Bosses turn to training to credit-crunch proof their business

The nation’s bosses are pledging to train their staff to protect themselves against the economic downturn, according to new research by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to mark the first Colleges Week.
Three quarters of company directors (77 per cent) believe it is important to invest in staff training in the current economic climate.

And with colleges across the country providing training for employers of all sizes, 76 per cent said that such training helps to diversify skills in the workforce and 84 per cent claimed that employees are far more efficient following training.
The Government has pledged to help business in the tougher economic climate.

Through the Train to Gain programme, worth £520 million this year, businesses can access targeted training for their staff.

Colleges will play a key role in helping business access this support as well as providing the training their staff need. 
David Collins, President of the Association of Colleges, commented:

“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.”

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.”
Aware of the difference training makes to the bottom line, 82 per cent of bosses reported uplift in staff productivity – translating to an average nine per cent increase in company turnover following staff training.
And in recognition of the potential return on investment college training can provide, nearly one in five (18 per cent) said their organisation would increase the amount of training it provided during the credit crunch with half (55 per cent) saying it would remain at the same level.
This will be welcome news to the senior figures in the business community who, through national newspaper adverts, have been calling on employers to resist cutting back on training following research. 

The adverts, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, state that companies who don’t invest in training are two and a half times more likely to fail than those that do.
At present 81 per cent of companies send their employees on formally accredited training courses while 13 per cent opt for a non-accredited route.

Two thirds of company directors and managers interviewed rated their company’s commitment to training as good with 29 per cent scoring an average rating.
Colleges Week, led by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS) and the Association of Colleges (AoC), is a national celebration of the role colleges play in unlocking talent in communities, transforming the lives of learners and helping businesses to succeed.

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