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Workforce development and planning


Workforce development and planning is the process that generates information and analyses it to inform an employer's current and future demand for people and skills in order to create a set of actions that will develop or build on existing workforce members to meet these demands.

The goal of workforce planning is to build a company with stable staffing levels across every department. Another goal is to hire and retain a workforce who possess the skills to achieve successful, defined, organisation results.

Investing in a training program that provides employees with the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs correctly and advance in their careers not only makes your employees experts at their jobs, but also helps you retain them. By introducing new techniques and skills to your employees, you are also equipping your business for success. This is because they become better informed and more motivated to progress in their careers, thereby improving employee retention.

Did you know?

Engagement and retention go hand in hand - and training should be a key component of any employee engagement strategy. Implementing a robust learning and development plan ensures that your workers have the resources they need to perform at their best and feel more empowered in their roles.

It is of note that companies that have poor induction practices and aren’t eager to train new starters are twice as likely to lose employees. It is also important to highlight ongoing training opportunities during the onboarding process to ensure that new starters feel supported and excited to progress from day one. Ongoing training could include soft skills training, compliance training and job role specific training.

Best practices for training employees include setting goals, leveraging technology, being practical and using positive reinforcement.

How it works in the city

There are many providers of adult education courses in Plymouth and the surrounding area. These are summarised below and for further localised information about further education and higher education options including digital and functional skills – click here.

On Course South West

On Course South West delivers a broad suite of practical and free courses for business across many different sectors that cover both industry specific courses as well as leadership management and workforce essentials. They will also work with employers to explore skill gaps in their business to then go on to develop a bespoke training programme. Contact On Course South West by e-mailing or calling 01752 660713. Alternatively, click here to visit their website or view the PDF here.

Careers South West (CSW)

Funded by the European Social Fund, SMART SKILLS offers a wide range of fully funded training and skill development solutions. In collaboration with delivery partners and learning providers courses have been designed to meet the needs of businesses in Devon with the aim of supporting and enhancing economic growth in the region. These projects are subject to change so please check with them for current projects running. Contact SMART SKILLS by e-mailing (Sean Gibson Partnership and Engagement Manager). Alternatively, visit the website here.

Other adult skills providers in Plymouth that can tailor training packages to your business include:

City College Plymouth

Achievement Training Ltd

Skills Group

Mentoring with the University of Plymouth

Mentoring a student is an excellent way at giving something back and good for your staff's continued professional development (CPD). The University of Plymouth has a number of mentoring opportunities available during each cycle and always like to hear from employers interested in becoming a mentor. For more information, see details on the Professional Mentoring Programme here.

Enterprise Solutions with the University of Plymouth

Enterprise Solutions helps employers to navigate the University of Plymouth’s internationally renowned research expertise, facilities and business services. It connects employers to the right support to meet their organisation’s needs. For more information on Enterprise Solutions please click here.

Being Disability Confident in workforce development

To help local employers understand and build on the benefits of employing (and keeping) people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, please find below a summary of services and resources.

Seetec Pluss

Seetec Pluss can help employers make the most of the talents that people can bring to your workforce. Seetec Pluss will get to know the needs of your business and can connect you to people with the skills, talents and motivation to do your jobs. They can also help businesses to become Disability Confident, including signing up to the Disability Confident scheme. Find out more here.

Furthermore, Seetec Pluss will work with you to help your new employee reach their full potential, they provide ongoing support to smooth out any difficulties and to ensure your employee progresses in work. They provide:

• ongoing support, information and guidance

• regular review meetings to ensure any worries are resolved

• mental health First Aid and neuro-diversity training for your teams

• advice on reasonable adjustments

• access to financial support for any specialist equipment or adaptations needed by your employee, which could be as simple as providing a mentor, offering flexible working hours, providing information in an alternative format or making changes to office layout.

Seetec Pluss can also advise on workplace health and wellbeing for your entire workforce. Further information can be found here.

Seetec Pluss work with the National Careers Service to help effective partnerships with employers, further and higher education providers, local partners and the third sector. They play a direct, enabling role in connecting people to learning, technical and vocational education, apprenticeships, higher education and work opportunities, including in-work progression. The National Careers Service is free to use and can be read about here alongside the involvement of Seetec Pluss:

The Be Ready Employer Hub services are free of charge to support Devon-based businesses, charities, social enterprises and public sector to understand and build on the benefits of employing (and keeping) people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Young people (up to the age of 25) who have additional needs will sometimes require a more tailored or individualised approach to learning, or extra support to enable them to participate and upskill. A wealth of information with a broad range of options for young people with SEND is described here.

Additionally, employers can read about the job support available to those potential employees or current workforce with special educational needs or a disability here.

Useful free resources

Disability Matters is a free e-learning resource for the UK workforce: Educational, Inspiring, Informative and Inclusive.

MindEd is a free educational and learning resource applicable across the health, social care, education, criminal justice and community settings covering mental health.

Online training including free eLearning modules that are for employers and employees can be found here.

Information from Mencap detailing the Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism for health and care staff. 

A resource that provides the tools to help autistic young people prepare for work experience or further training. It contains tips and resources for employers, including HR professionals and managers who are supporting an autistic young person in the workplace. Click here.

A wealth of information for employers can be found here.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission sets out advice and guidance for employers here.

Employers can join the Business Disability Forum, the leading business membership organisation in disability inclusion. They work in partnership with business, Government, and disabled people to remove barriers to inclusion. Further details can be found here.

Find out more

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Access guidance and information here.

Help to Grow: Management UK

Businesses across all sectors can apply for this Government led training and support, including social enterprises. Charities are not eligible. The attendee should be a decision maker in the business (for example the CEO, managing director or equivalent, and businesses applying must:

• be based in the UK

• have between 5-249 employees

• have been operating for more than a year

• have at least one link of management in the business structure.

If your business employs between 10 and 249 people, you can send up to two participants on the course. This includes:

• training and topics include – leadership, marketing, employee engagement and financial management

• support from a business mentor

• peer-learning sessions

• access to an alumni network

• help to develop a business growth plan.

Further information can be explored here.

The Federation of Small Businesses provides small businesses with access to CPD certified online training courses, with exclusive member discounts. Find out more here.

Review Skills Launchpad Plymouth’s Employer Hub Skills and Training sections for localised information about adult education, further education and higher education options – click here.

Free courses and additional training for your employees

Free training, financial support and career advice is available to your workforce. Some of the benefits of your employees taking a free course or training outside of employment include:

• upskilling your existing employees

• progressing your current employees into higher skilled roles

• filling vacancies or skill shortages within your business

• gaining a workforce with the right knowledge, skills, and behaviours for your company to succeed.

Find the government schemes that you can explore here.

Other training to consider

As part of the government’s commitment to supporting people to gain skills for life, any adult aged 19 and over, who does not have a level 3 qualification (equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or A-Levels) or higher, now has the opportunity to access a fully funded course. In addition, from April 2022, any adult in England earning under the National Living Wage, will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

Find the government schemes and funding that your workforce can access here.

This ensures that employers can develop the talent pool in their business to create a motivated, loyal, and qualified workforce, helping current employees to progress into higher skilled roles in the business, without employers needing to fund the training themselves. These courses can be explored at the Nationals Careers Services here.

The Education Landscape – A Guide for Employers 

The document ‘The Education Landscape – A Guide for Employers’ can be found here.

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