Home Opinion This month Kirsty meets…

This month Kirsty meets…

by Kirsty Kirsty

Welcome to Kirsty Meets!

Each month I meet key stakeholders and business leaders in the social care sector. This month I met Mark Story, Head of Learning Innovation at FuturU. I caught up with Mark to discuss education, training and the role of artificial intelligence in this.

So Mark, can you tell us a little bit about FuturU?

Launched in 2023, FuturU provides free online training to more than 70,000 health and social care professionals in 20 countries. With over 100 CPD-certified courses – from safeguarding to dementia awareness – our platform empowers nurses and care workers to take charge of their own learning and development journey. FuturU raises the bar when it comes to course quality and creativity. We’re swapping out traditional text-based e-learning for engaging story-led, scenario-based courses that help people gain practical skills. It’s also completely free for managers to sign up their staff to FuturU and assign them courses.

Why is free education and training important for the social care sector specifically?

The government halved its social care workforce funding earlier this year. Yet, despite this, demand for social care is at a record high and staff vacancies continue to rise. This is unlikely to change unless we do more to encourage people to join the sector, while also retaining existing talent by offering ongoing development.

Free training is a great starting point, as it removes financial barriers, particularly for self-employed workers who have to self-fund their training and for unpaid carers who don’t usually have access to any formal training. By making training free and accessible to them, we can improve their confidence levels and ensure they feel supported by the sector. We also hope that free training lead to an increase in people completing non-mandatory courses to pick up new skills and increase their knowledge.

Importantly, ‘free’ doesn’t have to equal ‘low quality’. At FuturU, we’re using technology to drive down the cost of training, while building the tools that allow us to create engaging content that meets the needs of all carers.

“Free’ doesn’t have to equal ‘low quality’. We’re using technology to drive down the cost of training and meet the needs of all carers.”

Technology is playing an increasingly large and important role in the sector, how does FuturU take advantage of innovations such as AI?

Technology has the power to transform the sector by standardising training, making it easier to competency-assess workers remotely, all while removing human bias and not adding to a worker’s already stretched to-do list. The industry does however need help to navigate the impact of AI, and organisations like FuturU are committed to helping that.

We’re developing an industry-first AI motion capture tool to help workers safely practise moving and handling techniques in a virtual environment. Carers can become more confident and familiar with everyday tasks, such as moving someone from a seated to a standing position, to reduce the risk of injury and improve the quality of care. In the future, our tool will also help train people in CPR and putting people into the recovery position.

What is the current approach to training in the sector and why (and how) do we improve upon this?

Often classed as the gold-standard, in-person training plays an important roleacross the industry. However, we need to acknowledge its effectiveness largely depends on the trainer, course content and the baseline level of participant’s knowledge. It can also be expensive and hard to scale up, leading to less participation and investment in continuous learning.

In addition to this, when face-to-face courses are full, it can be hard for a trainer to offer a quality assessment within the scheduled time. This is just one of the reasons why we need to take a bold leap out of the tick box and pair in-person training with immersive e-learning experiences. Online training can be used to drive up baseline knowledge, allowing in-person training to cover more details and be maximised better.

And finally, where can we find out more about FuturU?

You can find more information about FuturU on our website and LinkedIn page.

Related Articles