As the backbone of British society, the civil service underpins the work of government to design, develop and propose policies that help meet key priorities and objectives.
The continued professional development of civil servants through high-quality learning and development is, therefore, crucial for them to be prepared to respond effectively to current and future challenges and to maintain high levels of performance, motivation and job satisfaction.
But even though the civil service is known for its resilience during times of crisis, it is currently facing growing pressure to continue to meet high public demand for services and support. In this context, it may seem harder than ever for departments to find the time and the budgets to invest in staff training and development.
Online learning: flexibility and integration with existing commitments
For busy civil service staff, online learning offers the opportunity to gain new skills (or hone existing ones) with the flexibility of managing their own schedules.
Short courses delivered entirely online and designed to work around the learner’s existing responsibilities offer a promising opportunity for policy professionals to upskill on their own terms. These programmes can also support the civil service through increased employee morale and knowledge retention – a need highlighted in a recent report by the Institute for Government – as their short-term nature is ideal for refreshing expertise when required, in addition to gaining new skills.
Learn about economics or cyber security with an online short course
The Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford has partnered with Pearson to develop a suite of online short courses in government and public policy.
Each short course is delivered entirely online, so you can learn when and where you like, and takes eight weeks to complete. With 3-5 hours of study expected per week, this makes it easier to fit your professional development around your existing commitments.
The flexibility of online learning is also reflected in the variety of activities proposed by each course: from true-to-life simulation exercises to interactive live sessions with expert academics and a final project to reflect on a real-world policy that interests or is particularly relevant to you.
The online courses span across some key areas of policy and governance – such as economics, cyber security and evidence-based policymaking – helping to fill some of the skills gaps facing civil service departments.
Economics for Public Policy
Designed for those who wish to enhance their understanding of economics in a public policy context, this course will provide you with practical skills that will allow you to interact with economists and their reports more effectively, ultimately making you a better consumer of economic thinking.
Learn more about the Economics for Public Policy online short course.
Cyber Security for Public Leadership: Planning, Policy and Strategy
This course is designed for non-technical leaders in the public sector with a gap in their cyber security knowledge. With the government experiencing a cyber security skills gap in recent years, through this course you will learn how best to integrate robust cyber security policies into your organisational planning, strategy and operations and respond effectively and efficiently to cyber security incidents.
Learn more about the Cyber Security for Public Leadership online short course.
Values and Public Policy
Civil servants know that public policy is not just technical: it involves fundamental values and often conflicts between different values. This course aims to enhance your understanding of the key moral and ethical concepts that inform public policy and explores relevant ethical issues faced in government today.
Learn more about the Values and Public Policy online short course.
Evidence in Public Policy
Aimed at professionals who need to be able to evaluate the impact of policies, this course is designed to hone the critical skills you need to devise and implement policies informed by facts. You will develop an understanding of evidence-based policymaking from a global perspective, learn within the context of your own role and complete a final project focused on your own particular issues or interests.
Learn more about the Evidence in Public Policy online short course.
To learn more about the suite of public policy online short courses offered by Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government in partnership with Pearson, visit the online courses website.