Continuous vocational training covers all actions in the framework of activities of the business aimed at adapting, retraining or promoting the employee.
The company's training plan is therefore a key element. Its objective is to optimise the implementation of the training by essentially determining the requirements of the business and planning, where possible, the required training topics, for the coming year as a minimum.
The training plan is presented in the form of a contractual document which links the different parties concerned. Developing a training plan consists of various stages which must be logically linked, whilst allowing for a certain amount of flexibility in order to keep the possibility of integrating training requirements in the course of the year as they may not have been identified at the time the training was developed.
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- Lifelong-learning - continuous vocational training
Various parties are involved in the development of the training plan:
- the employer, who is responsible for defining and developing the training policy. If the size of the company allows for this, the employer can hand over the development, implementation and follow-up of the training plan to a training manager;
- internal trainers, i.e. identification of employees within the company who can provide internal training;
- the joint committee or, failing this, the staff delegation.
Until these elections, the joint works committees currently in place will continue to carry out their tasks.
Setting up a training plan
Identifying the needs
When an employer decides to set up a training plan, he must first carry out an analysis of the training requirements and the skillsets in his business.
In order to do this, the employer has several tools, which he can use depending on the available means (time, budget, staff). These tools are notably:
- an analysis of the skill gap;
- an analysis of the evaluation forms;
- direct observation of the workplace;
- auto-assessment tools;
- formal and informal interviews, etc.
Following the analysis, the employer has sufficient information to highlight the differences between the skills in the company and the medium- to long-term competencies needed to achieve the strategy of the business. The business aims to bridge the gap, either via training projects (including the workers concerned and the budgets), or by external recruitment.
Categorising and consolidating the requirements
The employer must sort all the information gathered and structure the training requirements into 7 project categories:
- IT/office automation;
- adapting to the workplace (new job, transfer).
Other categories, such as the priorities established in the business' training policy (e.g. the need for giving priority to technical courses, etc.) can complete the list as developed by the National Institute for the Development of Continuing Vocational Training (INFPC), and may allow the employer to carry out certain crosschecks.
Over time, the consolidation of needs will enable the employer to allocate the training budgets logically and efficiently.
Developing the plan
The training plan is presented in the form of a table with 2 entries stating horizontally the different training topics, and vertically the below mentioned sections, which must be listed if the employer wishes to benefit from co-financing for his investments in training:
- the training objectives (i.e. setting out requirements in terms of new skills expected);
- the duration and scheduling of the training plan;
- the budget allocated for the training plan;
- opinion of the staff delegation or the joint committee of the business (until the next social elections);
- the information provided by the employer to the employees on continuous vocational training for businesses with less than 15 staff members.
The plan must be adjusted its 1st year of operation in order to align it with the means that are available.
In order to draw up the training budget, the employer must take into consideration various key elements and define the following elements:
- the criteria to use: the number of training days and/or the maximum training cost per employee;
- the budget: pre-defined budget (compared to the previous year) or drawing up the budget according to the requirements identified;
- the costs: registration fees, work time, travel and accommodation, etc.
Whatever the estimated budget, the employer should compare the overall cost of the training activities with the advantages gained for his organisation. This is referred to as a return on investment for training activities.
Once the budget has been estimated, the employer can complete the training plan and finalise the training calendar.
In order to do this, the employer must take into account the different business constraints, such as:
- the workers' annual leave;
- the requirements in terms of workload;
- the availability of trainers, etc.
Approval of the training plan
Before implementing the training plan, it must be submitted to the joint committee (until the next social elections) or in the absence of a joint committee, the staff delegation.
If there is no reply within one month, the training plan is deemed to be approved.
If the business has less than 15 employees, the employer must inform all employees at least 15 working days before the implementation of the plan.
If the HR department is responsible for the training plan, it must be presented to the main management for approval. In fact, the more the training policy is supported by the management, the more efficiently the training plan can be implemented.
Initiating the training plan
Organisation of trainings
After the training plan is approved, the employer sets up organisational training procedures, such as:
- selecting the trainers. There are several types:
- internal trainers: a member of staff who provides training to the employees of the business where he/she works and thereby becomes an occasional trainer;
- external trainers: they either teach on company premises or on an external location. At this stage, the employer can launch a call for tender. Several types of external trainers exist, such as:
- continuous vocational training institutes: this is an approved training provider, whose head office is located in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg or who has ministerial approval to run a continuous vocational training institute;
- training suppliers: they are businesses who supply equipment and/or services and provide training concerning said equipment or services. Their main activity is not training, and they are exempted from the business permit requirement for training services;
- trainer of the parent company: must be considered as an external trainer. In fact, he is not employed by the business who is applying for co-financing;
- self-training: it is an individual learning method that applies to many different training courses. Self-training includes e-learning, i.e. electronic training which uses information and communication technologies.
- the logistical aspects (location, accommodation, etc.);
- the choice of language;
- the choice of the structure of the courses (educational objectives), etc.
Communicating the training plan
Communication between the different parties concerned is important throughout the training process.
When the training plan has been validated and implementation methods established, the employer must make an official announcement to all members of staff.
Several means can be used to communicate the training plan:
- the business' Intranet;
- internal mail or e-mail;
- posting on the notice board;
- information sessions, etc.
Evaluation of the plan
The evaluation of the training plan and the training content allows the employer to measure whether the training objectives were reached. By attributing a value to the different elements of the programme, such as content, techniques or trainers, the employer is able to take certain decisions regarding current or future training plans.
The value of training may be measured as followed:
- determine the degree of satisfaction of the participants with regard to the training provided by using a questionnaire to be completed at the end of the training session;
- observe whether or not the training course had the desired effect with regard to the participant (for example, during the employee assessment interview);
- analyse the improvements shown by certain indicators, such as the rate of absence, etc.
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