Recently, I was chatting to someone who, after more than 25 years in the corporate learning industry, is about to retire. He observed that, despite everyone’s best endeavours, corporate learning does not seem to have increased its board level prestige in that time.
“Twenty years or so ago, I recall talking to a company that was about to spend several million pounds installing Windows-based computers throughout their organisation,” he said. “I asked what provision the company was making for training staff to use these machines and was told, ‘We’re waiting to see if there are any Government grants for training’.
“Only last week, I was talking to a UK-based company that wanted some health and safety training materials in Polish. I asked them why they didn’t teach their staff English and then use industry-standard health and safety training materials. They replied that they were waiting to see if there were any Government grants for teaching their staff English. Until then, they would let them use Polish.”
Comment: So nothing seems to have changed in at least a quarter of a century. Employers appear willing to invest in anything except staff training. When it comes to that, they want someone else – either their staff or the Government – to pay for acquiring the skills their workers need.