Training is usually regarded as something that employees value incredibly highly. When you think about it, that isn’t so surprising. After all, if your employer takes the time and effort to invest in your skills, it’s a sign that they value you as an employee, and that they think you have a long-term future in the organisation. It’s also valuable to you as an individual as it improves your marketability to other potential employers.
You would logically assume that younger employees should be the recipients of the most training. They’re often both new into their chosen profession, and also new into your particular organisation. Those early days therefore can often be quite ominous and organisational support is crucial to ensure that progression is made.
Alas, a new report published by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University suggests that young employees get hardly any training at all. The report revealed that just 3 percent of all training budgets are spent on employees that are 24 or younger, with the vast majority being invested in those aged between 25 and 54.
Helping those that don’t need help
Interestingly, the study also revealed that much of the formal training budget was spent on those that were already highly skilled to begin with. It emerged that around 58 percent of all training expenditure went on employees who already held a bachelor’s degree or higher form of qualification. Indeed, those who only obtained a basic high school qualification received less than 17 percent of the training budget.
This is particularly odd in an environment where employers frequently complain about the difficulty in finding skilled employees. One would imagine that a way out of this situation is to spend more on training up people so that they have the skills you require, but it does seem increasingly common that employees are expected to have all the skills required from day one.
There has been a small growth in appreciation for apprenticeship style programs, especially in areas such as manufacturing. For instance, a group of North Carolina based employers banded together to create what’s known as the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP). The program takes youngsters fresh from high school and gives them a large dollop of training whilst they’re also attending a technical college. At the end of the process, each is rewarded with both a certification but also a decently paid job to go into.
The value of such apprenticeships has been aired by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. American president Barack Obama has highlighted the benefits of apprenticeship schemes recently, and David Cameron has made a pledge to create 3 million new apprenticeships a central part of his campaign pledge.
Hopefully, both will be capable of following through on this and it will create an environment whereby young employees get the help and support needed to make a successful transition into the workforce.
Are you a young person yourself? I’d love to hear your personal experiences of entering the workforce. Did your employer provide you with training and support or were you largely left to sink or swim?