Why it’s vital to have the right training in place

It is interesting how, when training makes the news, it is often depicted as either the saviour or the scapegoat in a business dilemma.

Take the BBC. The fake phone-ins scandal – on top of the gaffe it made with the documentary trailer about the Queen – has created a crisis of trust between the broadcaster and the public. The answer? Mandatory training for 16,500 employees, on the orders of director-general Mark Thompson, who has instigated talks with other broadcasters to discuss raising standards across the whole industry (see Personneltoday.com).

Training to the rescue, then. But new training schemes are not guaranteed to win rapturous applause, as the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has discovered.

The Police Federation anticipates that police officers will say ‘no no’ to the NPIA’s initiative to get them saying ‘yes yes’ (plus a series of other keywords) on their digital radios. It says that officers just won’t take the training seriously, especially if they have to take time out of their busy schedules so they can be trained face-to-face in a classroom.

This has sparked a debate about the efficacy of classroom-based training, which could eclipse the point of why the NPIA introduced this initiative in the first place – to have police officers spend less time on the airwaves and more time fighting crime.

If this change process doesn’t work, the training method is likely to be the scapegoat.

Either way, with skills still dominating the headlines – and the government calling for a ‘skills revolution’ in its response to the Leitch Review  – HR and learning and development departments are going to be busy in the months ahead.

Training experts will have to focus on creating appropriate programmes not just to deliver the skills pledge but also to enhance the performance of employees in line with business needs.

Just look to the BBC if you need proof of how vital it is to get that training right.

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