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Feature: The Rising Status of Training

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MeetingLearning and development has often been one of the first budgets to be cut when times are tough. Drawing on a survey of HR and training managers, Sally Worsley-Speck, Research Manager at Capita Learning & Development, predicts that this perception of training as a "nice to have" is changing.


Employees will find it reassuring to learn that organisations consider training to be a priority for 2006. In recent times, the struggle to maintain a balance between the needs of their staff and the budgets they hold – especially the training budget – has often been only too apparent especially in periods of economic downturn. However, as we look forward to a new year, times seem to be changing.

According to a survey undertaken by Capita Learning & Development, not only do employers see training as priority, they’re putting their money where their mouths are. Today, over 75% of HR experts within the public and private sector believe that training is given the appropriate attention within their organisation. This finding is reflected in the fact that training budgets in 80% of UK organisations are set to increase or remain the same in 2006.

This can only be a good thing, considering the training investment made in members of staff is crucial to organisational success. These findings suggest employers recognise that people are an organisation’s finest assets. To develop their abilities increases their level of expertise, which in turn boosts confidence and motivation as well as bringing a sense of pride and commitment to whatever they do. What more could an organisation desire?

Management development
The findings highlight that 93% of senior managers had so far attended a training course in 2005. Courses in management and leadership and people skills and communication, which are directed at management level, were identified as key skills from which organisations would benefit most. It seems that as well as investing more money into training, managers are also investing their time, and organisations are clearly focusing on the development of managers in-line with succession planning rather than recruiting externally.

Training, however, is vital at every level of an organisation and ensuring the delivery of training is both relevant and contemporary depends on a good understanding of the needs, and how the learning will be implemented to make the organisation more successful. The English Oxford Dictionary states that to train is to teach a person a particular skill or type of behaviour. Although it is widely acknowledged that technical skills may be integral to a specific role it’s the people skills that can drive a business.

ROI
It can appear difficult to demonstrate Return on Investment for the development of people skills but if budgetary spend has increased, the management will want to see the results. Therefore, to continue to gain maximum benefit to the individual as well as keep and grow the budget for 2007, training analysis and evaluation is essential. The budget may be secure for another year and we know that management see the requirement, it’s now a question of how training is delivered and how success is measured.

* Do you feel training has become an elevated priority within your organisation? Post a comment below or email the editor at [email protected].

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