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Approaches to training and development

In this article Dr El Parker discusses approaches to training and development.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
So how should training be managed within an organisation in order to build capabilities and capacity?
Traditionally vocational training has been the responsibility of a Human Resources (HR) department to co-ordinate. New starters and those aiming to progress in a role might have been required to engage in a series of prescribed training events. Training may be delivered by HR teams, line management teams, more experienced qualified colleagues or via external delivery.
For specialist activities or where greater depth is required personnel are likely to attend training courses delivered internally or externally on behalf of the employer.
In some cases, training (internally or externally) may not exist or be actively supported, or time and resources may not allow access, but increasingly organisations have a complex suite of training and development programmes, events and mechanisms. In some organisations, training requirements are highly structured (they are conditions of continued employment and progression) or training may be discretionary, at the call of the individual or line manager. These two end points of the training and development programme continuum have positives and negative aspects. The former approach tends to be quite rigid and may make ‘one size fits all’ assumptions, where training is targeted at particular ranks or position rather than individual needs. The latter can identify the needs of individuals, but whether those bespoke needs can be met within the organisation should be questioned. The equity in delivery and attainment may vary across the organisation and between agencies.
A training and development strategy is a mechanism that establishes what competencies an organisation requires currently and with an eye on the future, and it details the means to achieve those required competencies through training and development.
The development of a training strategy should be a consultative strategy with both internal and external stakeholders (especially for those organisations whose mission is to serve the public). It forms a strategic planning document (and associated process) that provides an overview of competence to be achieved at operational level, through to middle and high level management levels. It is likely to be linked to a series of other organisational documents, plans and guidance.

At the top level…

Personnel/staffing planning and any associated progression, leadership and management development plans,

Then more specifically …

  • Competency requirements and skills profiling
  • Employee training and action plans
  • Train-the-trainer planning

The training strategy must also take account of changes in …

  • Organisational structures
  • Processes and services
  • Technology and equipment
  • External drivers such as policy and legislation
Now we are beginning to see the feedback required between the various organisational capabilities.

Your task

Which internal and external stakeholders are important voices in terms of the development of successful training and exercising strategy?
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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