City and Guilds: Service strategy for employability skills

Building the end-to-end view of an education service designed to help young people acquire the workplace skills they need to succeed

Young person gaining skills
Workshop with City and Guilds

City and Guilds are an accreditation body for qualifications and apprenticeships. They had built a service to deliver workplace skills to college learners through an online platform. They had a pilot already lined up, but before it took place it was clear that the processes behind the service had become complex, as features had been developed without continuing validation from users. Together we had an opportunity, before the pilots, to streamline the process and deliver a service that really worked for users.

We collaboratively mapped the end-to-end service, bringing department experts together. Integrating insight from learners and tutors, we created a collective view of the whole service – for the first time.

Why was it needed

We live in a digital world. We all know the ‘build it and they will come’ days are long gone, especially when it comes to young people. City and Guilds had built a great product and service based on bucket loads of sector expertise, however, it was the engagement of tutors and learners, from end-to-end, that would ensure it’s success.

By understanding the lives, attitudes and behaviours of their users we built an understanding of how Workplace Skills were being used and experienced by real people. This layer of insight combined with a thorough understanding of those processes. Sitting behind the scenes gave us the detailed picture we needed to make a series of changes – from quick wins to strategic shifts.

Here’s what we did

Getting everyone involved

We began by inviting all the City & Guilds teams involved in managing, designing, delivering or selling the service to a workshop. The aim was to understand the service starting with a high-level view and progressively getting into more and more (and more) detail. One-to-one team meetings, discussions with college tutors, interviews and workshops gradually refined the service blueprint.

Telling the entire story

We created a series of 7 personas to bring their target audience to life. Participants helped create the profiles that included college managers, tutors and different types of learners.

Storytelling is so important when thinking about an end-to-end service. How did someone arrive? How they interact with you? Where will they go next? We created two views of the end-to-end service: a working document to equip the internal team to continue service iterations and a visualisation to tell the story to the wider team.

Solutions and opportunities

We collated all our findings into a series of succinct recommendations. Our analysis highlighted the strategic shifts needed in the long term solutions as well as a series of quick wins that could be put into practice tomorrow. As the pilot was set to launch in a matter of months the focus was on delivering a tangible way forward – a strategy they could put into action. For example, their business model needed to be reworked strategically . While effective in the long run, this would take time. Of equal importance, we found schools did not have headphones to give to students – with a video focused delivery format this small thing was causing a block in usage.


Market understanding

Throughout the project, City & Guilds gained a clearer understanding of how its service aligns with the market.

View of the entire story

The City & Guilds teams involved worked together closer than ever, to help build the end-to-end view of the service and look forward, to continue to do so. This spanned from seeing how users and tutors received and deliver the service to understanding different areas of internal delivery. Eg. Business development and sales.

From the other side of the table

We helped the team understand and practice how to see a service from the customer’s point of view and maintain this viewpoint when making decisions.

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