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Coaching and E-Learning Grow as Demand for Skills Rises


Demand for skills is set to rise with coaching and e-learning continuing to gain favour as methods of training and development, according to a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The CIPD says that although traditional forms of learning such as formal education courses and off-the-job instructor-led training are still used almost universally, organisations are increasingly turning to alternative methods such as coaching and e-learning to promote learning at work.

The 2005 Training and Development Survey found that 88% of organisations now expect their line managers to deliver coaching as part of their day-to-day work, and two-thirds of organisations employ external coaches to develop their staff. Over half of organisations (54%) say they are using e-learning as part of their learning strategy.

The growth in coaching looks set to continue, with 74% of organisations reporting they expect to step up their use of external coaches in the next few years.

Jessica Jarvis, CIPD adviser on learning, training and development, said: "The days in which training almost always meant formal classroom based courses have gone. Staff development is now an ongoing activity using a wide variety of formal and informal learning methods.

"Coaching by external practitioners is increasingly popular, and most organisations are also now using their line managers to develop staff through coaching. However, if coaching is to deliver on its promise, employers need to ensure that line managers are provided with sufficient training themselves."

Future skills
The survey found also that skills requirements look set to continue to rise. Only 10% of employers expect to need the same level of skills or lower in three years time. Of the remainder:
* 36% expect to need a higher level of skills from their staff in three years time
* 26% expect to need different skills to the current time
* 26% expect to need their workforce to display a broader range of skills.

However, the expected increase in skills requirements comes against a backdrop of 39% of learning, training and development professionals reporting a lack of interest from senior staff as a barrier to delivering the improvements needed for their organisations. 41% of organisations report that employee reluctance to engage in learning is a barrier.

"Skills shortages are already causing employers real difficulties and yet they are still failing to face up to their future skills needs," said Jarvis. "A tight labour market is generating a fierce war for talent but employers need to look beyond immediate needs and start planning for the future."

Training budgets
According to the survey, training budgets have remained steady over the last year, with average spend standing at £607 per employee (£817 in the private sector, £414 in the public sector, and £433 in the not-for-profit sector).

* For further survey findings see Training Managers Say UK Lacks Effective Leaders.


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