What are the current barriers to training and learning provision in the UK?

A recent report commissioned by IMC (UK) Learning, reveals some interesting barriers to training and learning in the UK in the current climate and provides interesting reading. http://www.im-c.de/uploads/media/IMC-research-SMB-barriers-to-training.pdf

Interestingly, more than 80% of respondents say that enabling employees to learn is important for their business but more than 30% of those say that their employees are so busy firefighting for survival at the moment that they have little or no time to undertake training.  In terms of barriers, time is the major factor for almost 25% of the respondents, with organisations now being more aware of the indirect costs of training, such as time off the job, being a barrier to increasing training at the moment.  This leads to many organisations moving to e-learning as the solution as it reduces the cost per head of training but 42% think that appropriate off-the-shelf content is hard to find.

So what does that say about our industry at the moment?  Well, for me, we are not doing our jobs properly if we are not clearly able to show the return on investment, including indirect costs which we often, conveniently, forget to include in ROI calculations (where we do them at all).  If we can’t show the benefit of the training that employees are undertaking, why are we offering it at all? 

And the off-the-shelf e-learning problem?  Well, once again, there are few really good off-the-shelf providers and our customers are now becoming really good at see the wool that has been pulled over their eyes for some time about converting a PowerPoint presentation and calling it e-learning. 

Let this be a warning to us.  We have got to start offering our customers what they need and demonstrating that our offering meets that need.

Comments (6)

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  • 1
    me wrote on 14th Nov 2009

    money!!! we cant afford £1,000-£3,000 just for a 3-day course

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  • 2
    dabr wrote on 16th Nov 2009

    course fees are extremely high and there is no guarantee that you get a job, especially without experience.

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  • 3
    pbw wrote on 18th Nov 2009

    agree with dabr, when the typical IT course is £200+travel+time off work/day plus exam fee it is easy to spend £1500 on a certifcate that does not get a job.
    This is made worse when only companies with buying power are able to get discounts on training!
    Why does the government not support individuals training to improve job prospects?

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  • 4
    pointo1d wrote on 18th Nov 2009

    Why does the government not support individuals training to improve job prospects?

    They do/it does ... but, AFAICT, iff you are unemployed!!

    Thus, as dabr hints, any training procured this way is effectively useless because it hasn't been provided in the context of active experience.

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  • 5
    Michelle wrote on 27th Nov 2009

    You're missing the flip side.
    People need time to learn, whether it's something new, a better way to do something already know or something else - we all need to keep our skills up.

    The cost of "time out of the office", should be looked at as an investment, instead it's looked as wasted.

    What's wasted is time doing things "the long way" or even "the wrong way".

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  • 6
    LThompson wrote on 9th Dec 2009

    For someone who has worked as an IT tutor both in the private and public sector. There is plenty of scope for making IT learning more accessible to the people that need it.

    Sometimes the barrier is not the training itself but legislation in the delivery of tests. Where, and who can provide them. And also the high fees for administration.

    Quality IT training can done in the workplace, with little or no disruption to the learners work pattern. A good IT trainer will adapt themselves to their clients requirements.

    There is also too much emphasis with colleges and private training companies, in achieving targets for funding. If a person just wants to learn some IT skills so it enables them to do there role more efficiently, why can't they do just that. Instead of having a trainer coercing a learner into do a qualification, they really don't want to do.

    I have lost count of the times that potential learners have discussed with me, the disappointment and pressure they felt whilst trying to learn IT under a private company or college.

    It is about time some one should listen to new innovative ways of providing training, or this nations IT skills gap, in the most important area of business is set to continue

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About the author
Jooli Atkins (FBCS, CITP) has been involved in the IT profession for the past 25 years, mainly in Learning and Development. She is the Chair of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and CITP assessor as well as being an accredited SFIA consultant, specialising in Business Change.

See all posts by Jooli Atkins

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