The trend for companies to hand the management of work-based training over to employees and their line managers, rather than managing it centrally, could lead to skills gaps, a report from the Trades Union Congress has warned.
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The Training, Who Gets It? report said line managers were not always equipped to ensure that staff receive the training they need to develop their careers.
According to the TUC, research has shown that line managers are poorly equipped in skills such as counselling, coaching and mentoring, which are needed to assist staff in their career progression.
Staff face a range of barriers to taking up training, including working long hours, responsibilities outside of work, lack of information and guidance, and the low priority some employers place on learning.
Much of the training offered by UK employers is short and unaccredited, the TUC said. Although this approach is cost effective, it has drawbacks in the long term, it added.
Of the employers surveyed by the TUC, 20% reported skills gaps in their workforce, and 33% acknowledged that they did not offer enough training to employees.
However, more firms were planning for training and development, with 44% of employers claiming to have training plans, and 34% setting aside training budgets.
On average, UK firms devoted the equivalent of 1.5% of their payroll to training. This was higher than Australia (1.4%), but lower than France (2%).