Outsourced staff training

Keeping your employees up to speed with the latest training programmes can be time consuming. Outsourcing may be the answer.

Increasingly, training specialists are advocating courses that are partly taught and include work-based elements. Judy Saxton, manager of Learndirect’s Learning through Work scheme, advocates this method: ‘It means less time away from work and the training that is done is based on existing work projects, so it has a direct benefit to the business.’

Courses are run throughout the year and are not tied to college term times. ‘Costs are comparable to traditional part-time university courses,’ says Saxton. ‘But the benefit comes from the fact that development is ongoing as work continues – indeed one should complement the other.’

For companies that can’t absorb the costs of employing a dedicated training department, money saving is a major draw. John Docherty, human resources director at 2 Sisters Food Group, decided to outsource training for managers at the company following a review of performance: ‘We assessed management throughout the company and found through the review process that there were a number areas of competency that needed to be improved. We’re not big enough to warrant an in-house training department, so we looked to an external provider.

‘We needed a provider with a range of skills to fit the various specialist management training needs that we had, so we developed a programme of workshops that runs throughout the year.’

Gabrielle Gardner, head of managed learning at training services company Epic, explains that there are various reasons to take the outsourcing route: ‘Firms that use a training provider are looking to reduce overheads and this can manifest itself in a number of different ways. In general, I think it’s fair to say that outsourced or managed training also allows middle managers to focus more on the strategic aspects of the business rather than its day-to-day running and staff development or admin.’

For Docherty, the outcome has been a ‘positive change in the company’. He says: ‘Staff are happier to stay now as they feel there is room for development – and if we compare last year’s management review with this year, there has been a marked improvement. With this type of investment it takes some time to get a return, but we’re starting to see more managers than ever wanting to attend the courses. We’ve even been able to begin our first graduate recruitment drive, simply because we now have a suite of management development workshops to offer them.’

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for our sister website growthbusiness.co.uk when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence...

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