Accredited training programs, why do we use them?

Have you ever wondered why organisations want to have training programs? If you answered ‘no’ you are in the same camp as me because I feel it’s all pretty obvious right? You want to increase the skills of your employees, get your slice of government incentives, build your workforce, build your brand… the list goes on.

Recently an article was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources  with the fancy title of “Modelling the reasons for the use of vocational training in Australian enterprises”. The modelling was based on a 2005 survey of employers by the National Centre for Vocation Education Research, Australia (the article didn’t cite how many employers were surveyed). The reason for the research was due to a lack of explicit research in the area, which I guess perhaps is true….

Okay, I’ll bite, maybe this article will teach me something new….

*15 mins later after reading*

The article didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already believe to be true, or that I hadn’t read on other VET education blogs. It really confirms the complexity of the reasons why organisations choose to deliver accredited training programs. A couple of the key reminders for me included:

Reminder 1: Connection

The article talked about how employees who are completing accredited training are seen as completing something outside of the organisation and not directly linked to the strategy of the business.  I’ve actually been really impressed recently when talking to RTO’s about their real desire to partner and offer something that isn’t a walk in, walk out service – it’s like insourcing your L&D department now.

Reminder 2: Remember the Why

The article highlighted the trend that the more skilled your workforce the more likely you are to shy away from needing an Accredited Training Program with the exception of industries and roles that are driven by mandatory certifications and training. I agree and disagree at the same time. I think it’s dependant on your Why, why do you want to have an Accredited Training Program? Accredited Training is awesome for building a structure, keeping your eye on what matters and capitalising on funding that you can reinvest into your people. I think that reasoning with that trend without looking at other factors kind of gives Vocational Training a bad name. It’s all in the execution and being clear on why you are having the program in the first place.

In other news the article did cite a fun fact from research carried out in the mid 1990’s:

…enterprises reported that training needs were increasingly fragmented to the individual level and that they were progressively abandoning the traditional approach to training programs that saw large groups of employees receive the same training regardless of individual need…

This observation was from the MID 1990’s – 10 years ago people – and we are still having this same discussion about the need for L&D structures to catch up and join us here in the present day.

If you want to read full article check out the reference below.

Smith, A. and Oczkowski, E. (2014), Modelling the reasons for the use of vocational training in Australian enterprises. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources. doi: 10.1111/1744-7941.120

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