Workplace Training


Ensuring that everyone in the workplace is clued up on what is expected of them, and reaching their full potential, is an essential priority for a good business. A great way of achieving this is through providing workplace training.

Not only will training help a company ensure that they are toeing the line in terms of UK legislation, but it will also help employees work on their professional development. It’s a win-win.

A recent study even found that offering training to employees has a bigger impact on retention than perhaps many believed. It was found that 56% of staff stated they would leave their current role, if the company they work for no longer provided workplace training. Further to this 31% left their job for this exact reason.

If you’re becoming aware of the importance of workplace training for the first time, it’s likely you’ll have a lot of questions. Well, don’t descend into panic. Read on to learn more about the different types of workplace training, who is eligible for time off, when you can refuse requests and more!

Different types of training in the workplace

Workplace training is the process by which employees develop their skills, expand their knowledge and improve their efficiency. However, while some training is optional and part of professional development, other training is statutory and/or mandatory.

Both the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 outline requirements relating to health and safety training. Under these pieces of legislation, it is a company’s responsibility to ensure that they provide sufficient training, and instruction to employees around health and safety. Especially when employees are working in high-risk or potentially dangerous areas.

That being said, statutory requirements around training typically vary depending on the sector. For example, if an employee works in the healthcare sector as a nurse, statutory training would include core health and safety training such as:

  • Awareness training of the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH)
  • Awareness training of the local health and safety policy
  • Basic risk assessment training
  • Manual handling training

Meanwhile, mandatory training is compulsory training which is a requirement by a specific body or organisation, to ensure both efficiency, effectiveness and safety. Mandatory training for a nurse could include:

  • Training around dementia awareness
  • Conflict resolution training
  • Training around blood transfusion processes
  • Training around infection prevention and control

Eligibility for time off

If an employee has worked for an employer for a minimum of 26 weeks, they can apply for time off to undertake training, under Section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996. However, for a request to be approved, the training must provide them with skills relevant to their work, or lead to a qualification that will improve their performance.

If an employee wants to apply for time off, a written request will suffice. In this letter, employees should include the date of their request, the skills or qualifications that will be gained through the training and how the training will lead to improvements in performance. Additionally, employees should also include information about whether or not they have applied for and undergone training before.

Once this application has been sent off, an employer has up to 28 to either make a decision, and give this to the employee in writing. Alternatively, an employer can propose a meeting to discuss the ins and outs of the situation. Of course, it is not a decision that will be taken lightly by an employer.

It’s worth bearing in mind that employees do not have to take this all on by themselves. It’s perfectly acceptable to bring either a work colleague or trade union representative along, too.

Once a meeting has been held, and both parties have voiced their concerns, an employer then has an additional 14 days to make a final decision.

Unfortunately, while the majority of people are entitled to make such a request, there are a few situations where this doesn’t apply. If a worker is an agency worker, or an employee is aged 16-18 years, and already expected to undertake training in conjunction with education requirements, they are not entitled to apply.

Can requests for time off be refused?

Although an employee can make a request for time off training, this doesn’t mean that their request will automatically be accepted. An employer is well within their rights to refuse for the following:

  • If the training is not related to the employee’s role or the company’s needs
  • The training would be detrimental to company and the employee would be unable to perform their job to the standard that is required
  • The company would be unable to replace the employee and reorganise their workload if they were to take time off for training
  • The training would be costly to the company

However, if an employee disagrees with the company’s refusal, that is not necessarily the final say. Employees are entitled to contest this decision.

To do this, an employee should appeal within 14 days of the employer’s decision. Once this appeal has been made in writing, an employer will typically hold a meeting to discuss the appeal, after which, the employer has an additional 14 days to make a decision.

If an employee finds that they are still unhappy with this response, and they believe that they have a case, it could be time to take it to an employment tribunal. However, before this is done, the employee must contact Acas, to ask for advice and raise their grievance.

The benefits of workplace training

There are so many different benefits to workplace training, and this is now recognised widely. Providing workplace training and boosting the skills and competence of employees is a great way to ensure companies retain staff. Not only does it show employees that their company values them, but it also fosters loyalty!

And, when an employee feels valued and their loyalty to the company is enhanced, this is bound to improve employee performance. With a greater sense of empowerment, and autonomy, an employee is more likely to be engaged with their work, and perhaps even create more innovation within the workplace.

On top of motivating and inspiring employees, workplace training also ensures that there is a high level of consistency amongst employees. This will make sure that everyone is capable of performing the tasks they are assigned to.

Best practices for workplace training

Of course employers and employees will only get the best out of workplace training, if it is organised in an effective and efficient way. When creating an internal training program, it’s important to begin by deciding what the program’s goals are and what the company seeks to achieve through the program. Therefore it is vital to create a strategic development plan.

On top of this, it’s important to remember that when it comes to training, one size does not fit all. So, it’s a good idea to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team, and respond to this with a personalised training program that successfully fills knowledge and skill gaps.

Soft skills are all the rage these days, and many employers have recognised their importance. Therefore, focusing on developing these skills is a must. And, don’t forget about technical skills relating to IT. In the ever-changing technological landscape, it’s essential that both companies and their employees keep their finger on the pulse.

Final thoughts

Now you know all the tricks and trips around workplace training, get a wiggle on, introduce a stellar training program, and witness the fantastic impact it will have on your business.

You only get out what you put in, and the time and dedication your company spends on developing a program will show!

Article Created By Madaline Dunn

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