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Recession takes its toll of training budgets

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The economic downturn has had a significant impact on the funds invested by businesses in training.

Spending on skills development has plummeted by 52 per cent over the past year, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) 2010 Learning and Development Survey.

The survey covered over 700 employers of whom just 11 per cent said they expected training spend to increase during the next 12 months.

Despite the fall in spend, most firms have tried to maintain a level of training, with efforts focused on managing costs more efficiently.

The CIPD also identified a shift from external suppliers to greater in-house provision.

With the economy slowly emerging from recession, the talent that employers say they are looking for include leadership skills (65 per cent), front line people management skills (55 per cent) and business awareness (51 per cent).

The main skills deficits that concern employers are performance management and managing change.

John McGurk, the CIPD’s learning and talent adviser, said: “Our annual survey demonstrates that learning and development professionals across the country are rising to the challenge of implementing core training to ensure business success and innovating to ensure long term survival. A skilled and motivated workforce will be essential to ensure organisations are well placed to take advantage of the recovery when it comes.

“It’s particularly good to see that learning and development professionals are focusing on leadership and people management skills as key to support business growth during the tough times.”