National Institute of Adult Continuing Education finds older workers more responsible about their own training

The older the worker, the more likely they are to feel responsible for their own training and development.

According to a National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (Niace) survey of employee attitudes to training and development (T&D), 28% of the youngest group polled, 17- to 19-year-olds, felt the main responsibility for T&D lay with themselves. By contrast, 41% of workers aged 55 or over shared this view.

On average, 36% of the 2,076 employees polled by Niace ( felt they bore the main responsibility for their own T&D. Just over one in five workers surveyed, 21%, felt responsibility for their T&D lay with their employer. The balance, 40%, thought T&D was a shared responsibility between employer and worker.

Niace said semi-skilled and unskilled workers were more likely, and professional and managerial staff less likely, to feel their employers were responsible for their T&D.

The research, which was carried out over the past year as part of a wider Niace project on learning at work, also found that most – 82% – respondents felt informal learning on the job was the most helpful way to learn. Some 54% said taking a course provided by an employer was also helpful.

The least favourite learning method amongst those polled was e-learning – 29% of respondents said they found it helpful.

Niace director Alan Tuckett said the research showed British employees preferred less formal ways of learning and that “The government should recognise this by encouraging a culture of learning and reflective practice in workplaces”.

However, he added: “The figures suggest many workers have less faith than the government in employer-led training and skills policies.”

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