From education to employment

Research shows bosses turn to training in tackling credit crunch

Bosses across the UK have pledged to train their staff to improve the prospects of their company in the wake of the economic downturn.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) revealed 77 per cent of company directors said it is important to invest in staff training because of the current economic climate. The survey also found 76 per cent believe colleges, that are providing training for employers of all sizes, are helping diversify skills in the workforce. Some 84 per cent of directors went further to claim employees are far more efficient as a result of such training.

Skills Secretary John Denham said: "Investing in training is essential to any business but it is more important than ever in the current economic climate. We know that those businesses who invest in the skills of their staff do better than those who don’t.

"This is why I recently announced an additional £350m support package for small businesses to improve the skills of their employees. This will fund training in areas which we know will help employers bottom line such as business improvement techniques, leadership or management.

"As we celebrate Colleges Week and all of the work colleges do in supporting the business community, we would urge all companies to investigate all the training options available to them."

Highlighting the difference training makes to the bottom line, 82 per cent of bosses reported it caused an increase in staff productivity, which translated to an average nine per cent uplift in company turnover following staff training.

The survey showed 18 per cent intend to increase the amount of training in recognition of the potential return on investment college training can provide, with 55 per cent saying it would remain at the same level. This will provide some relief the the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which has warned employers to resist scaling back on training after it found those who don’t invest are two and a half times more likely to fail than those that do.

David Collins, President of the Association of Colleges, said: "Colleges are instrumental in helping businesses achieve their goals through the good times and the bad. In the current economic climate it is more important than ever for companies not to not cut back on training as a motivated and productive workforce with the right skills will help a business to survive.

"The business breakfasts taking place as part of Colleges Week are an ideal opportunity for companies to investigate the training options available to them and how they can unlock their employees’ talent. We would urge all businesses to pick up the phone and get in touch with their local college."

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