Continuing the discussion on training, what are some ways to improve the benefits of training for both the employee and the employer?

Employers should receive direct benefits by having certified staff for their relevant technologies, including improved support from the manufacturer and/or supplier, discounts on purchasing, assistance with marketing and so forth. Excluding those benefits given by the manufacturer to the employer, what benefits does the employer actually get? Some will say they get the benefits of properly trained staff in the products but do they really? Most training from what I have seen and experienced through my career is that if you are lucky you get an accelerated instructor lead class where the sole purpose is a passing grade. A recent certificate set I completed consisted of 3 certificates (entry to advanced levels) to become an expert in the product. If you were to watch the videos and read the material presented, the training should have taken you at least 3 hours per certificate. In my case, I was able to complete (and pass) the full set of exams including reading the presentation slides on the exams in less than 2.5 hours.

Now this may seem like I was a quick study or that it was a complete waste of time. Whilst there may be elements of truth there, I have also spent almost a decade on self-education, in-house training (from co-workers, managers, etc.), and playing around with technology. This experience allowed me to skip the majority of the information while solely focusing on learning that manufacturer’s idiosyncrasies and products.

From this, what does the employer gain from my recent training? I would say not so much, excluding knowing some features of the product better. There was not much actually learnt in the process. Then what else does the employer get from this? Sadly, perhaps only the ability to say that they have X number of staff that are qualified for the manufacturer’s partnership levels.

How could this training be of more benefit to the employer? This question is hard to answer, as the benefits (direct or indirect) does really boil down to the employer’s actual services provided. Maybe there isn’t really any benefits for an employer to do these certifications beyond the direct benefits from the manufacturer for reaching target levels.

A question for educators then – how would you design a course or curriculum, so that students with pre-existing experience or knowledge, can genuinely be stretched and engaged? This is obviously harder to replicate in a cookie cutter, but would result in a far better outcome for all involved. Is there an appetite for this? I for one would welcome it.

I would say that one of the major benefits that seem to be looked over, is that an employer is seen to care for the ongoing development of its staff and allowing their staff to pursue interests that may indirectly benefit them. It shows to the employees that they are no longer just an employee but a valued member to the survival of the employer. This would in turn help with improving the knowledge and retention of employees.