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Training & Development Policy


I am currently re-writing our training and development policy and strategy and am looking at the possibility of introducing some sort of non-vocational grant. Along the lines of £100 to go and do anything - night class in still life drawing or woodworking, or golf lessons etc. Is this something that companies are offering these days, and if so how much, are there conditions attached, what percentage of employees take up the offer, does it work as a motivator/help with loyalty etc.
Claire Donnelly

16 Responses

  1. Ford Motor Company might still do this
    A couple of years ago I took my ‘Day Skipper’ evening classes at my local sailing club, and shared the lessons with a couple of people from Fords who are given money to attend any course of their choosing in their own time. So they might be worth a call?

    Hope this helps

  2. Half and Half training
    My company is going through a similiar channge period as regards to ‘soft skills’ One of the options suggested by the employees tghemselves was for the company to fun half of a training course with the employees the other half. The company would give the day off for the coutrse if required. according to staff surveys lack of training was a major issues in retention and motivation of staff.

  3. Brilliant Idea
    I think this is a great idea Claire. I am a business psychologist & think this fits well with a lot of motivational theory. I must admit though, that I know of none of my clients who do this. It seems cost effective in a number of ways & I don’t think any conditions should be attached – just one of the benefits of offering this sort of thing is that you are recognising the individual and the fact that they want to develop in all sorts of ways (Self-actualisation). Genuine loyalty comes from unconditional love! Sensible admin though would include the ‘usual conditions’ for any sponsorship (depending on your budgetary constraints) e.g. no. of grants allowed, min. length of service(?), booking arrangements etc.

  4. It’s happening out there!

    I have come across one company that does this kind of thing and it has certainly had a degree of success. Staff in this particular company appreciated being given the opportunity, but as I understand it the take was fairly low. I think there were probably two reasons for this:
    1. The scheme was only communicated on one occasion and not all staff were aware of the scheme.
    2. The take up was low because people said that they didn’t have time outside of the working environment to take advantage of the offer (working long hours, having to look after the kids and just being too tired were some of the reasons given)

    I hope that this helps

    Laura Watkinson

  5. Try these links/contacts


    Ford were the first UK company to introduce Employee Development Schemes in the late 1980's. Since that time more than 800 schemes have been set up – so there should be plenty of detail out there.

    If you log onto the government web site ( there are plenty of references to EDS. As a shortcut try the following link which should take you to a research paper 'The Role of Employee Development Schemes in Increasing Learning At Work'.

    Also reference to Lancaster University Tel Fiona Frank 01524 592679.

    Alternatively try your local Business Link or LSC

    Good luck and I would be interested in hearing how you fare.

  6. Educational Support

    I would be very interested in knowing how you get on. We have an Educational Support scheme that funds employees on course that are not directly related to their present job, but will help them in the future. At present it still has to be job related in some way. Examples are HNC’s in Buisness, CIPD courses etc. Under the scheme the company pays for the course and the employee contributes 25%. Then if they complete the course and stay 6 months they get thier 25% back.

    I have aslo written a Training and Developemnt Philosphy for the company. If you want a copy let me know.

    Hope this helps, if you want any further infomation, please mail me.

  7. John Lewis
    I believe The John Lewis Partnership also offer this kind of benefit on a 50/50 basis. They may be worth a call.

  8. eLearning Network
    I went to a conference of the eLearning Network ( on 25 Jan of this year. The first speaker was director of ScottishPower Learning. They offer a wide range of courses covering vocational and personal development. The idea is ‘learning to learn’. 70% of ScottishPower employees have enrolled on one or more courses, and it proved to be a success. A report about the conference can be found on the eLearning Network website.

  9. Tax implications
    Just a word of warning – I have a feeling that if development paid for by the employer is not job related, then tax and NI must be paid on the amount of the grant – check this with the Revenue before you commit yourself to distributing funds.

  10. From a provider perspective
    Having worked on the delivery end I can offer a slightly different perspective from student feedback and from the occassional employer. The “Learning to learn” approach is definitely of merit; it gets people out of the loop of the normal work existence and can give a start to opening them up to looking at other things in a different perspective. On the vocational angle it is easy to see when job related, but I have known it work outside of the vocational field direct. The key is actually having a work situation that is open to ideas and to the new, and that is something many businesses, conservative with a small c (sometimes a very big c!), fall down. In industry I have seen this effect work positively and I have also seen the life squeezed out of it by indifference and fear of change/challenge.

    Without the backup framework to take advantage it will remain a very nice freebie.

  11. Benefits personal development
    We have had a similar policy for about 10 years. Our stipulations are : the recipient has to justify how the training aids their personal development; they must complete the programme or repay the cost.

    From experience, we have drawn the line at things like scuba diving and golf or similar leisure activities although in some (very few) cases I could probably make a real case for it.

    Take-up is surprisingly low – probably because we insist on full completion – i.e. real commitment.

  12. Employee led development
    We have been running a successful employee led development scheme called Jumpstart since 1995. Over the period, we have found that benefits to the individuals, the teams and the organisation as a whole far outweigh the costs. For a modest investment of less than 10% of the training budget, we have been able to offer personal development opportunities to staff who traditionally have not had many opportunities. Self-esteem, confidence to apply for promotions, motivation, retention rates, absence, loyalty, take-up of job-related training have all improved since we have been running the scheme. More details are available on

  13. help with study costs in the Square mile
    The Corporation of London offers up to £200 to any City worker to follow any course of learning anywhere, proviing this mathched by the company and the learner. I am currently evaulauting our scheme but would bep leased to discuss this.

  14. This could be a brilliant idea for technical people
    I think this sounds like an absolutely wonderful idea – especially for introverted technical people who generally dislike the holiday camp atmosphere of company get-togethers.

  15. Doing it here!

    BAE Systems (and its many predecessors and subsidiaries now) picked up a scheme during the late eighties that came from Rover. Its called PASS and offers £100 per annum for learning activities, non-job related but with some criteria attached (e.g. recognised body, completion certificate of some sort etc). Not sure how much it motivates / helps retention but its low cost and is seen as a good benefit from employee representatives.


  16. Armed Forces

    The Armed Forces have offered this kind of benefit for Servicemen and women for a number of years. Although take-up has been low (somewhere around 10%, across Army, RAF and RN personnel) it is considerd to be an important motivator for individuals to take responsibility for their own personal development. The Standard Learning Credit scheme allows Service personnel (all ranks) to claim 80% of their study fees up to £175 annually.
    You can find out more at and

    If you are serious about writing something like this into your company’s training and development policy, I strongly recommend you decide what you want it to achieve. If you don’t, you will eventually have considerable difficulty in evaluating its effectiveness and when budgets become tight, it will be difficult to justify the expense.

    Good luck

    Chris Cordery


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