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Derailing The Training Cost Myths


Almost every single new job in our lives begins with some form of training.  Sometimes a formal training and induction regime, other times a more casual on the job process, Training is a vital part of making sure that a new employee not only learns how to do the job in hand but, also learns about the company’s rules and regulations.   As such, you’d be forgiven for thinking that such training is an investment that the company should be more than willing to make exclusively but, more and more, this turns out not to be the case.

The cost of learning

It was recently revealed that an administration arm of the emergency services requires employees to sign a contract stating that, should they leave their position within two years, they will be liable for a £2000 training reimbursement to the organisation.  This, unfortunately, is by no means an isolated case;  more and more companies are adding similar clauses to their employment contracts.

In some cases, these costs may be at least partly justified – for example, say you applied for an IT job and you have all of the necessary skills and experience apart from website coding.  In some cases, deciding that you are the best candidate for the position, a company may hire you on the agreement that you will undergo coding training paid for by the company.  In order to protect its investment, the company may then add a clause stating that, if you leave within a certain period, this external training will need to be paid for.  This is more or less a safety measure to try to prevent you joining the company and then taking your brand new (and expensive) knowledge elsewhere.

Although cases like this where external training is paid for by the company can maybe be justified, it’s baffling that some companies feel that the same should apply for their own, necessary, in-house training.

The legal stuff

An employer currently has no statutory right to demand repayment of training costs, even if an employee leaves the company immediately after training is complete.  The only way such repayments can be demanded is it an agreement signed by both parties is in place.

Should you be asked to sign such an agreement, make sure that you carefully consider the following:

Do you intend to stay with the company for the required time required to avoid training recharges?  If the new job is simply a stop gap to finding something more suitable, then you will not want to find yourself in a position of either staying in a job that you hate or handing over hard cash for your training.

What are the terms of the repayment?  Check the small print and, if necessary, ask if you would be required to repay the training cost in full on termination of your employment or, if you would have the option to split this into smaller repayments.

What circumstances are involved?  Again, check the fine print.  Will you be recharged for your training if you are asked to leave or are made redundant or, will this only apply if you make the decision to leave the company?

Above all, you need to decide whether or not you want to work for a company which considers training you for your role to be a perk rather than a necessity.

At Semester Learning, employers choose to train existing employees in new skills and expertise meaning that, not only do they retain a valuable member of staff but, they also gain a qualified one.