Last updated: 24.07.13

Vocational training 'improves staff productivity'

Providing employees with regular training and the option to study vocational qualifications could be the key to boosting productivity and improving retention rates.Being able to learn new skills in the workplace will add value to an individual's experience with a company and as well as giving them the opportunity to develop their career and form better relationships with senior members of staff, these possibilities will help employers to mould their workforce according to their needs.The best way to help employees fulfil the goals of a firm is by training them to possess the skills and capabilities relevant to the job - and organising vocational training could be the ideal way to do this.A group of experts met at a roundtable organised by HR Magazine to discuss the role of vocational training in business, with Jabbar Sardar, head of human resources and organisation development (OD) at Cafcass, claiming he encourages all of his workers to take part in accredited vocational training.He said this decision has brought "significant business benefits in terms of productivity, engagement, recruitment and retention," demonstrating the way in which it can be advantageous to both employees and bosses.Karen Ancira, head of OD at KFC UK & Ireland, also attended the meeting and said while many employers value vocational qualifications, lots of young people are not aware of their existence. The managers further discussed a recent report co-produced by the Cranfield School of Management, which found almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of bosses questioned agreed vocational training leads to increased knowledge and understanding, while 54 per cent claimed it improves business performance.Emma Parry, author of the publication and reader of human resource management at the institution, commented that there is a perception gap and while many people believe employers prefer academic qualifications over vocational ones, this is not the case.She added: "It's about communication. We need to raise awareness [of vocational qualifications] not just in schools, but also among parents and other gatekeepers."