2014 is set to be a year of change in learning and development (L&D) strategies, with increasing business confidence causing UK companies to assess their workforce's skills.
This is the view of journalist and expert Jo Faragher, who claimed in a post for Personnel Today that rising optimism is pushing organisations to evaluate their L&D budgets and see where amendments can be made to propel growth.
However, money is still a major issue for firms, and despite the fact finances are being freed up, companies are still cautious about how they spend their money.
According to Steve Morris, a business development director, bosses are now deciding whether they should devise their own dedicated L&D resource or outsource these duties to an external provider.
He said that while news of a recovering economy is relaxing employers with regard to their L&D spend, they are also concerned about re-engaging staff after they've been forced to take on more work with little or no reward.
"Employees are now looking to put their careers back on track, so they're starting to expect an investment in them in terms of their development," Mr Morris explained.
Ms Faragher reports that throughout this year, large-scale learning and in-house training discussions are set to be replaced with L&D that's more fluid, accessible and targeted to employees' needs at certain times, such as e-learning and training delivered using various multimedia platforms.
She said that while online learning continues to lower the cost of offering courses that would normally take place in a classroom environment, "it also provides the opportunity to create communities to share knowledge and give more control to learners".
Ruth Stuart, L&D advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, agreed there has been a move away from instructor-led training in favour of new digital methods that are social and collaborative.
An increasing number of organisations are also noticing the benefits of hiring apprentices, with government funding options allowing more firms to train up younger workers to meet their requirements.