Friday, 19 December 2008

Training during the recession

On the 26th October 2008 the UK Commission for Employment and Skills published an open letter to UK employers in The Sunday Times.

This is not the newest piece of news out there, but we thought of sharing it with you anyway – mainly because it states that investing in training is a good idea in recession times, and how could we possibly disagree with it? Jokes aside, this is a very serious article, and we are behind it, more because we believe in what it says than because we are a training company. So here it goes:

“As leaders of major businesses, business organisations and trades unions in the United Kingdom, we are absolutely committed to investing in training.

In an economic downturn, there is always a temptation for businesses – large and small – to cut spending on staff training. When times are tough, it looks a simple way to cut costs.

But it’s a false economy. Research in 2007 confirms that firms that don’t train are 2.5 times more likely to fail than those who do! Now is precisely the time to keep investing in the skills and talents of our people. It is the people we employ who will get us through. When markets are shrinking and order books falling, it is their commitment, productivity and ability to add vale that will keep us competitive.

Investing now in building new skills will put is in the strongest position as the economy recovers. Skills to support the development of new products and services will shape whether we are ready to gain competitive advantage when growth resumes. From our experience in previous downturns, it was the businesses that did invest in their staff which saw the most dynamic recovery.

Even in these difficult times, there are real opportunities we should seize. In many businesses, it will be easier to find the time to release staff for training. Larger businesses could strengthen their supply chains by developing training in partnership with suppliers. For individuals, committing to training is the best way to maximise future employment opportunity. And there is a wide range of training available now for businesses to use from colleges, universities and training providers, many of them publicly funded. Through the work of the UK Commission for Employment and skills, employers are making sure that this training is simple to access, clear and easy to use, and adds real economic value.

The skills of our people are our best guarantee of future prosperity – and the best investment a business can make in challenging times. We must not pay the price of failing to invest in the talent on which our future will be built.”

Letter Signed by

Sir Michael Rake
UK Commission for Employment and Skills
BT Group Plc

Mervyn Davies CBE
Standard Chartered plc

Brendan Barber
General Secretary,
Trades Union Congress

Richard Lambert
Director General,
Confederation of British Industry

Sir Stuart Rose
Business in the Community
Marks and Spencer plc

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