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Learning and development professionals stepping up to budget challenges

Learning and development professionals are meeting strained budgets by implementing tailored, business-focused training, reveals the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The body’s annual survey of more than 700 professionals shows 52 per cent of learning and development funds have declined in the volatile economic environment. Only 11 per cent of those surveyed expect training to increase in the year to come.

However, headcounts in learning and training development departments have largely remained the same in the last year through improved efficiency. The drive to manage costs has also seen 38 per cent of departments become more business-focused and 31 per cent have reduced external suppliers in favour of in-house provision.

In order to meet business objectives as the UK’s private sector emerges from recession, 65 per cent of skills employers say they need to focus on leadership skills, 55 per cent highlight front line people management skills and 51 per cent single out business awareness.

Dr John McGurk, CIPD’s learning and talent adviser, says: “Our annual survey demonstrates that learning and development professionals across the country are rising to the challenge of implementing core training to ensure business success and innovating to ensure long term survival.

“A skilled and motivated workforce will be essential to ensure organisations are well placed to take advantage of the recovery when it comes.”

For the first time, the survey also asked specific questions of those working for international organisations. Once again leadership skills feature as a top priority, with 42 per cent saying it is important to meet business objectives in two years’ time.

Dr McGurk continues: “It’s particularly good to see that learning and development professionals are focusing on leadership and people management skills as key to support business growth during the tough times.

“Ensuring front-line managers are well trained to deliver on their people management responsibilities can have a direct and valuable impact on the performance of their staff and their organisation’s success.”

Jason Rainbow

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