My latest bugbear is subsidised training initiatives and the culture that's grown around companies and people who seem to think that training and development is only worth doing if it's got some form of grant aid attached to it.
I can sort of get my head around the fact that when it comes to legislative stuff if you're being made to do something because the law's changed then it's a fair deal. But when it comes down to training and development designed to make your employees more effective and your business more profitable, isn't that just good sense? Why should anyone expect a grant or subsidy for that?
In 2003, as a response to demands from some of our clients, we set up a training business. It's a relatively small operation, quite niche, focused and remains demand-led. If you get involved in the world of training at some point it's inevitable that you're going to come across a wide range of government-funded training initiatives. That's especially been true in the past few years where there seemed to be an indiscriminate amount of money available for all sorts of things and the first response that you got from any sales call wasn't something like "where's the value in this for me?" but more often "is there any funding for it?" If the answer was no, then for many people that was the end of the conversation.
What that led to was that in many cases the funding tail was wagging the training dog. Training gets done just because the funding is available, not because it's of any benefit. Then, almost inevitably, because the full cost hasn't been paid, some people won't take it seriously, and if there's no discernible benefit to be seen, who's going to complain you got it cheap anyway!
At school I was taught that one of the definitions of economics was to do with the allocation of scarce resources. The previous incumbents at no 10 seemed to have skipped that lesson and funding for some training initiatives became anything but scarce. We are in a different world now and so what little is left in the pot is rightly going to areas where 'the market' might not go without a little encouragement and that's how it should be.
Management and leadership training is simply another investment that you should expect to generate a return on. It's a business decision that should be based on the needs of your business not the perceived need of the market as seen by government. That's how it's always been and that's the mindset we all need to get back to.
Guy Moreton is director of recruitment practitioner MorePeople