All organisations will have some form of training in place to ensure staff are constantly developing their skills, but in larger companies learning & development (L&D) professionals will have the responsibility of delivering training programmes. They will focus on developing employees in order to stay competitive, even through periods of change, by aligning training with the long-term organisational goals.
Development vital to staff engagement
L&D continued to remain strong during the recession as employers understood that training was essential to fill skill gaps within remaining personnel as headcount was cut.
As the market picks up, many businesses have re-evaluated the skills within their workforce and have found shortfalls in certain key areas, which need to be addressed with training and development.
Employers are realising that development is one of the key engagement tools that can help retain talent; L&D professionals help employees feel valued by delivering relevant and cost effective training.
In particular, sales trainers are currently sought after, as employers feel they need to gear up their sales teams as they start to move out of the recession. Management development trainers are also in demand as companies recognise that their management needs to be able to take the lead in order to motivate staff and drive the company forward.
An entry level co-ordinator, who focuses on scheduling training sessions, can expect to earn up to ??20,000 per year and a soft skills trainer/officer, who will look at the full training cycle and analyse, design and deliver training programmes, can expect to earn between ??22-30,000 per year. The more specialist roles such as management development specialists can expect to earn between ??30-40,000 per year and an L&D manager, who will control the training budget, oversee the L&D team and work to identify external training partners, can earn between ??40-50,000 per year.
A head of L&D, who will develop and implement an L&D strategy which consists of developing career path frameworks, training programmes, capability frameworks, leadership and technical programmes, can expect to earn ??50,000 upwards. It is important to note that salaries and responsibilities may vary and professionals based in locations such as London may earn more.
A career in L&D
If you are thinking of moving into an L&D role you will usually be required to have a CIPD Certificate in Training Practice (CTP) as this is the main qualification is this area. However, this is due to be replaced in September with a CIPD certificate in L&D Practice. The new certificate will use a highly practical approach, to provide an in-depth grounding in the training cycle and the fundamentals of learning and development.
L&D professionals need to be passionate about people as the role focuses on developing others. They need to be able to indentify people’s strengths and help them to further progress in their careers. Training aims to facilitate employees to do their job to the best of their ability by giving them the tools and skills needed to succeed and ultimately progress to next level.
Most L&D professionals find satisfaction in witnessing people progress and ultimately, if they can develop people’s core skills for the long-term they can help drive a business forward by creating a talented workforce for the future.
Insight from two different L&D professionals
Robert Ritchie, L&D manager, at Rathbone, a UK wide Youth Charity, feels that this is one of the most exciting and rewarding areas of human resources. Ritchie comments:
I have been fortunate enough to have led L&D in a diverse range of UK and international organisations. Throughout my career, my responsibilities have been around setting the L&D strategy, developing and embedding talent management frameworks, designing and developing management and leadership programmes, employee branding and engagement. I am really passionate about engaging L&D strategies in order to develop the right skills, behaviours and attitudes in the people which will help organisations to achieve their goals and objectives.
A career in L&D provides various opportunities to progress and gain exposure to high level management, as Nigel Cartwright, an L&D Manager, explains:
My role is varied and rewarding especially when working directly with the business to fix specific issues. I use a range of consultancy skills to establish the business needs and then suggest various approaches to help create lasting change for both the business and individuals. A career in L&D provides a great opportunity to work with business leaders, design value adding solutions and work with various colleagues across a range of locations and professions.