Region's businesses train to survive
FIND out how the region's businesses can train to survive from Business Link's Skills' Adviser, Sharon Boyd.
What do you think are the biggest issues that are affecting businesses, both nationally and in the North East, at the moment?
The impact of the economic downturn is, I believe, the single most significant issue that businesses both in this region, and nationally, are ever likely to face.
While we may appear to be through the worst of it, the effects of the recession will certainly continue to impact on trading conditions for some time to come.
The economic climate is affecting businesses, across all sectors, in a number of ways, including: cash flow, which is coming under strain due to debt from creditors; and human resources, as redundancies are made to counteract the effects of the downturn.
Now, more than ever, skilled employees are needed to help bridge the gaps caused by redundancies.
What would you say to a small business owner who is focusing on other priorities and putting training on the back-burner?
It is short-sighted to ignore the development needs of your staff. Training is not only a great way of equipping your employees with skills to allow them to take on a wider range of tasks, which may be important, especially if you have had to make redundancies, but it also helps improve morale, motivation, job satisfaction and productivity, which all, of course, affect your business’ bottom line.
Are there particular types of training that are becoming more appealing to businesses in the current climate?
The current climate is, as you’d expect, forcing companies to look more closely at their spending, and explore ways to achieve more at less expense to the business.
Options including in-house training, job shadowing and apprenticeships, which seem to be becoming more popular, as businesses seek to cut back on costs.
Despite the downturn, we are seeing a large number of companies seeking financial assistance to help them deliver staff training, so it does demonstrate that companies are not necessarily cutting back on training, but are in fact simply seeking ways to keep costs for it down.
With companies having to cut back on staff and re-skill those left behind, how can employers tackle this and what opportunities does it present for both the employer and employee?
Clearly, when times are tough, any level of investment, big or small, needs to be carefully considered. Investing time, and indeed money, into training is no exception.
It is important that businesses undertake an analysis of the skills gaps that exist in their business before committing to training. Approaching Business Link for advice and guidance is essential for any business considering training. We can help you to assess your business’ needs, explore courses that match these needs, identify which course works for you and your staff and highlight where financial support may be available to assist you.
What are the best workplace training options for employers that are keen to seek a quick return on investment on sector-specific skills?
The best options are in-house training and mentoring. These are cost effective, resourceful solutions for developing employees and using the skills and expertise you have in-house to share best practice and understanding.
Encouraging a staff culture of shared understanding can be a quick, easy way of developing your team.
:: To find out how Business Link's team of skills advisers can help your business, contact 0845 600 9006, or email email@example.com