To Train or Not To Train?

Paul Naybour


In light of the new “Time to Train” legislation which came into force on the 6th April 2010, all employees now have the right to request time off for training, many organisations have been feeling somewhat unnerved by what it could mean for them given the current economic conditions. The legislation is currently aimed at employers with 250 or more staff but will be extended to smaller employers in April next year.

Employees are entitled to request time away from their core duties to undertake training, which can be accredited, leading to a recognised qualification or even just to develop specific skills relevant to their current role or business.

Employees can request any training they believe will improve their performance and/or the business. They can request as much time as they require for relevant training and employers can only decline the request if, the training does not improve the performance of the business, the burden of additional costs is too great or the employer cannot reorganise work among existing staff.

Despite the fact employers are not obliged to pay for the training or the time off, the impact of losing a key member of staff for any length of time could still be substantial to a business and they will have to ensure they can provide the correct support cover for their time away from work. Employers may even have to pay for extra staff to come in, all of which can be costly and disruptive for any business, regardless of its size.

The best approach businesses should take is one of planned support. Employers need to help and advise staff about what their training options are, what would be best for their particular role, development objectives and to plan ahead for potential courses and training that staff my decide to take at a later date.

Organisations that are not supportive in these decisions could risk losing employees to competitor companies offering more benefits and internal support for staff looking to train and develop within the organisation. It is important to offer staff as many training options as possible and to consider shorter, more cost effective and distance learning packages that will be constructive to staff and employers and have the minimum effect on the business during training – the perfect compromise.

Courses such as Parallel Project Training’s Distance Learning package are the perfect solution as it offers not only a shorter APMP training course, which requires only three days out of the office as opposed to five, it also allows students to study for the APM project management qualification from their own home or office and at their own pace allowing staff to be more flexible in how they do their training, which is beneficial to both the employee and employer.

These types of courses are ideal for important and busy staff that may be unable to devote five consecutive days out of the office for training. Businesses should do their research now to find out which courses would be relevant to their employees and help up-skill staff with the minimum impact on the business before the inevitable staff training requests begin.

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