HomeLearning & DevelopmentStamp of approval: How training accreditation can make an employer more attractive

Stamp of approval: How training accreditation can make an employer more attractive

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Today’s employees, particularly those in the relatively early stages of their careers, don’t just want to earn, but learn.

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Amid the many challenges that have come to define the last few years for companies across the UK, such as Covid-19, the great resignation, record high inflation, and a cooling jobs market, one of the few positives to emerge has been a growing desire for on-the-job development and upskilling.

In one recent survey, conducted across 1,555 employees, more than four-fifths of respondents (83%) identified learning and development opportunities as a ‘vital factor’ in choosing an employer. Furthermore, two-thirds stated that they would consider quitting their current job if such opportunities were cut.

In a separate survey, carried out by Censuswide, more than two-thirds of respondents stated that the provision of training and upskilling opportunities would make them more committed to their employer. Interestingly, more than a quarter of respondents aged 16-34 identified it as the most critical factor in terms of their level of engagement.

Taken together, these findings provide clear evidence that the days of workplace training being viewed as a distraction or a box-ticking exercise are long gone, and the era of them providing a clear opportunity for companies to gain a competitive edge and boost their attractiveness as an employer has arrived.

However, despite this clear indication of the increasing importance of training and upskilling provision, there is also evidence that industry has not yet taken it on board. This is made clear by the finding that 86% of HR managers and 69% of employees surveyed by Censuswide believed that their employers training could be improved.

Gaining a competitive edge

This means, that not only must companies across the UK seek to maximise the scale and breadth of in-house training and upskilling programs, but also ensure and assure that they are of the highest quality.

One way in which this can be achieved is by ensuring that such training programs are formally accredited or endorsed by an independent organization or accrediting body, which serves as a trusted and respected stamp of approval.

Available in various forms, including industry-specific accreditations, program-specific endorsements, or endorsement of more informal training such as webinars, seminars and workshops, the accreditation process provides a rigorous evaluation of training and upskilling programs.

Through the process, all vital aspects, such as program content, delivery methods and learning outcomes are put under the spotlight by the accrediting body or organization.

In addition to serving as an assurance of the quality of the programs being provided, this also acts as an encouragement of continuous improvement and a driver of further innovation in learning and development.

“I think that having an accreditation status is invaluable because everybody knows that the accreditation is all about the evaluation of that individual business or their educational programs and

training courses,” explains Michelle Storey, Accreditation and Employer Services Manager at NCFE, one of the UK’s leading technical and vocational awarding organizations.

“And through the accreditation provider you know that they have been assessed by an independent body that has evaluated them through a process that is fundamentally underpinned by quality and rigour.”

A route to reputational gain

Accredited programs yield numerous benefits to the businesses providing in-house training programs compared to non-accredited alternatives. They inspire confidence in employees, assuring them that their learning experiences are of the highest quality. This boosts engagement, retention, and job satisfaction.

Accreditation also enhances the businesses reputation externally, helping it to attract top talent and positioning it as an employer of choice. By investing in accredited programs, companies showcase their commitment to excellence and employee development.

Furthermore, accreditation is not just a symbol of quality; it also holds regulatory implications. Compliance with accreditation requirements ensures that internal training and upskilling programs meet a certain standard.

Asked what advice she would give to a business that is considering or actively seeking to have its training or upskilling programs accredited, Storey tells HRD Connect that the most important factor is to be clear about your goals.

“Before you approach an accreditation provider, be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Once you know this, you can look at all your options and work with the accreditation provider to understand how they can support you to develop a programme that will deliver on your goals,” she says.

“And I think that working with an established provider that has higher levels of quality and regulation through their quality assurance process does enable wider appeal in terms of reputation and expectation.”

For more information, visit NCFE

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