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Difference between Training Strategy & Policy


I am currently undertaking the CIPD Diploma in T&D.. and am struggling to understand the difference between Training Strategy & Training Policy. I have read lots of academic literature in this respect, but am finding it hard to relate this to reality.

My organisation currently has neither policy nor strategy in written form. Does anyone have any examples they would be willing to share, to help me understand the difference between the two?

6 Responses

  1. Strategy, Policies and Plans
    You are not alone in being confused by these terms. It is not helped by the fact that they are used interchangably (and some time inappropriately) in different organisations.
    Here is my view – though do expect others to disagree.
    A T&D Policy is what gives the function its licence and character. It often covers: what staff can expect; what roles T&D, Line Managers and Individuals play in the process; a staement of commitment from senior managers; and so on. It is not usually time-limited but is often reviewed every year.
    A T&D Strategy is a high level plan. It sets out what T&D aims to acheive, how it will respond to organisational requirements, what type of training and development will be provided, how the budget will be allocated, and so on. It usually has a short (1 year), a medium and a long term focus, and is reviewed and revised at least annually.
    The plan is the detail.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Strategy/Policy
    Just to add to what Graham said…. a strategy is tied to the organisations strategic / corporate plan …. it looks at what capability is required in order for the organisation to achieve its goals and outlines the training & development objectives, strategies and actions to achieve capability. It can also contain principles that guide T&D (things like equity, adult learning; accessibility etc etc) A strategy would be developed in consultation with business areas tio ensure strategy aligns with organisational goals and budgets. A strategy may look over a (eg) >4) year period.

    More detailed training and development plans will need to be devloped under the strategy (ie it sets the objectives / key strategies/direction) – the more detailed plans set out exactly HOW it will all happen by when and for/by whom and key milestones and targets

    A policy would cover as Graham describes…. my way of describing it is that a policy outlines the organisation’s commitment to training, what staff can expect in terms of training & development opportunity, it may contain “policy” about workplace health and sefty & training; the organisation’s position on accreditation; who pays; when training will be done (ie in work time / out of work time/ on the job; experiential; online; blended etc / staff compensation for university study fees etc etc etc. A policy is developed in consultation with senior managers but can often take into account factors such as industrial relations, workplace health & safety etc. A policy provides a longer term platform and governs the WAY in which the strategy is delivered (ie delivery has to meet the policy guidleines)

  3. CIPD Diploma in T&D?
    Having read your question, I would like to ask one in response. I was not aware that the CIPD actually ran a Diploma in Training & Development, simply the Certificate in Training Practice and professional pathways. Can you advise me as to whether this is a new qualification? Many of our clients already have CTP and a DiTD would be a wonderful next step if it exists. Many thanks.

  4. Policy or Strategy
    I understand policy as an expression of underlying principles or values, e.g. ‘we will provide all staff with equal access to training opportunities’. Strategy is more practice orientated, e.g. ‘what methods we will use to reach our goals within this specific time period’. Does that help?

  5. What and how

    Being fairly new to these terms myself, the way I see it is that a Policy defines what’s to be done and a Strategy defines how it’ll be done…that’s the simplest way of understanding it for me!

  6. CIPD Diploma in T&D

    In answer to your query there is a Diploma that is run by BPP Malpas, but follows the Training & Development Generalist and Specialist T&D Electives for the Graduate CIPD qualification. On successfully passing the course you gain Licentiate membership to CIPD, rather than the Associate level membership that the CTP gives you. Like Emma, I am also studying the Diploma.


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