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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Getting training at work

Learning at work is a great way to fit learning into your life and could help improve your career prospects. Your employer may already provide learning opportunities – if not, see if they would consider getting involved in an employee training scheme.

Developing new skills at work

If you’re looking to gain new skills relevant to your job, your employer is a good first point of call.

You may be able to get free basic skills training, additional skills to improve your performance at work, or even a qualification that could help open up doors to higher education. Some employers run ‘mentoring’ schemes to help you get on at work.

Find out from a senior member of staff or union learning rep whether your employer runs any training schemes. If they don’t, ask if they would consider setting one up.

If you are an employee: getting ‘time to train’

From 6 April 2010, if you are an employee and work in an organisation with 250 or more employees, you have the right to request time for study or training. This right is known as 'time to train'.

To qualify, you must have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks before you apply.

To find out more, see ‘Time to train: time to learn new skills’.

What’s in it for your employer

Many employers are happy to support their workers’ learning:

  • having a skilled workforce can help boost productivity
  • there are training schemes which can be designed to suit the needs of employers and their workers
  • your employer may get help with the costs

The section below on ‘Training opportunities’ has details of some of the schemes you and your employer can take part in, and there's more information for Employers on Business Link. Ask your employer or union learning rep if they run a training scheme at the moment - and, if not, whether they’d consider supporting you if you arrange work-related learning for yourself.

Training opportunities


An Apprenticeship gives you the chance to work towards a qualification while you’re earning.

Many employers choose to provide training through an Apprenticeship programme - they are designed by businesses within a particular sector, with that sector’s training needs in mind.

Investors in People

If your employer has Investors in People status, it means that they are committed to improving the organisation’s performance by developing its staff. As part of this they assess learning needs within the organisation, and make plans to meet them.

Benefits to you as an employee might include:

  • access to good quality training
  • improved job satisfaction
  • more career opportunities
  • health and wellbeing support

If your employer can’t help

If you can’t get training through your employer, there’s nothing to stop you arranging it yourself. See ‘Learning for work’ for some ideas on how to fit learning into your working life, and details of where to get free advice.

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