The simple answer is that it can be, depending on your needs and staff numbers. Costs can accumulate very quickly when they involve exam fees, study materials, instructors, travel expenses, time ‘off-the-job’…and so on. Some training is mandatory as it is a legal duty of being an employer, such as manual handling and food hygiene, and is therefore not subsidised in any way by the government. This can add a lot to an already stretched training budget. But, it doesn’t have to be.
E-learning is a fast-growing industry because of both its ease of access (all you need is a computer and the internet) and because of its variability. There are virtual reference guides, bite-sized modules, automated tutorials, webinars, and synchronous learning which blends the webinar with an instructor’s input. Because of this variability, e-learning caters for the many different learning styles of your learners and can easily become a part of ‘on-the-job’ training instead. It allows employees access not just from one location, but many around the country and even in their own home, cutting down on travel expenses and conference fees.
With the government’s pledge to increase apprenticeship provision across all levels, and the apprenticeship levy, now is the best time to take that leap into training apprenticeships or increase your offering. With a bevy of qualifications covered (including ACA, CIMA, ATT, CFA, ICA) and the introduction of higher-level and degree apprenticeships, they are available for anyone wishing to gain further skills and qualifications. This means it’s not just for training school-leavers but also upskilling your current employees.
You may already be paying into the levy funding, in which case you should make sure you’re getting value by ensuring you encourage your employees to express their interest and being working towards their career aspirations today. If you’re not, then government funding is still possible to make sure you can access the same benefits.
Apprenticeships allow you to take back some of the control in training employees in the way you wish them to be, to encourage the development of skills you wish them to acquire, and the knowledge you’d like them to have. You can tailor the apprenticeship, like many bespoke training providers, to your needs, and with funding from the levy, it will cost less than you think.
- Share knowledge and skills internally through in-house training
- Ensure performance management is effective in identifying needs so training can be targeted rather than broad, but also identify strengths and encourage peer support methods and mentoring.
- Search for reductions in training costs, such as filling the last available spaces on course, group booking discounts, pilot schemes, or late availability courses. It’s always worth enquiring about when looking into training courses and costs because you never know.
- Self-directed learning – this could take the form of some of the e-learning options mentioned, or it could be paper-based or video resources (see our ‘5 ways to lower the cost of delivering bespoke training costs’ for more ideas and information), or even through studying distance courses and through the Open University.
It’s important to remember, when analysing and evaluating your current training procedures, processes and strategy, why it is important.
Well trained employees = happy employees. They feel valued and more loyal to the organisation if they are encouraged to continue training and provided opportunities to seek advancement. Having an effective training offer also attracts a higher class of candidate when it is time to replace or expand your workforce.
Untrained staff = unhappy staff. They feel unappreciated and underutilised and are likely to be frustrated, less loyal and more likely to make mistakes or fail to meet minimum standards.
Therefore, it is important to keep analysing and evaluating the strengths and training needs of your staff, and your current training strategy to ensure it is both cheap and effective so your workforce is working to its potential.