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A week in training: L&D budget fears


newsThis week, as shock-waves from the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and the take over of Merrill Lynch are felt in the UK, learning professionals in all industries fear the cuts about to hit their departments. There's also an inquiry into apprenticeships, a CBI task force on higher education, new downloadable resources and a round up of more autumn conferences.

Trainers fear budget cuts

Almost half of training professionals are expecting a budget cut of 20% or more according to a research by international leadership organisation Common Purpose. The downloadable report Taming the Wolf at the Door, found that over half of respondents felt that that the short term benefits of training cuts and reprioritisation would have long term negative consequences and a similar proportion were worried about retaining key staff during an economic downturn.

In response to the research Common Purpose held an event for HR directors to assess the prospects for training and development over the next 12 months. There were some stark warnings for those who think that reducing training and development for their staff will be an easy cost-saving measure. One of the speakers, John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, warned: "When times are tough, it is always tempting to trim training budgets. Yet evidence and experience shows that this is a false economy. Training cutbacks reduce the ability of organisations to cope in a downturn and can also damage staff morale, employee engagement and organisational performance for years to come."

Philpott was also in the news this week warning that the economy is increasingly likely to experience an "avalanche" of job losses in the coming months which would propel the unemployment rate back over 2 million in 2009.

Apprenticeships inquiry

The Skills Commission has launched an inquiry into training and career progression routes for apprentices. Chaired by Sir William Taylor and with support from the Edge Foundation, the inquiry is calling for evidence and requesting submissions from across the skills sector. Anyone interested in submitting evidence to the inquiry, should contact or telephone 020 7202 8575. The completed report of the inquiry is due to be published in early 2009. Visit for further information and updates as the inquiry progresses.

'Opaque' ceiling

Women across the UK will have to wait 187 years before their take home pay outpaces men, according to data from a survey of 40,027 individuals by the Chartered Management Institute and CELRE. According to their 35th National Management Salary Survey, the average female executive is earning £32,614 take home pay - £13,655 less than the average male equivalent.


Workplace mediation experts Acas have joined forces with the CIPD to put together an employer's guide to resolving disputes. The free to download Mediation: An Employer's Guide draws on a survey of CIPD members, a GfK NOP commissioned survey of 500 small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and a series of case studies.

A new business disability training resource aims to meet the needs of disabled entrepreneurs in London. LINE Communications and Leonard Cheshire Disability have created Disability Smart, which features the stories of five disabled entrepreneurs with different impairments.

MBA scholarship for SMEs

ESCP-EAP European School of Management has launched a new scholarship scheme for EU-based SMEs with fewer than 250 employees. More information is available by contacting Magda Newman at

Work smarter

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development championed smart working at its conference this week, but is concerned that the trend is not catching on. Confusingly, while 92% of respondents to a survey thought that smart working had a positive impact on the business performance, the same research found that it was "still in its infancy" when it came to implementation. Maybe the respondents didn't understand what smart working is. For the confused, here is the CIPD definition: "Where the work environment is managed to release employees' energy and drive business performance." All clear now?

The business of learning

Employers group is turning its attention to universities. Its Higher Education Task Force met for the first time last week. Its remit is to explore what business wants from higher education, how business and universities can best work together and how the sector should be funded. It will report in June 2009.

Award winning training

Kier Building Maintenance (KBM) won the CIPD's over-all People Management Award 2008, for its "City Stewardship" programme aimed at improving the prospects of young disaffected people by training and mentoring them on several community-based projects in Sheffield. The Byrne group won the learning and development category at the awards, with the Welsh Assembly Government as runner-up.


The Training Foundation is setting up a register of all those who pass its TAP qualification. The TAP Register will be accessible free of charge to all employers from January 2009.

Conference call

The CIPD shindig may be over but there are plenty more conferences this autumn. The Campaign for Learning is trying to shed a little light in these dark times with a forum entitled Can we learn our way to happiness? on 2 October, 2008.

The Chartered Management Institute is holding its National Convention in Birmingham on 9-10 October 2008. One of the sessions will focus on 'Technology and Enhanced Learning' after the Institute discovered that managers are failing to use e-learning and other online resources. Nearly half of the managers surveyed claimed that resistance to elearning was caused by the "loss of the human touch".

The eLearning Network (eLN) conference will focus on live or 'synchronous' elearning including instant messaging; Skype; virtual classrooms for small group sessions; webinars, as well as the increasing use of virtual worlds to provide immersive 3D experiences and simulation.

Last but not least escape the gloom of UK and get some fresh ideas - not to metion some work-sponsored sun - at Elliot Maisie's Learning 2008 in Orlando, Florida. Speakers include Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Cisco global lead for education Charles Fadel, Nigel Paine and journalist-turned-animal-trainer Amy Sutherland.


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