Advice:Ten training opportunities most overlook

By , published on 23rd February 2011

Training and personal development can make a tremendous difference to the way people perform in their jobs. Don’t forget that this also applies to you as the boss. However, if you thought that training had to involve spending lots of money, think again. Here are 10 low cost options.

  1. Share – if you’re a small business, club together with others to organise training sessions. It will cost less and be more convenient that buying places on open courses;
  2. Ask suppliers – they gain if you become more proficient. See if they have spare places on in-house training programmes that your people can attend;
  3. Teach each other – the best training happens in the workplace with your own experts helping others catch up. Because this can happen spontaneously it’s often overlooked;
  4. Work experience – supervising students who visit you to gain work experience will develop the supervisory skills of those who do not usually manage people;
  5. School governor – becoming a school governor provides excellent free management training. It makes people more objective in their own work;
  6. Charity trustee – becoming a trustee enables people to develop their particular skill (for example finance, HR or marketing) in a different context;
  7. Non-exec director – if you work in the voluntary sector, why not become a non-executive director of a ‘for profit’ enterprise? Bring social awareness and learn about profitability.;
  8. Grants – there are many organisations able to give you training grants or provide free training. Look at local economic development websites;
  9. Read books – some people find it easy to learn from books. Set up a company library – include training software and reward people who take items home to develop their skills;
  10. Online – the internet is packed with learning opportunities. There are online training courses and web seminars you can attend virtually, and more.

To work out your organisation’s training needs it’s important to compare the skills you have with those your mission requires. Different organisations have different needs.

To map out the skills in your team you need to build a simple matrix with ‘skills’ on one axis and your team members on the other. Compare this with your operational needs and you begin to see where there are gaps. Aim not to be reliant on any one person for a particular skill.

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It is also useful to assess the level of ability in each area. This enables you to encourage the experts to spend time developing the abilities of those less skilled.

Try to also identify skills within your team that are not currently needed by the organisation. They may become useful in the future.

In a nutshell: There are many training opportunities for you and your team. Unless you point out that they have training value, people will not see them as training.

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Robert Ashton

About Robert Ashton

Robert Ashton is an entrepreneur, campaigner and business author with three business books in the top 10 recommended for business on Amazon. He knows how enterprise can liberate, empower and strengthen people and communities. Robert is always focused on the end goal but treads lightly as he goes – that’s why he’s called the barefoot entrepreneur.

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