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Money for staff to learn anything schemes



Has anyone got any experience of setting up and running schemes whereby staff are given a certain amount of money which they can then spend usually on anything they like so long as it involves some learning e.g. flower arranging, learning a language? If so, I'd like to hear your experiences as I'm due to put some thoughts together around whether these schemes are a good idea and how they work.

Many thanks
Alison Clayton-Smith

10 Responses

  1. Ford

    Unfortunately I’m not in a position to comment one way or the other on these schemes through practical experience but hopefully one day…

    But I’m pretty sure that it was Ford who introduced this concept (in a major organisation) so it might be worth contacting their HR/training department and seeing if they can give you any pointers.


  2. No Limits
    Why put a limit on the budget.
    The purpose of training is to increase the value of the workforce as a rescource.
    The value of the resource is measured in its ability to make money.
    If training can be shown to add value then why limit the money spent on it.
    Only if training does not add value should we question why we are doing it.

  3. Scheme outline
    I formerly worked for an organisation who ran such a scheme, which was popular with staff. Key points:

    1.The Scheme had a fixed maximum amount per person
    2. Funds allocated in advance from general training budget, with a deadline for staff to apply
    3. Staff to put in application for approval by HR, but this could not be reasonably refused as long as clear learning need identified – not necessarily linked to job.
    4. Funds could be used in a variety of ways: courses, workshops, books etc.
    5. Administratively – staff to book and pay for learning, order books etc. and present claim to HR with receipts. Refunded through payroll.

    Hope this helps.

  4. What’s to stop…….
    Forgive me for asking but how you prevent staff from using you to subsidise their next employment move. For instance, if I want to move into law, I find a nightschool class, you pay for it I get qualified and leave. Isnt that self defeating? Especially if the course has no relationship to the job.
    Just a thought and one which we’d all frown upon if it was taxpayer’s money involved.

  5. If you treat people as if they are children, that is the way the
    The reason that staff will want to use the money to fund their next employment move is probably because they are not happy where they are being employed.

    If they were satisfied that they were being given due respect, valued for their experience and their contribution to the organisation then it is unlikely that they would think of doing anything to harm or reduce their value to the organisation that treated them so well.

    Giving people what they want instead of making them fight for every penny is a fundamental change in attitude that produces a fundamentally different reaction.

    If you treat people as if they are children they will behave like children.
    If you treat people as if they are valuable then that is what they become.

    Employees have been treated like children for so long that we forget they are not.

  6. Ask for context
    I think that such schemes can be valuable for an organisation as long as learning is applied in the same organisation. Our organisation asks for a “learning contract” – a short document used to demonstrate the relevance of learning in the development context of the beneficiary AND organisational .

  7. Already used a scheme effectively
    I have just left Barclays Bank who currently run a Learning Fund allowing £150 per staff member for what ever they wish to spend the money on. Over three years I personally used it to gain additional qualifications which eventually meant I left the bank! Happy to give more information if you want to contact me.

  8. South Yorks private study scheme
    South Yorks Police have a scheme called ‘Private Study Scheme’ where employees can apply for funding up to 75% of the cost of the course. It is open to all employees, police officers and police staff. There are criteria to meet with their application such as benefits to the organisation and benefits to the individual (and others.) The applications are consider once a year by a panel of staff and an independant police authority member. It is very successful and well used. Part of the learning agreement is that if employees leave of their own accord within one year of completion they will repay the cost of the course undertaken. For us it is about development of our employees rather than concern they may leave after gaining a qualification. If you want to know more please get in touch

  9. union links
    Do you recognise unions in your workplace? The TUC and dozens of unions have been working for to develop union learning reps who work with their employer and local training/learning providers to develop (mainly free) workplace learning projects and encourage employees (espeically those with less confidence in learning) to take part in courses (often, but not exclusively, IT and languages). For more info contact me or get details from (select the page for the your region)


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