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Broadcast training standards remain high despite budget cuts, says report
The number of broadcasters with dedicated staff training budgets has fallen - but the standard of training within the industry remains high, according to the latest annual report by the Broadcast Training & Skills Regulator (BTSR).
BTSR's Training & Skills Report 2008 found that fewer broadcast companies now set aside funds specifically for staff development than did so 12 months ago.
However, it found overall there was a small but significant upward trend in education provision for employees, with an increasing number of broadcasters being rated 'high' performers. In total, 70 broadcasting companies (17 Radio and 53 Television) were evaluated by the regulator.
Peter Block, executive director of BTSR - which hosts the Learning & Development in Broadcasting Conference 2009, sub-headed 'Training on a Shoestring', at Bafta on 13 October - said: "It's encouraging to see many broadcasters keeping faith with their training schemes despite tough economic conditions.
"Training plays a key role across the whole business; scrapping training provision is a false economy as the short-term revenue gain pales into insignificance when judged against potential damage to long-term competitiveness.
"Where budgets are being slimmed down, and external training removed, there will be a greater reliance on in-house skills education. In many cases it will be challenging to ensure line managers, who in the past have been reliant on dedicated teams or third-party staff training, are capable of designing, developing and delivering training themselves.
"The BTSR intends to monitor this in coming years to see if it has any impact on performance and the breadth and quality of training and development provision."
The Report goes on to highlight concerns over staff induction, particularly those returning to work after prolonged absence, such as maternity leave, or employees moving to new positions within an organisation. Block added: "A lot can change within a business after a year-long maternity absence but we found little evidence of induction for returning staff."
And whilst most broadcasters have some form of training programme in place, the BTSR says insufficient attention is given to evaluating their success. Evaluation is the weakest area for both TV and radio companies, the Report found, and is still the only strand where the number admitting they carry out no, or little, appraisal is greater than those with a satisfactory evaluation process.
Block continued: "We recognise evaluation is challenging but it doesn't have to entail complex Return on Investment indices; it can simply take the form of routine staff interviews, staff churn monitoring, and line manager observations to note whether training is being absorbed and translated into improved performance.
"If development programmes aren't evaluated it's impossible to assess whether they're working.or a waste of money.
"The challenges highlighted in the Report have helped shape the approach and content for this year's Learning & Development Conference."
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