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Do qualifications pay?

16 January 2014

2014, a new year, and a time when thoughts turn to budget-planning. Businesses talk a lot about return on investment (ROI), but often this is mainly in terms of the financial cost of premises, stock, equipment or machinery. However, there is one very important investment that companies must make, which is crucial to their future success – and that’s an investment in their people.

Investing in your people is not just a matter of finances; there are other ‘outlays’ to consider such as management time and support. A high rate of staff turnover, which disrupts service delivery and customer satisfaction, is something that every company wants to avoid. Employees need to feel valued and motivated, with the chance to diversify or gain promotion if they are to remain loyal. By providing them with the opportunity to develop or study for a recognised qualification or work-related certificate, companies can go a long way to achieving this.

There are benefits to both parties. The employee feels supported and encouraged in their job role, with the chance for their skills and talents to be formally recognised through a relevant, trusted qualification or certification. For the employer there is the opportunity to develop their staff into even more capable and competent workers, providing even better services to their clients, and bringing in more business. There is also the chance that the employees who train together stay together – keeping staff turnover to a minimum, and enhancing the experience and breadth of knowledge in the workforce.

A World Bank study in 2006 found that the return on training investment was 24%, and that an increase in training of 10 hours per year per employee was associated with a 0.6% increase in productivity. The report noted that formal job training is a good investment for many firms and the economy as whole, and possibly yields higher returns than investment either in physical capital or in schooling.  

An earlier report in 2000 by Dearden, et al ("Who gains when workers train”), which looked at the UK experience, showed that an increase of 5% in the proportion of employees trained in an organisation (say from 10-15%) is associated with a 4% increase in productivity (value added per worker).  It also noted that formal training has a larger impact on productivity than informal training. 

More recently the BIS Review of Economic Benefits of Training and Qualifications (2013)  showed that for every level of  qualification achieved, earning capacity also increases, and that the higher the qualifications, the greater the gain. 

The cleaning sector has suffered in the past from high staff turnover and a perception that it is a relatively unskilled area – which is extremely unfair. The cleaning industry plays a vital role in ensuring that society operates in a safe and hygienic environment by providing a range of support services designed to keep infection at bay; maintain the level of cleanliness in workplaces; contribute to the maintenance and sustainability of buildings and ensure that the public have a positive perception of their local community. Now surely that takes some skill!

WAMITAB recognises that cleaning can offer a viable career if individuals are willing to develop their skills to meet the demands of modern cleaning service provision, which is becoming increasingly complex due to new technological advances and the development of cleaning chemicals. We are pleased to provide cleaning and street cleansing qualifications, apprenticeships, training programmes and routes to industry to a wide range of organisations across all sectors. 

So, as we start a new year, it’s worth noting that cleaning contractors that invest time and money in supporting their employees to attain qualifications and accreditation of workplace learning will definitely receive a return on that investment, and one that keeps paying out dividends for years to come.

Written by Chris James, CEO of WAMITAB