Right to request training must be balanced by business needs, says CIPD

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Responding to the launch of a consultation by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) on the right for workers to request training, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says it cautiously welcomes the proposals, but has warned that employers must be able to decline requests that do not meet business needs.

John McGurk, CIPD skills adviser, said: “We welcome the proposal to introduce a ‘right to request’ time off for training, which we have been proposing for some time. This approach recognises the need to share the burden of training between government, employers and employees – reflecting the shared opportunities that training and development brings to individuals, employers and the wider economy.

“The ‘light touch’ right to request approach has worked well with flexible working, for both employers and employees. Four out of five such requests are accepted by employers, who are in turn experiencing a higher level of employee engagement and motivation from their growing flexible workforces. However, it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that training is a two-way street. It is of benefit to the learner, but must also contribute to meeting the business needs of the employer. If this test is not met, the employer must be able to decline requests for training.”

Freda Line, CIPD diversity adviser, added: “It is important that this new right is promoted for use by workers of all ages. Older workers are amongst the groups most excluded from training opportunities. This is a tremendous waste of talent. A right to request training offers an opportunity for employers to address this waste, and for employees to seize the opportunity to ensure their skills keep pace with the fast changing world in which they work.”

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