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Topic Title: What is reasonable as a training agreement?
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Created On: 16 February 2012 10:17 AM
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 16 February 2012 10:17 AM
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nhaughton

Posts: 12
Joined: 20 June 2008

I manage a small team, and I want to send one of them on a technical training course (3 days), which is relevant to their job and my employer's business.

The new skills will benefit both parties but will also clearly be transferable, so my boss wants me to negotiate a training agreement with this particular individual, ie whereby he/she agrees to repay a percentage of the course costs on a sliding scale if he/she leaves the company before the end of the agreement.

Clearly such an agreement needs to be reasonable and not something that can be construed as restrictive, so I would like some advice on what is currently the norm for a short course such as this, ie a 3 day course costing circa £2000 in fees.

Can anyone offer advice based on their experience?
 19 February 2012 12:42 PM
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simongallagher

Posts: 148
Joined: 28 July 2005

I would say that the 3 day course is in investment in skills in the workforce, and it is reasonable to expect an employer to fund this, at their risk.

It would be reasonable to put such a contract in place for much larger investments, such as degrees etc.

Simon
 19 February 2012 01:05 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

I disagree on the degrees Simon as they are over a longer period anyway and so the employer gets the improved benefits over that same period of time, however I understand your point.

With regards to the training agreement it is unethical for a business to send a person on a training course, that the business requires, and then to draw up some agreement whereby the relevant person, who may have no choice but to attend the course, then has to commit to paying for part of it if they then leave the company. If we give the person the choice to not attend the training course if they do not wish to take on this agreement then that causes all sorts of potential negative issues.

If that person does leave the company then when you recruit their replacement make sure they have these skills before you employ them.

I worked for a company which once had these types of training agreements and when they took on a HR manager who actually knew their job these agreements were scrapped.

Regards,
 23 February 2012 10:25 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Our policy for short courses is that the investment is entirely at our own risk, the benefit to us is likely to be much more than to the employee. For FE courses (HNCs, Degrees etc) the arrangement is that up to half of the course fees can be recovered from the employee if they resign within 12 months of completing the course. How much we would actually ask for is discretionary. The argument here is that the employee has the benefit of that added qualification for life, and whilst the company encourages further education it does ask for a reasonable return.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 23 February 2012 11:44 AM
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nhaughton

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"I would say that the 3 day course is in investment in skills in the workforce, and it is reasonable to expect an employer to fund this, at their risk. "

Well, clearly if the employee leaves within a few months it is hardly a worthwhile investment for the business!

Whilst I am inclined to agree with the thrust of the sentiments expressed here, my employer begs to differ and is not willing to take that risk without some protection, so I was hoping to learn what other businesses actually do, rather than what people think should be done. Does anyone have any information on actual practice in similar circumstances?
 23 February 2012 11:48 AM
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nhaughton

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"If that person does leave the company then when you recruit their replacement make sure they have these skills before you employ them. "

Isn't that not only shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but also an argument against any training? If you are going to insist on new recruits having all the skills you need, you will never need to train them. I don't think the real world works like that, sadly. People always seem to have skills gaps of one kind or another, and training is intended to plug those gaps.
 23 February 2012 12:41 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: nhaughton
Does anyone have any information on actual practice in similar circumstances?

My comments above are our actual practice, and have been for many years. So for the course you're talking about we would not put a "payback" agreement in place. Seems to have worked well.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
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