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Zurich invests £1m in employee upskilling programme

Zurich, the global insurance company, has invested £1m in “homegrown talent” to avoid future skills shortages.

The firm hopes to retrain 3,000 workers, two-thirds of its workforce, over the next five years to close the skills gap.

The decision has been based around research conducted by Faethm, an AI analytics platform, that suggested 270 jobs could go unfilled within the next half-decade if current workers were not reskilled.

The areas most affected by this structural unemployment would be robotics, data science, and cybersecurity.

To combat this, Zurich has introduced a host of schemes, including data and automation academies, that enable employees to gain new qualifications and contribute to the firm’s “constantly changing” workforce skill sets.

John Keppel, COO at Zurich UK, said: “The skill set of our workforce is constantly changing. Whilst we can’t ignore the benefits that automation brings, it’s important to retain, nurture and educate our teams 

“It’s crucial that we factor the future skills requirements for the business into the process now. If we know what’s coming, we can start transitioning existing employees into new careers today.”

According to Zurich, by focusing on upskilling the firm could save £1m in recruitment and redundancy costs alone.

The company has already set out plans to upscale existing academies and introduce courses on DevOps, customer and innovation, and leadership throughout 2021.

Alastair Robertson, head of Continuous Improvement and Automation at Zurich UK, said: “There are many preconceived ideas about implementing automated processes into a business and how it [sic] these roles must be carried out by tech specialists. 

“In reality, the best people to do this effectively have worked within the function that you’re looking to automate as they really understand the process.”

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