Given the fast pace of technology development, staff training staff has always been an essential part of the IT industry.
For companies such as Best Places to Work in IT 2005 award-winner Brett Technologies, for which IT is not merely a service department but the business itself, ensuring skills are up-to-date is paramount.
"We are a Microsoft gold partner for both advanced infrastructure solutions and Microsoft business solutions applications, and to have achieved that accreditation we needed to put in a great deal of investment in training and developing our staff," said Brett Technologies managing director Barry Bullen. "To keep that top-end Microsoft status we need to keep investing in our skills. We invest a great deal of our profits in staff training, and we have no option but to make that investment in order to retain our premium status in technology."
"Everyone gets a lot of training - a minimum of two weeks' training away from the company, as and when they need it, and it is often between three and five weeks of training. Every member of staff has a training and development plan for their own skills and competencies."
Rather than being able to pay for one member of staff to receive training, which can then be passed on to other staff back at work - because Brett Technologies needs to be able to demonstrate the calibre of its workforce to its clients - all staff are trained on formal training courses leading to certification and qualifications in latest releases and technologies.
Just as the company benefits from being able to field top-class IT professionals to their clients, staff themselves benefit too.
"Good training enhances their value in the market place by developing their CVs, and they feel valued by us," said Bullen.
"It is a good way of keeping them," he said. However, that can have a flip side, he warns.
"If you train staff up, and then don't pay them properly for that skill level, then there is a risk they could jump ship. We have not suffered because our business ethos is team working, and we select staff to fit that ethos."
Having a strong training programme can also give an employer more flexibility in who they recruit.
"For example, in our infrastructure division we took on a guy who was very experienced, but had no formal qualifications, but we took him on because he had the right personality and ambitions," said Bullen. "He fitted us better than applicants with accreditations."