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When your time and energy are already under pressure, learning a new skill may feel daunting – but it may be just the thing you and your team need.

Stress in the UK is running high. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point in the last year that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

With your staff likely returning to offices after the lockdown restrictions, it's worth bearing in mind that, according to the Stress Management Society, 65% of people in the UK have felt more stressed since March2020.

Feeling Stressed by These Stats?

None of us are invulnerable to stress and recognising your teams’ needs, as well as your own, can be a struggle. Working from home has its proven benefits to mental wellbeing but means we’re less likely to see the signs of stress in others:

·       Working longer hours or during breaks

·       Increasing irritability

·       Lapses in concentration

·       Lack of energy.

Work cultures have adapted and now tackle the physical fatigue of stress by:

·       Encouraging employees to take regular breaks

·       Ensuring they’re booking holidays

·       Arranging social activities to prevent the self-isolation that stress can cause

We’ve also recognised the importance of physical activity as a way of releasing endorphins. Stress has an impact beyond the physical though.

The Cycle

Stress can make us feel helpless. When a new item is added to an unmanaged workload we can lose perspective on what to do. This knocks our confidence in our own abilities. We don’t feel able to approach it and the work builds up. Lack of productivity devalues our self-esteem which reduces our motivation. We sleep poorly or work late so we have less energy when a new item is added to our load. 

Breaking the Cycle – How does training do this?

Training and learning new skills – even unrelated to a role – can boost confidence, self-esteem, and motivation. By building on them through training, when times do get tough, your trained team will have more barriers to stress.

Confidence Boosting

According to Officevibe, confidence is a habit, and like all habits it needs to be worked on in small steps. You start with one push up a day and build until you can do twenty.

Confidence is the belief that you can achieve something and training supports this belief with regular evidence of your success.

Upskilling, or opening ourselves up to new experiences, can rebuild confidence in the same way as the push up example. Training is a collection of small finite goals. As each goal is completed it builds towards the end of a larger defined goal with reward. Regular achievements break through a fear of failure barrier and encourages goal orientated thinking.  

With this in mind, the training offered through South Bank Innovation(SBI) programmes is primarily accredited. This gives participants the ability to track their training and build a record of their ongoing success. 


If confidence is the belief we have in our ability to do something, self-esteem is the value we apply to our actual skills and abilities.

As well as stress, nearly 70% of employees who fall into the "high-retention-risk" category are considering leaving their job because they feel there is no more room for advancement in their current role. They don’t feel valued by their employer which decreases self-esteem further.

Let’s breakdown the benefits of training for self-esteem:

·       By encouraging your team to train you immediately show that you value your team and want them to succeed beyond their current role.

·       Training encourages personal time and energy investment in a goal. We are more likely to value something we have personally invested in.

·       Once your team have new skills, they will be better placed to self-promote and know they have value to offer. In self-promoting they'll promote you too.

Training, like that offered by SBI, even if not directly related to a role, will have connections to industry. It is easier to value skills that we can immediately see the benefits of and begin to use. As self-esteem and confidence grow so should your teams’ earning potential as you support them up the ladder.

Studies on American workers show that individuals who are from blue-collar families and possess self-confidence earn roughly $7,000 more per year than their peers who have low self-esteem. In white-collar classes, the gap is even larger. Those with high self-esteem earn approximately $28,000 more annually than those who lack confidence.



Self-confidence and self-esteem are addictive. Once we begin to see success in one area, we are more motivated to make improvements elsewhere.

By including training in your team’s approach to work you may see a marked improvement in their motivation to take on other new tasks or approach things from a different angle. To support this motivation to succeed many of our programmes offer one-to-one support with elements of employability skills or career coaching.

This one-to-one support is part of learning a new skill as it builds a connection with someone and the work they’re doing. This can also lead to improved wellbeing according to the NHS.

By talking through their skills and career goals with an advisor it may also support your team to bridge the gender divided self-promotion gap explored at Harvard Business School.


How Do I Integrate Training?

Look for training that is:

·       Fast

·       Flexible

·       Future-proof.

South Bank Innovation offers a selection of training opportunities for Londoners that you could integrate into your business. The vast majority of these have flexible learning approaches that allow for 24/7 access via virtual learning. This means that additional training doesn’t have to infringe on company time and can be made more accessible.

If you want to give your staff the freedom to choose their course and study in their own time you can forward them links to our funded Aspire London or Dagile programmes.

Aspire London is specifically aimed at upskilling low-income Londoners in digital, creative, health and construction.

Dagile is for all those who work in London and offers everything from basic English and Mathematics to Leadership qualifications.

Alternatively, you may want to offer your staff a more tailored training programme. Through our connection with London South Bank University, we offer a Continuing Professional Development Service giving you the power to:

·       Access a customisable training platform with a range of setup packages

·       Update training records and individual reminders for staff

·       Secure bespoke training to ensure your staff get the knowledge they need.


Better Up- The power of positive self talk (and how you can use it)

Citation -10 signs your employees might be suffering from stress

Forbes -Do Women And Men Have A Confidence Gap?

Forbes -Help Your Employees Manage Stress With These 10 Tips

Forbes -Use It Or Lose It: The Science Behind Self-Confidence

InEquilibrium – The Stress Cycle

Mental Health First Aid - Stress vs. Anxiety – Knowing the Difference Is Critical to Your Health

NBC - Why low self-esteem may be hurting you at work

NHS - 5steps to mental wellbeing

Officevibe- Why confidence is the secret to success in life

PsychCentral - Stress Influences Confidence, Can Lead to Inequalities

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