The Skills Shortage – Grow Your Own

I have had an interesting conversation recently where a couple of business owners were complaining about the cost of training, obviously I was keen to understand their position and what they meant by expensive.

It was clear that one member of the group thought ANY training was a burden and felt it was a luxury he did not wish to fund in any way. The others were clear that training was something they often thought about, but the investment of time and money always seems ed to be a real issue.

I pointed the real-world consequences of the out the old saying:

“Training may seem expensive, but the cost of not investing in training is even more expensive in the long run”.

It’s a well-documented fact that the UK is in the grip of a skills shortage, and its predicted to get worse in the coming years. The group of business owners agreed, adding that hiring staff with the best skills was becoming very difficult.

I guess it’s no surprise that I am often asked why this is the case given the advances in online training and a much larger pool of qualified coaches in the market place.

Well, having given this issue a little thought it seems to me to be a mix of several factors that have created a perfect storm scenario.

To start with, training and development budgets were slashed during and after the financial crash of 2008, the truth is that they have never really recovered. Most training managers are being asked to do kore with much less, and the result is a very thin spread over all within the workforce.

Employers are faced with employees that see their professional training and development to be a key part of their employment package, when it happens in a hit and miss way, or not at all, guess what – l they look to move to other employers that promise this in their recruitment promotional material.

It’s clear that investing in core training and development is essential for the future success of your teams, especially so-called soft skills as work forces become more diversified in location, soft skills are the key to developing effective managers. The solution to how to get more from the training budget is a partnership approach.

My view has always been clear, employment contracts are a contract and it’s a two-way partnership, employees need to also pitch in some effort and take some personal responsibility with their skill and knowledge development and work with their employers to find ways of getting the best out of training and development budgets and CDP opportunities.

Online Learning has become ubiquitous, from YouTube to various training platforms including Udemy to Linda the choice is wide with varying degrees of quality.

Full business focused qualifications are also available including ILM leadership & management and coaching certifications.

The partnership I mention is where the employer pays all or some of the qualification and training investment, the employee invests their personal time to study and complete the training gaining solid knowledge, skills and of course full qualifications.

This approach can really be a win-win relationship, the employer gets a skilled and motivated team member and the employee gets to develop their career. Obviously, a documented commitment from the employee to repay some or all of the investment if they decide to leave the company before a year etc would still need to be in place.

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Author: Tony Nutley is the CEO of the UK College of Personal Development.