech they would find useful ahead of arriving at their new student accommodation, 94% of respondents felt an online room view would be useful, and over one in three (35%) say smart tech assisting them in the booking of common or shared study and social spaces would be helpful.

Implementing smart tech to feel more safe and secure was key for students during the pre-arrival stage of university, with nearly two thirds (65%) of respondents claiming a smart security system, such as smart keys, would be useful.

Most useful aspects that smart tech could support with on arrival:

●     Online room view (94%)

●     Smart security (65%)

●     Smart intercom (59%)

●     Smart accommodation entry (59%)

●     Self check in systems (18%)

Interestingly, less than one in five (18%) would prefer a self check-in system, with respondents claiming that although they would be interested in smart security systems, they also wanted the reassurance of having a physical person at reception for further security and any emergency assistance required.

As well as helping students settle in during the pre-arrival stage, the research also looked at the aspects where students felt smart tech would help them live more comfortably during their residency.

Unsurprisingly, convenience was key, with the majority of students claiming that having connected services to help with laundry, cooking and creating a comfortable living environment would be the most useful.

Smart tech that students thought would be the most useful during their residence:

●     Smart Laundry System (94%)

●     Smart Environmental Control (88%)

●     Study room availability monitoring (88%)

●     Residence App (88%)

●     Smart Kitchen amenities (35%)

Tom White, Sales and Marketing Director at Glide, said: “Moving into purpose-built student accommodation is a lifestyle choice. Modern PBSA should not just deliver spaces to sleep in – they should be environments that inspire and enhance the lifestyle of the student.

“With the rise of streaming, and the increase in the number of courses that rely on a high speed internet connection, student accommodation providers need to ensure that accommodation can service the needs of its residents.

“We recently became the first student broadband specialist to offer a gigabit broadband connection to PBSA developers, offering a product that presents a unique opportunity for UK operators to leap ahead of the competition with the right brand of student experience and best-in-class student broadband.”

Millions Of Mums Prevented From Returning To Work Due To Out Of Date Skills Report Reveals


Millions Of Mums Prevented From Returning To Work Due To Out Of Date Skills Report Reveals

London-based company Digital Mums, which trains mothers in social media, has released a report revealing that a lack of up to date skills is preventing millions of mums from returning to work after having a baby. 

The report reveals the ‘mum skills gap’ has stopped 21% from going back to work after having a career break. The survey of 2,000 mums by One Poll reveals that 28 per cent said it had prevented them from applying for jobs, equating to almost 2 million mums. * Meanwhile 18% said it has stopped them getting a specific job they had applied for.

The report reveals that just under half of mums (49%) reveal they have done no formal training in the last three years with cost being the biggest barrier. Twenty-three percent of mums said they would be more likely to upskill if the Government paid course fees, followed by 15% who cited employer financial support and 12% who would like to see their employer reduce workload to free up time.

A total of 20% of respondents to the survey revealed they are currently out of work, more than five times the national unemployment rate. Despite well publicised campaigns to boost flexibility in the workplace, the inability to preserve a work/life balance remains the biggest challenge in returning to work – a challenge for 52% of respondents. Arranging childcare comes next at 49%, followed by flexibility, 43% and lack of confidence 23%. 

For millennial mums, mental health is a particular challenge, stopping 26% of 18-30 year-olds returning to work, compared to 17% on average for all mums. Meanwhile twenty-two per cent of millennial mums said they haven’t done any training due to mental health challenges.

Digital Mums is calling on mums to ‘learn in’ by training for the skills they need and is calling on the government, employers and learning providers to do more to support them. 

Digital Mums’ recommendations include:

·  The government should invest more in adult learning and trial ‘back to work’ bursaries for women returners. 

·  Learning providers should design courses with mothers in mind and provide online mobile-optimised lessons where possible.

·  Employers should provide a training bursary to all women going off on maternity leave in order to refresh skills and rebuild confidence. 

·  Employers should provide flexible working arrangements for mothers undergoing training to ensure they can take advantage of the opportunity. 

·  Learning providers should encourage mothers onto the learning ladder by providing free taster lessons and courses to overcome the main barrier of cost. 

Co-founder Kathryn Tyler, said: “Our research highlights a very real challenge for mums wanting to go back to work with close to 2 million negatively impacted.  Career break shouldn’t mean career broken, so Digital Mums is supporting mums to ‘learn in’, upskill and apply for that new job. 

“With cost a big barrier we are also calling on Government and employers to do their bit to narrow the mums’ skills gap and support a huge segment of the workforce. Although there have been improvements with flexible working we shouldn’t be complacent. Our survey highlights the ongoing challenges for so many mums in finding work that works for them as well as raising the next generation.”

* 1,853,600 mums according to upweighting the poll figures to reflect the general population according to the ONS based on there being 6.62 million mums with children up to the age of 16

Training Tomorrow’s Leaders


Training Tomorrow’s Leaders

When it comes to training executives for their corporate work, it is imperative that the training is relevant, innovative, and effective in engaging the right people. Covering the regions of Asia and the Middle East, FDB Events is a corporate training and conference company that offers specialised training for middle-to-top level executives. Discover more about how this firm are training the next generation of business leaders as we profile FDB and their ongoing successes.

Headquartered in Singapore and serving the entirety of the Middle East and Asia, FDB competently offer both technical and soft skills to executives working across a vast range of industries and sectors. Dedicated to creating innovative, relevant and action-based learning, the firm’s mission is to inspire, transform and empower their clients with the most up-to-date and valuable knowledge that can aid businesses in real and tangible ways. The firm can offer a wide selection of public and in-house training events for corporations and companies, as well as conferences to inspire and transform businesses working in the world today.

The range of industries that FDB work with stretches from finance and food, to power and pharmaceuticals. Within each of the industries that they work in, the firm also work with specific departments to ensure that everyone within a company is fully trained and capable of achieving the best results possible. From sales, supply chain and strategic management, to procurement and planning departments, every facet of a company can experience the best-in-class training that the firm offer.

Prior to any training event that FDB host, or help to host, the firm are asking their clients to communicate their issues directly to them. That way, the training can be tailored to meet specific needs and help generate the best possible results once attendees return to their companies. Not only is the training personal and helping to affect real change, but the client also gets to benchmark their own company standards against any competitors or peers that are attending the event as well.


Each training programme and learning experience is designed to be as innovative, creative and engaging as possible for all attendees. All styles of learning are incorporated, including reading and kinaesthetic activity to ensure that everyone is encouraged to take something from the day back to their places of work. Rather than simply creating and reading from bog-standard PowerPoint presentations, FDB’s events include more hands-on active learning, case study learning through real-world examples, and storytelling sessions.

Whilst public and in-house training is one of the ways that FDB offer learning experiences for corporate and business clients, the other is conferences. Bringing together leaders, advocators, innovators, disrupters and agents for change together, conferences are the best place to shape the discourse around the technologies, tactics, and characters that are changing the way the world does business in the twenty-first century. Whether it be the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, or how to effectively streamline and increase business growth, these conferences are the place to make a positive difference in the corporate world.

Working with such an extensive variety of industries and departments is thanks only to the 400-strong team of corporate trainers that FDB employ. Each corporate trainer brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the industries and departments that they work in, and all of the subject matter experts boast more than twenty years’ experience
working and consulting for some of the world’s top corporations. As well as the experience that the trainers and experts bring, the firm also has great relationships with clients, making special efforts to constantly communicated with training and HR managers to ensure everyone is in sync vis-à-vis specific training needs.

Ensuring that the future of business is in sure and steady hands, FDB are delivering bestin-class teaching to the corporate students of today who will become the leaders of tomorrow. Offering informative, brilliant, and industry-leading conferences and training programmes across the Middle East and Asia, the Asia-Pacific region’s corporate future is brighter than ever before.

Ten Crucial Employment Law Changes To Look Out For In 2020


Ten Crucial Employment Law Changes To Look Out For In 2020

Advice by Peninsula Associate Director of Advisory, Kate Palmer

We’re just over a week in to the New Year, and now is the perfect time for employers to look ahead to the crucial employment law changes that are set to impact 2020 and their workplaces.

1. CEO pay ratio reporting

Since the 1st January 2020, certain employers are now required to include information relating to their CEO pay ratio within directors remuneration reports. UK listed companies who have in a year, on average more than 250 employees are expected to compare their CEO’s most recent remuneration against that of their full-time employees.

2. Change to contracts

The law around employee contracts will change from 6th April 2020, meaning contracts will become a day one right for employees and workers. Contracts will also need to contain additional details for the first time, including entitlement to family-friendly leave, clarification of any probationary periods and confirmation of which specific days and times individuals are required to work.

3. Extension of holiday pay reference period

The holiday pay reference period, which is used to calculate the average pay of those who work irregular hours, will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks as of 6th April 2020 and is sure to lead to a change in the way payroll departments calculate holiday pay. Employers will need to keep track of employees’ working time throughout the year, including overtime. Keeping check of an employees’ working time ensures they are remunerated correctly while on annual leave.

4. End of Swedish derogation contracts

Employers will no longer be able to make use of Swedish derogation contracts from 6th April 2020 as these contracts, which allow employers to avoid providing agency workers with equal pay after 12 weeks’ of an assignment, will become unlawful. 

5. Agency Workers’ Key facts’ page

From 6th April 2020, we expect that agency work-seekers will have a right to receive a key information document to help them make informed choices about the work they accept. This document is required to clarify specific matters, including the type of contract the worker is employed under and their minimum rate of pay.

6. Lowering consultation threshold

The percentage of employee support needed to set up information and consultation arrangements is set to reduce from 6th April 2020. From this date onwards only 2% of the overall workforce needs to be behind this measure, as opposed to the previous 10%. This reduction is designed to give employees a greater voice in the actions of an organisation and increase overall engagement. 

7. Increase to minimum wage

As national minimum wage (NMW) rates are reviewed each year, it is reasonable to expect an increase to the existing rates in April 2020. After all, the government have already pledged to ensure those aged 25 and over will be entitled to a minimum of £10.50 per hour by 2024, meaning NMW employers are likely to be required to adjust their pay practices in the New Year.   

8. Change to statutory rates

The minimum rates on offer for statutory entitlements such as maternity pay, paternity pay and sick pay will also be reviewed in April 2020. Much like NMW, these amounts typically increase each year, and any subsequent announcements are likely to require employers to amend their approach.

9. Parental bereavement leave

The right to parental bereavement leave will become effective in April 2020. Although the government have not confirmed an exact date, we know that qualifying parents will be entitled to two weeks of paid bereavement leave following the death of a child under the age of 18 to help with the grieving process.  

10. Government pledges

Although there have been no fixed implementation dates, the government have pledged to improve redundancy protection for working mothers and alter existing legislation around the use of non-disclosure agreements. We are also expecting the results of separate consultations on preventing sexual harassment as well as restructuring the availability of family-friendly entitlements and statutory sick pay. 

How Product Data Can Help With Traceability


The UK’s shoppers have never had so much information at their fingertips. For any given product, a multitude of different varieties and price points exist. If you don’t fancy walking or driving a short distance to your nearest stockist, you can have everything your heart desires delivered to your door within days.

But as consumers increasingly crave convenience, there are various unseen costs that companies incur to keep up with this demand.

At the heart of much of the smooth running of the supply chain is accurate product data, and the ability to exchange it efficiently.

If you are shopping in store, it may be relatively straightforward to read the information on the back of a packet, but what about if you are shopping online? And how do the various retailers get the products from the suppliers in the first place?

The behind-the-scenes logistics may not unduly concern them, but with consumer demands driving the trend for greater visibility and transparency of what they are buying, there needs to be a system in place to deliver this.   

The modern shopper dictates that product data is properly displayed and that there is increased clarity over what ingredients products contain. You need look no further than recent, high-profile allergy cases to justify the necessity for detailed accounts of an item’s composition and provenance.

In addition, we live in an age where speed of delivery is not just desired but anticipated. Just as we expect instant access to the latest episodes of TV boxsets streamed by sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime, consumers are applying these standards to what they buy at Sainsbury’s or Tesco.  

Because of this, products need to move quickly, placing added pressure on the transfer of data between retailers and suppliers. This is contributing to more errors in the data transfer process, leaving many records incomplete or inaccurate. At GS1 UK, we have found that one in three products fails the independent physical check which validates the accuracy and consistency of its product data.

Redressing the balance

Globalised and multi-tiered supply chains create complexity and the health of our retail sector and economy at large is suffering as money and time is often wasted on systems that fail to properly integrate with one another.

The lack of a universal language to transfer data between suppliers and retailers is the dominant factor behind the inaccuracy and inefficiency of this process. And it’s one that doesn’t need to exist.

Those standards can then form the bedrock for a number of capabilities, including recall readiness, fighting counterfeiting and food safety assurance, as well as providing greater transparency on the origin, ethical and environmental reassurances for consumers.

Beginning in 2016, GS1 UK’s retail grocery advisory board – which included representatives from Tesco, Waitrose, Co-Op, Ocado, Unilever, Nestlé and Pepsico – sought to address this challenge, identifying product data management as a key industry concern.

In 2017, they signed a charter announcing their commitment to create to a single solution for managing and exchanging this information. This led to the creation of productDNA.

Launched in April 2018, the productDNA platform is a single catalogue of high-quality product data that can be shared with multiple grocery retailers, using an industry-agreed set of attributes and a common data definition for each type of product. The platform has since been adopted by 50 per cent of the UK grocery market, with Sainsbury’s the latest retailer to sign up.  

Currently, the service has the capacity to define and manage more than 150 industry-agreed data attributes for products across the grocery sector, including physical product data such as dimensions, weight and volume, as well as nutritional values, ingredients and allergens.

Brands both large and small have already begun to reap the rewards of the platform: when used to its fullest potential, the process ensures improved efficiency and better confidence in the quality of data being provided to and by all parties.

If we convert the future widespread – and potentially universal – use of productDNA into measurable results, similar systems that have been implemented for suppliers overseas allowed them to increase their sales figures between 1 per cent and 3 per cent. Scaled to the size of the UK economy, this could mean an extra £20bn for the UK’s retail grocery industry.

For leaders and decision makers in retail, ensuring that all product data is accurate and easily exchangeable is the underlying framework that can make the whole system run more smoothly.

Our goal is to empower everyone from the waiter to quickly answer diners’ questions about ingredients – including potential allergens and where the product comes from, to the baker preparing a shipment where he needs to communicate important information to downstream trading partners.

With the right information in the right place and the right format, end-to-end traceability will take us from “may contain” to “definitely free-from” with unshakeable confidence, a true retail revolution for all.

Jason Hale
Head of innovation