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Jessica Montgomery

RED Academy

Partnerships Director, EMEA

Read more from Jessica Montgomery

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Better tailoring education and training for your employees


A ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning is no longer appropriate in today’s working environment. It’s time for organisations to offer truly tailored learning solutions to ensure that the learning needs of employees and the business are met.

Transformational changes are happening in every industry and if someone received a degree five years ago, maybe even two, it can be difficult to see how relevant the knowledge gained from that degree meets the demands of their current job.

This isn’t to say that their knowledge is completely irrelevant, but it’s essential for HR and training teams to consider the role of consistent and regular training in improving the skillset of their employees and allowing them to grow in their careers.

One way to do this is to encourage a proactive learning culture within the company.

This often starts with a streamlined training plan for the entire company that incorporates a range of training sessions, both skills focused and with elements of education.

When thinking of creating this development culture, however, what’s the real difference between training and education? This is something that has been debated for a long time among HR professionals and in the learning and development field.

Despite this, when it comes to planning training programmes, we continue to see some companies struggle to find the right balance between the two.

Training versus education

What’s the difference? In a general sense, the term ‘training’ implies the act of imparting a set of special skills or behaviours to a person, which is commonly offered to employees, so they can master a certain craft such as carpentry, or perhaps digital marketing.

The process is often narrowly focused, with specific measurable goals. An example of this might include a specific training course that asks employees to analyse data or how to schedule the company’s social media posts.

Education, on the other hand, is defined as a process of systematic learning, a flexible approach that develops an individual’s understanding of the theories behind a subject and the best approach to implement from a practical standpoint.

Training and education are essential to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the workforce.

Education is also often delivered to employees irrespective of their level in the corporate ladder, as everyone can benefit.

A good example may include a day’s training session that explores the benefits of digital marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) audits, the theories behind completing the audits and the benefits it will bring to the company.

It teaches more than just the skills to be able to complete the audits and explains to employees why it’s beneficial to have this knowledge.

The importance of training

Training is essential and is expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour. This is particularly true of training that produces a deeper understanding of certain behaviours and skills to improve output at work.

Being proactive with your approach to education and training will also make a real difference to the way employees feel valued in the company and can see their careers progress.

Quite often, organisations that have training departments will allocate budgets and calendars to employees for training across the year. In many cases, however, companies still favour training that focuses on a certain skill.

Aligning training and education to the needs of your employees

To gain a better understanding of your employees needs and where education and training will be most appropriate, it may be helpful to conduct group sessions or employee surveys across the company to determine any knowledge or skills gaps.

Identifying your needs will ultimately make the training plans for the year ahead much easier and will allow you to create a tailored messaging session to design a cohesive training strategy for the year.

Training and education are essential to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the workforce, as well as helping to ensure employees are happy and feel that their continual professional development (CPD) needs are cared for each year.

Balancing skills

Striking the perfect balance between training and education can be tricky, though.

It comes down to the fact that you must be able to distinguish the needs of your employees and decide what your company’s balance of skills training and education should be.

Being proactive with your approach to education and training will also make a real difference to the way employees feel valued in the company and can see their careers progress.

For example, offering long-term schemes such as a three-month course or higher education opportunities will allow an employee to grow beyond just their job role, ultimately improving their confidence and general understanding of a topic.

By enabling a positive learning culture from the top, employees will be cared for, learn more and ultimately feel supported.

Interested in this topic? Read Tailored training: harness the latest technology.

One Response

  1. Jessica – I totally agree
    Jessica – I totally agree with you. I just wish more businesses would put in place training and development plans for the year instead of just doing ‘ad-hoc’ sessions when a need arises!

    Dave Taylor
    Axio Development

Author Profile Picture
Jessica Montgomery

Partnerships Director, EMEA

Read more from Jessica Montgomery

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