Helping workers develop the skills, knowledge & experience they need

Although everyone agrees that to be successful businesses must nurture and up-skill their staff, the right training path is not always obvious. EEF’s Alison Valente discusses options for manufacturers.

Engineer Teaching Apprentice Training Skills Lifelong Learning - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
For manufacturing organisations, developing their staff is key to building a sustainable business – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

We are moving into an era of mass digitalisation, and for manufacturing organisations developing staff skills is key to building a sustainable business.

This is especially true as companies face a shortage of skills and have to compete ever more effectively for a limited pool of skilled recruits.

Therefore, when deciding on the right development solution for your workforce, it is vital to choose the path which will be most effective in the long run, one where skills and experience will be embedded effectively.

The following three options are solutions that can help your top talent develop the skills, knowledge and experience that they need to reach the next level of their professional path, and which can lead to improvements in productivity and efficiency.

  1. Leadership and management development programmes

Training is one of the most thorough and comprehensive ways for managers to develop their leadership skills. It equips them with the skills and knowledge they need to become successful leaders, whether they are new to their post, an aspiring middle manager or a senior executive looking to develop skills in strategic management.

One option is training and development packages that enable individuals to study outside their everyday role. This can greatly benefit both the learning experience and the intake of new knowledge to embed into the workplace.

This article first appeared in the June issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

  1. Coaching and mentoring

Coaching and mentoring is a collaborative, one-to-one relationship between a leader and a coach or mentor. This could be an existing senior employee who mentors individuals in the organisation, or a consultant who will work with the organisation and the learner.

A coach or mentor can help managers to achieve specific goals as part of their career path and help bring about behavioural change, which can improve or transform an individual’s performance so that they are as effective as possible in the workplace.

  1. Self-learning or on-the-job work experience

Although this type of learning can be driven by the individual, make sure you define specific competencies and set out a plan so that the needs of both the individual and the business are met.

Further training options

If you’re looking to develop star performers through leadership and management training, then there are several other routes you can choose from.

The Levy option is for companies who want to fully develop their managers within their role, and for employees with a desire to grow and develop within their organisation.

This involves longer-term study covering key areas where managers need to be fully effective – they apply their learning directly to the workplace, up-skilling and enhancing their existing management skills and improving performance.

If your organisation is operating within the scope of the Levy, and you are open to exploring long-term programmes and have individuals wanting to commit to a longer period of study, then this approach may be best for both you and the individual.

Alternatively, an accredited, or bespoke training option applies to those who haven’t undertaken training for some time and may not have access to development programmes. This may be because their organisation is not be equipped to provide longer-term study or lacks an embedded training plan to develop individuals.

If taking time out of work for training represents a concern for your organisation, then short leadership and management courses may be the ideal solution.

Next steps

Investing in and developing relevant leadership skills for your top talent is vital. Your leaders are essential in providing direction, clarity and vision for your business. Find out how EEF’s learning and development programmes can help you at: eef.org.uk


Alison Valente, senior L&D consultant – HR & legal specialist, EEF.