Beyond the ballot box, politicians must keep their election promises and expand training policies, says Fay Gibbin.
Reading time: 4 minutes
This election, now in its final stages, is proving expensive. The choice no longer seems to be between cripplingly tight public sector spending and the magic money tree, but rather between the magic money tree and the magic money forest.
As the CEO of a training provider, though, I’m not complaining – I’m glad the debate has moved from a focus on tight budgets, to a recognition from all major parties that we need to invest at every level, whether that be in infrastructure or training budgets.
I’m delighted to see proposals for training being discussed by the main parties. The Liberal Democrats’ ‘skills wallets’ scheme is certainly the most interesting, providing £10k for adults to spend on training in their lifetime. Whether it’ll work, I’ll leave that to the economists.
Labour say they’ll make sure employers provide paid time off for training, with funding for six years of up to level 6 education and an unlimited amount up to level 3.
Alternatively, the Conservatives have committed to a big spend on schools and will introduce and consult on a £3bn National Skills Fund.
All parties see the value of providing key public sector workers – nurses, doctors, carers and early years practitioners – with training, so why should the private sector be any different?
While the proposals on the table are encouraging, they are only proposals. Training all too often falls by the wayside when funding is tight.
This happens in many nurseries, care homes and businesses, and will undoubtedly continue to happen, despite training playing a significant role in every manifesto.
These training proposals are aspirations, not commitments. That’s why it’s important for training providers to speak up about the impact quality training and CPD can have on an individual, a business and our economy.
As an employer it is vital to invest in training. It is now an employees’ market, and companies that want to retain their workforce and attract quality employers must look further afield than financial remuneration.
Training improves morale, retention and production; and, for the individual, gaining and honing skills and building confidence and expertise can be life changing.
We need to push whichever party wins the next election to keep their promises and expand their training policies even further
Quality training programmes can transform an adequate service or production to outstanding, whether you’re a care home, nursery provider or a multinational business.
Training – the key to an outstanding service
Training is essential: it transform lives as well as businesses. It is a force-multiplier – by reinvesting a small amount, carefully and consistently, in the development of yourself or your employees, you can take your business or your career to the next level. As an employer, reinvesting in your workforce with training allows you to:
- Boost morale – employees that feel invested in are happy employees. They’re more likely to stay with you and move up the ranks in your organisation.
- Build, and maintain, a team of experts – every sector is changing, month to month, and even week by week. You need to provide training to deliver an outstanding service.
What every ‘outstanding’ business has in common
While every party recognises the importance of training in delivering safe, effective and high-quality public services, their proposals for the private sector, and for individuals looking to retrain, are more limited.
This is a shame, because quality training results in quality performance, whether you’re in the public or private sector.
I’ve helped train thousands of carers and early years practitioners throughout my 20-plus years in the sector – and the focus has always been on delivering outstanding care based on Ofsted and CQC requirements.
While some of those requirements are only relevant if you’re a public sector body, many ratings hinge on principles that are relevant to any business.
For example, the CQC expects settings to be responsive, effective and well-led, while Ofsted expects schools to have an ambitious and coherently planned curriculum, led by experts in their sector.
In other words, CQC and Ofsted expect schools and care homes to perform like highly effective businesses.
There isn’t much difference between what makes an outstanding business and what makes an ‘outstanding’ rated nursery or care home, so why the disparity in training policy?
Outstanding businesses, like outstanding-rated public sector services, are responsive, well-led and ambitious in the quality of service their sector experts provide to customers.
The major parties believe training is the key to a thriving public sector, and it can be the key to a successful private sector, too. That’s why we need to push whichever party wins the next election to keep their promises and expand their training policies even further.
Deliver a quality service
In this election, the main parties are all trying to build on a fragile economic recovery. Investment can be the boost we need, and training can be the key to delivering outstanding services, in both the public and private sectors.
I’m calling on every party to keep their promises, and every company to train up our workforce and deliver better outcomes for all.
About the author
Fay Gibbin is CEO of Avail Learning Academy