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UKCES explains: types of training

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Employer surveys, Skills and training

As part of our series of explainer blogs, we’re putting a spotlight on some of the specific terms and phrases from our UK Employer Skills Survey 2015. It’s a huge study, speaking to over 91,000 employers across the UK – but with that much data comes a certain amount of jargon.

Today, we’ll look at types of training employers carry out.

Investing in the skills of employees is one of the most effective ways organisations can compete and innovate, and making sure employers are informed and able to make these investments is a key area of public policy. As such, a large part of ESS 2015 looks at training in the workplace; its type, extent, and duration. We also conduct a detailed follow-up survey which looks in detail at the investments in time and money made by employers.

We use specific definitions for some terms so both our interviewer and the employer are clear about what we're asking. As part of that, we divide training into two types:

  • Off-the-job training – This is likely to be the most traditional kind of training that comes to mind. It is defined as “training undertaken away from the employee’s immediate work area”. An example would be going to a training centre in a different building to take a course or class.
  • On-the-job training – Although this takes place at work, this is still a formal activity. In other words, “activities that staff would recognise as training, not simply learning by experience”. This could be a guided session with a new piece of equipment, or a walkthrough of a particular task by a colleague.

Although there’s a temptation to think of the more traditional off-the-job training as the most important, employers tell us they value each type and a large proportion carry out a combination of both.

Around a third of employers (35%) provided both on- and off-the-job training. Some 17% of UK employers only provided on-the-job training, the same proportion as in 2013.

Excitingly, we asked for the first time this year about online or e-learning and self-learning. This is a new area of questions for the survey, so we aren't able to compare backwards in time. But we did ask whether the amount of online training had increased or decreased. Over half (54%) of employers that had trained their staff in the last year had used e-learning. And, of those e-learners, 39% told us this amount had increased in the last year.

For more on training and the skills employers told us they need, see the full results of the UK Employer Skills Survey 2015.

More explainers from the Employer Skills Survey:

Online training on the up - does this sound familiar? What kind of training and development does your firm carry out? Let us know in the comments.

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