NICA to launch new caregiving app in the UK
Based on Newcastle Helix, The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) has partnered with a global EdTech company to launch a new digital training program for employers.
By bringing together complementary skills, expertise, and intelligence, they have been able to bring a new product to the UK market that will foster a culture of care within an organisation. The ‘Lifeed Caregivers’ web app will allow companies to harness the potential learning from employees who have cared for an older relative or dependant.
Founded in 2015 and with employees positioned across Italy and the UK, Lifeed is an EdTech company that looks to unlock life’s learning potential by transforming employees’ life transitions into resources for business, through its selection of 'Lifeed' digital learning programs. NICA shared insight and human experiences to help shape this new product and bring it to the UK market.
Previous research has estimated nearly 8 million people in the UK provide care for family members without pay, and recent estimates show that COVID-19 has forced an extra 4.5 million people to add to this figure. Many people juggle work with these demands, and looking after a family member, child, partner, older adult, or disabled relative or friend can help develop soft interpersonal skills that are invaluable in the workplace. Studies have found that the vast majority of caregivers get positive effects like greater self-esteem and feeling useful, and the Lifeed Caregivers program unlocks the specific soft skills nurtured through doing this - such as stress management, patience, and self-confidence, and applies them to the workplace.
The Lifeed Caregivers program takes place through a web app, and includes online training modules, real life missions, webinars, and a diary, with 30 minutes per week recommended over 3 months, with a maximum of 12 months to complete the programme. It focuses on relationships with others, personal development, and self-direction, in order to harness the skills developed through the care experience and apply them at work.
Professor Nicola Palmarini, Director of the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing said: “We strongly believe in the core idea of Lifeed where the experiences of life of each one of us – like caring about a family member or dealing with a crisis - can be translated in practical skills for personal and professional growth. Our mission at NICA is to harness the intelligence of people through engagement and data, we named it Ageing IntelligenceTM.
“This new digital platform will help businesses to harness new skills, gather meaningful insights and create a sense of community in the workplace. It can also help shape policy and provides huge potential for the growth and personal development of employees whatever life stage.
We have been successfully building and operating our thriving and successful citizen engagement network named VOICE for over 10 years and together with Lifeed we are bringing a concrete example of how this issue can be addressed. We are using digital and data in a novel way, while leveraging a true collaborative interaction between employers and employees to understand the needs and empower each other in a joint play to benefit both the work-life balance of the individuals and the needs of an ageing society.
“We are pleased to have played our part in helping to transform the culture of care for businesses in the UK.”
Riccarda Zezza, Founder of Lifeed added: “We are thrilled to have partnered with the wonderful NICA team, who have lent their world-leading expertise in human experience to help us perfect our Lifeed Caregivers program.
“We’re excited to help build a culture of care within British businesses, particularly in light of the current situation which has brought out the caring instincts in all of us. Our life experiences make us who we are, and by embracing them into our working life, we can develop and grow in all aspects of our lives.”
Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle added: “The commercialisation of new ideas and opportunities come at a critical time for our economy. Market studies show an industry of longevity is worth millions and NICA’s work supporting businesses to transform these opportunities will play a vital role in the repair and recovery of our economy.
“Solutions like this are strategically important for our city, as they support growth in business investment and employment, ultimately improving the quality of life for all generations. By maximising social and economic opportunities that support healthy and independent ageing we can all help create a place where people can live well for longer.”
Based at Newcastle University, NICA is the UK home of Ageing Intelligence™, bringing together data driven insight and human experiences to bring new products, business models and services to market. This is just one example of how they are helping businesses to capitalise on the longevity economy, turn ideas into commercial opportunities and maximise their impact on society.
Available now to UK businesses this has particular importance in light of COVID-19, with workforces facing increased stress while working remotely and it being more important than ever for businesses to ensure employees feel cared for and valued.