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All organisations are under increasing pressure to train and retain their workforce; this change has been forced by the “knowledge economy”. These pressures are economic, to remain effective employees need to posses the skills so the organisation can attract and retain business. Training of employees is discussed as the last competitive edge that organisations can have.

Organisational structures are changing. The emphasis on training employees has shifted from an organisational led requirement to the individual employee taking control of their career. This emphasis is a shift of responsibility to most employees, and introduces new challenges. To take control of learning the individual needs to establish their preference to learning, to acquire the knowledge in the best form of delivery

The appearance of knowledge based economies, has deep implications for the factors of growth, and its effect on employment and skill requirements. This may call for new directions in industry related government policies (DTI White Paper). The UK government aimed there learning policies towards the emerging knowledge economy. The prime minister stated that “education is the best economic policy we have” That through the policy of lifelong learning the UK would have the knowledge to compete in the new economy (Tony Blair PM 1998 cited in DTI White Paper).

To compete in the “new economy” organisations and their component parts (employees) require the skills to compete. These skills today are both the responsibility of the organisation and the employee. Employees who seek career development and promotion can develop their own skills. To be able to plan this intervention, the individual should understand which method and delivery of training is suited to their requirements (Sparrow, S. 2004).

Employees are being forced to take more responsibility for their own careers, going where the work is rewarding and where they can develop skills that will guarantee their employability in any organisation. Organisations no longer offer “a job for life” there is no longer guaranteed employment, with a pension as a reward for loyalty and compliance. The “psychological contract” between employer and employee has altered. Employees are increasingly mobile, changing employment for promotion, reward and job satisfaction; top employees have more choice as to where to work. To retain these key employees the organisations culture needs to allow an environment of personal growth (Harrison 2002).

With less job security, the best reward an organisation can give an employee is transferable skills. This intervention is driven more by the employee taking control on their career path. The individual can take control, and change the direction of their career through development. This training and development is not solely undertaken in the work environment, this can take place outside of work hours (Marchington, M & Wilkinson, A 1997).

Individuals, who manage their own training, require the skill to select the correct method of delivery of the intervention. Whether this is formal or