Train to Gain: It pays to develop the skills of your workforce

The Government’s vision is a strong and enterprising economy with full
employment based on high quality, highly-skilled jobs. Skills are
crucial to success, and Workforce Development is part of Government’s
direct support to businesses and other organisations. Each organisation
is usually allocated a Human Resource Development Advisor (HRD) who

  • Review the company’s HRD strategy to ensure that all staff
    development and training will effectively support the business
  • Specify the actions required to develop the HRD strategy through an agreed organisation and development plan
  • Specify the training and development requirements through an agreed Organisation Learning Plan.
  • Review provision options through introduction to the local
    provider network, and provision of on-going brokerage support, as
    required, to assist the implementation of the development plan and the
    learning plan
  • Introduce organisations to the Investors in People Standard and support them towards assessment and review.

In addition to this one-to-one advice, you may be able to find existing training programmes that are available including:

  • Work-based Learning
  • Sector led programmes, e.g. automotive, metal skills industry, electronics, energy and optronics
  • Subsidies each time you employ a worker who has been made redundant from a company in the last 6 months
  • Leadership and Management Development Workshops
  • Support for apprenticeship training.

Organisations may receive discretionary funding from £1,000 to £50,000
depending on size and economic importance. The grant can be used for
most training and development needs outside of the existing programmes
– up to 70% match funding any training needs identified by the HRD

There are several initiatives throughout the UK – constantly being updated. For more information click here.

Workforce development initiatives are now much more flexible,
responsive and tuned in to the needs of employers, especially small to
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with under 250 employees.

Training the workforce to be ready for an upturn is crucial in
preparing the UK economy for the future. Firms should take the
opportunity to upskill their managers too, since a number of reports
have indicated that there is room for improvement:

“…there is some evidence…that UK companies adopt more modern
management techniques…later and less often than their competitors…”
DTI: UK Competitiveness; Moving to the Next Stage 2003

“…a substantial gap between the performance of the top 25% of
organisations and the bottom 25% due most probably to better management
and business practices in the top quartile of firms…”
Cranfield University: Closing the Gap 2003

“…poor management means that British workers waste more than a third
of their time at work…largely as a result of insufficient management
planning and control, and inadequate supervision…”
Proudfoot Consultancy: Managing for Mediocrity 2004

One of the most popular programmes with SMEs is a training course to
build the skills and knowledge required to become effective in a team
leader/supervisory role. Courses can be delivered as a series of
workshops giving team leaders the confidence to build on their
experience and improve their effectiveness. Organisations gain by the
development of:

  • Competent team leaders able to make more informed operational decisions
  • Competent team leaders able to improve team performances
  • Team leaders committed to continuing professional development.

Most programmes are suitable for new team leaders entering first line
management and experienced team leaders needing structured development.

Another well used programme is the NVQ in Business Improvement
Techniques (BIT). The qualification aims to improve business
performance as a whole. To achieve the award of the NVQ in BIT a
candidate must be able to demonstrate that they have delivered
sustainable improvement activities which have delivered direct Quality,
Cost and Delivery benefits to their organisation. The NVQ in BIT also
demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to employee training, drives
a reduction in health and safety issues and validates the quality of
the workforce capability to current and potential customers.

The award of an NVQ remains with a candidate if they move within an
organisation or to a new organisation and provides qualified evidence
of their capability. It is therefore a valuable qualification for the
individual as well as for the organisation.

Government has recognised that during the downturn some employers may
be facing the difficult decision to make staff redundant. With that in
mind, they are currently in the process of putting together a range of
new measures to help workers facing redundancy. If any member of staff
is made redundant when they are part of the way through their training
programme, there may be an opportunity to continue to fund their
training, even after they have left employment.

For the latest information about grants and funding to develop your staff, click here.