Last updated: 20.03.19

Why is Mandatory Training So Important?

Whether you’re planning a career move, developing a business, or moving into a role with training responsibilities, there’s a good chance that if you’re involved in certain industries such as health and social care, you’ve come across the term mandatory training. While you might not have given the term much thought, it’s actually a really important part of workplace effectiveness and safety - not just a box ticking exercise. In this article, we’re going to consider why it’s so important by looking at what it means, what it covers, and how it ensures a competent and safe working environment.

What is mandatory training?

Mandatory training is, in short, any type of training that is essential to a role. It’s so important that it’s usually given as soon as (and often before) someone starts their employment in a particular role. We often think of training as being something that increases your skills and makes you better at your job, but mandatory training quite simply is essential. If you don’t have the training, then it’s likely that you’re not fully prepared for your role, or there may be elements of it that you cannot undertake until you’ve had the necessary training. Often, mandatory training has a regular element to it, and those who require it will need to demonstrate their knowledge or skill at regular intervals, such as yearly.

Mandatory training isn’t present in all industries and job roles, but it’s very common in some industries such as health and social care. As many types of mandatory training are focused on ensuring the safety of employees, customers, clients and more, you’ll generally find that it’s more common in industries where this is of significant concern. A marketing agency for example is unlikely to have much, if any, essential training requirements, whereas a hospital or manufacturing plant will have many.

What does the law say?

Generally, legislation does not insist that mandatory training has to be taken. If it did, then it would in fact be classed as statutory training, which is a slightly different concept. There are various types of training that certain people are legally obliged to take, and therefore it is seen as statutory. For example, EU law (and UK law as a result) mandates that all people working with food should have training appropriate to their role. While the type of training is not explicitly given, this is still often seen as statutory training. Similarly, certain elements of health and safety are also statutory, and employees must have the requisite training.

Note: It’s very important to be aware of the uses of the words statutory and mandatory, because they can sometimes be used differently in certain environments. For example, in the health and social care sector, it is very common for people to refer to mandatory training as including both mandatory and statutory training. Be aware of how the word is used, and you’re less likely to be confused between the two.

What are some examples of mandatory training?

There are many types of mandatory training, and it’ll vary significantly from sector to sector. However, in this section we’ll take a look at two roles and some of the types of mandatory training that might apply.

The first example is a teacher. We know about all of the major qualifications that someone must have in order to be a qualified teacher, but this isn’t quite the same as training. There are lots of things that a teacher might need to know, and skills they might need to have, but perhaps the most common type of mandatory training is safeguarding. This is generally not a legal requirement specifically, but it’s essential for the school to meet its obligations, whether legal or otherwise. All teachers must know how to safeguard the children that they’re responsible for - it’s an essential concept to the safe running of a school, and is therefore considered a mandatory type of training. Other types of mandatory training could be in food safety and hygiene if the member of staff teaches in a kitchen environment - this might be statutory by law in business, but in a school it might not be legally required, though a local authority might mandate it.

The second example is a care home employee. They’re likely to have a fairly long list of essential types of mandatory training, but the major ones would include safeguarding as we’ve just mentioned, though in this respect they’d need a focus on adults rather than children, and infection prevention and control. The latter is very important in care home environments where vulnerable elderly people can be made particularly ill with commonplace diseases, and where they’re living in close proximities which makes the transmission of such diseases far easier. Health care courses often pack in many different types of mandatory training into one course.

Other types of training that are generally considered mandatory (and may be seen as mandatory even if they’re technically statutory) include the following:

  • Fire safety
  • Health and safety in the workplace
  • Manual handling
  • First aid
  • Equality and diversity
  • Human rights
  • Information security and governance
  • Complaints handling
  • Conflict management
  • Consent training

Why is this type of training important?

Now we understand what mandatory training is, and have seen some examples of it, it’s easy to see why this type of training is critically important. It’s not just helpful training that might help you do your job better, it’s training that is essential for you to be able to carry out your role to a safe and effective level.

Without mandatory training, workers would not be able to ensure that they are safe, that those they work with are safe, and that their clients and those they’re responsible are safe. While many elements of mandatory training might seem like common sense or a natural part of the role, they must be taught to ensure that people have the knowledge and skills that they need.

Where to take mandatory training

Traditionally, many types of mandatory training are given when you start in your role. Larger organisations such as the NHS will have their own training teams whose job it is to help ensure that all staff have been on the right courses and have the right certifications and qualifications. However, smaller businesses do need to look outside to have their training needs accommodated. Usually this means inviting training providers in to take sessions with groups of employees, or sending people out to be trained remotely.

E-learning is however another alternative that’s growing in popularity. This means that individuals can sit at their computer or even on a tablet and work their way through interactive and engaging courses. They’re favoured by businesses because they’re cost effective, don’t require taking time out of work to travel, and can be worked through over a period of time. Here at Virtual College, we’re pleased to be specialists in creating courses for those requiring mandatory training. Click here to find out about our healthcare courses in particular.

Related resources