In her first South Wales Argus column of the year, Acorn's Sarah John examines how employers can review their workforce's development needs as part of their forward planning strategy.
The New Year is a time for businesses to review staff objectives and ask questions; are we providing enough support? What do we need to do to develop staff? How can we retain our employees?
Appraisals, staff meetings and surveys are just some of the effective ways to answer these questions with your employees, however now is the time to act on any promises of development made.
Just last week, Welsh Government announced that over £2 million EU funds* will be spent developing employee skills in 100 South West Wales businesses. Participating companies will be supported to improve ‘skills and productivity’ in a range of areas, achieving higher education qualifications. This news reiterates that learning on-the-job is pivotal to Wales’ economic future. To improve the skills level of Wales, businesses and training providers need to work together, with additional learning driving productivity.
Training and retaining employees doesn’t have to be costly – with the Government’s backing many businesses, subject to certain eligibility criteria, can offer fully funded on-the-job training opportunities such as Apprenticeships to their staff. It’s arguably one of the most cost effective ways to develop, motivate and retain staff for long-term results.
At Acorn, we showcase our support of Apprenticeships with a number of Apprentice programmes taking place within our own organisation. All of our apprentices have been retained over many years, one of whom started as a Business Admin and Customer Service Apprentice four years ago, and has just been promoted from a Recruitment Resourcer to Consultant. She is an asset to Acorn, and the employers and job seekers she works with.
We also have some great case studies of Apprenticeships with our clients who have remained within the company for many years, therefore adding true value to the business as a result of the training delivered. James Pepper, Technical Services Director for Vista Retail Support is a perfect example – joining the company in 1998, James has completed many training opportunities through Acorn to develop his management skills. To date, he has completed a Higher Apprenticeship in Management, combined with a Foundation Degree in Applied Professional Practice, which has been vital to the growth of James and Vista.
So, if you’re looking into training opportunities for your employees, make sure you think long-term for the best results. Remember, Apprenticeships aren’t just about recruiting new skills into the business, they are key to developing skills of existing employees, in a number of sectors and across all job role levels. Apprenticeships, if utilised properly, are key to retaining valued employees and developing crucial skills within your business.
*£2.4 million announced to 'develop skills' of employees in Wales