Learning at Work Week: Why Continued Professional Development is so important for business success

To celebrate Learning at Work Week (13th – 19th May), Kerry Birchall, who manages the Adult Learning provision at University College Isle of Man’s (UCM) explores how learning and development, continued professional development (CPD), training courses and upskilling staff, can support overall business improvement.

“In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, continuous improvement is intrinsically linked to success. As industries experience constant advancements and changes, the necessity for CPD, upskilling and acquiring new skills has become increasingly apparent. Add into the mix the worldwide skills shortage, and it’s clear that businesses need to be doing more to develop existing staff. 

Technology, consumer preferences and market trends are ever-changing; businesses need to invest in ongoing training to ensure their workforce is equipped with the latest tools and knowledge to navigate these shifts. Whether it's mastering emerging technologies, understanding evolving customer needs or staying ahead of industry regulations, learning and development empowers businesses to adapt swiftly.

CPD fosters an environment of innovation and creativity, especially when employees are exposed to diverse training experiences, they develop a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of their field. This often inspires fresh ideas and novel approaches to problem-solving.

What about talent attraction and retention? Employees seek opportunities for growth and development so companies who provide CPD and progression programs will attract good employees. According to research published by FE News earlier this year 62% of employees in the UK will consider leaving their current job to insufficient learning opportunities.

Technology is reshaping industries at an unprecedented pace; businesses need to offer training courses that align with emerging trends, and as businesses ensure that their employees are prepared for the jobs of the future, this reduces the risk of future skills gaps and ensures business continuity. According to a report by the CIPD last year, 47% of UK employers with hard-to-fill vacancies are upskilling their staff.

Another business benefit is the enhanced employee performance; staff that are well-trained are often more efficient and productive; employees who engage in training gain the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their roles. This not only boosts individual performance but also contributes to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the business. Improved job satisfaction and confidence among employees further translate into higher morale and reduced turnover rates. 

A big question I get asked is whether people should choose to learn online or in-person. There are merits to both options so a lot depends on the subject and learning style of the individual; it’s often difficult to learn a practical skill by just reading about it or watching a video. Select a learning and development provider which is suitable for the skills and who needs the training. 

In conclusion, learning and development is not really optional for businesses that wants to be successful. In an environment characterised by change and innovation, businesses that invest in their employees' growth ensure agility, resilience and a sustained competitive advantage.”

Learning at Work Week is an annual UK event designed to promote lifelong learning through workplace learning initiatives.

Find out more about UCM’s upskilling courses