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  1. A recent survey by the CIPD found that 78% of public sector managers said they had less money to spend on training budgets in 2011 than the previous year – and the same percentage believed this budget would fall further in 2012. (Click HERE for the source article).

    This is no doubt posing real challenges. As I have written in previous blogs, you can't just stop training people, but you can't carry on as before. Instead you have to think more creatively about HOW you spend you training budget. (My analogy with wrapping presents may be of interest here.) There was maybe a glimmer of hope in the speech David Cameron gave yesterday on 'popular capitalism' and the launch of the Cooperatives Bill, when he acknowledged that it should be easier for the public sector to use local (often cheaper) suppliers.

    For example, our local school was quoted for line painting on the playground by an 'approved' supplier, yet an aquantaince of mine could have done the same thing for half the price. He has been in business for a long time....he just didn't have all the required licences, so couldn't be considered.

    Power Hour provides quality training materials at just £30, but we have no public sector clients...possibly because we don't have an environmental policy or monitor the faiths of our employees. But what a great way to keep on training for a FRACTION of the budget. In my opinion, a more flexible approach can't come soon enough. Not only for the 'small' suppliers like me, but also for the end-users, who might be missing out unecessarily on training.

  2. Yesterday I had a birthday present to wrap. A large cube shape. I had the wrapping paper...or so I thought. When I placed the present in the centre of the wrapping paper, it was clear that is wasn't big enough. There was a 2" gap, and no matter how much I pulled the paper, it was too big a gap to close.

    My other half came home, and I complained that I would have to go out to the shops to buy more wrapping paper, and I really didn't have the time. Then he did something amazing....

    He placed the cube at a 45° angle, and instead of folding in the straight edges, he folded in the corners. There was more than enough paper to wrap the present. So much infact, we had to trim it!

    It made me realise that often we get into the habit of doing things a certain way, and do things on 'autopilot'. Is this also true of training? If you've always sent people on external courses but find that the budget won't cover it any more, do you just say "Well, we can't train people then"?

    Think more laterally - Instead of focussing on what you CAN'T do with your budget, think about what you CAN do. Can you use social media? Webinars? Can you identify 'champions' who can share best practice with their peers? Can you coach people, run bite-size training or use project-based learning?

    When I do bespoke, commissioned work for clients, I always ask what the budget is. It sometimes takes them aback, but I need to know (figuratively) the size of the wrapping paper we have available so I can recommend something appropriate...and do you know... we can always do SOMETHING useful.