Winner: getAbstract Impact Award - Inspiring a Lifelong Learning Culture
Winner: Impact Award - Innovation in Learning and Development


Verastar, a small business service provider with a colleague base of around 1,000, wanted to use Learning at Work Week as an opportunity to evolve their learning culture to be one where colleagues can request learning as well as be invited to it. 

Their Learning at Work Week objectives included making colleagues aware of learning and development activities, helping colleagues to identify their own personal areas of focus (including creating an action plan to support this), and developing innovative new ways of learning to reinforce a sustained learning culture.   

To support the success of Learning at Work Week, Verastar’s L&D team partnered with the facilities department, managers, the Head of HR and the People Experience Manager to identify dates and times that were suitable for customer facing colleagues – this ensured that their Learning at Work Week plans were accessible to all colleagues. 

Verastar’s L&D team designed and delivered Learning at Work Week activities that catered to all types of learning styles, including a mix of digital and non-digital activities to capture different learner demographics, and held roadshows that were delivered on multiple days at their largest sites to ensure those working from home could have a chance to attend.    

Their full range of activities included:  

  • An innovative AR app called ‘Learn Island’    
  • Blended AM & PM sessions    
  • Wellbeing playlists on LMS accessible to all   
  • A variety of competitions to encourage learning   
  • Roadshow stands across five sites   
  • Planning Potential Toolkits for PDPs   
  • The Curriculum showcase   

Innovation was a big part of their Learning at Work Week. The team produced a week-long learning event in the theme of ITV show Love Island, but with an educational spin (Learn Island). A scannable QR code allowed colleagues to launch an AR video and access the Learn Island app. The app allowed colleagues to access all things Learn Island; introductory videos, access to book onto virtual sessions, a wellbeing space with inspirational quotes and access to the wellbeing hub and details of the roadshows that were being held on site.  

This new approach meant that they could reach the learners on their own terms. They were no longer constrained by geographical location, the home or the office. The use of mobile learning and AR meant that they could stretch learning beyond the boundaries of work to allow Verastar’s people to take ownership of their own careers and their own development, and the roadshows served as way for all colleagues to build relationships, break down boundaries, get face to face time with L&D and to uncover future learning opportunities.    

To promote their activity, they ran a memorable and creative teaser campaign using the Learn Island theme. To reach every colleague, offline and online marketing channels were used including posters, desk drops, emails, the Learn Island AR app, and QR codes with direct to session sign ups.    

During the week, the team encouraged engagement through competitions to win prizes, asked colleagues to share learning experiences and used holiday style props and a selfie frame to get everyone involved. The roadshows were bright and colourful and the team wore T-Shirts with the slogan ‘Ask me about LAWW’.  

The reinforcement of the professional development sessions was supported by the Senior Leadership Team who attended sessions and encouraged colleagues to sign up. Buy-in from the Senior Leadership Team supported the goal to reinforce a lifelong learning culture.  

As a result of their planning and activity, 68% of colleagues engaged with Learning at Work Week and 236 people attended sessions, equating to 472 individual learning hours. Their post session analysis has shown that: 

  • 100% of people felt confident to act on influencing performance in their team 
  • There’s been a 121% increase in colleagues having a plan to manage their time more effectively in their role 
  • 100% of people had clear ways to create their own Personal Development Plan