Three quarters of UK workers (74%) believe they are not achieving their potential at work and want to be given better access to more on the job training, says a major research project commissioned by Middlesex University’s Institute for Work Based Learning.

The report reveals a nation of workers eager to improve their skills and dedicated enough to devote personal time or money to being more effective at work.

The majority of workers wanted more opportunities to develop. Training was a key part of these development opportunities with nine out of ten of people saying that training was important to them, particularly if delivered at work. More than eight out of ten (83%) even said they would consider investing time at home and seven out of ten (72%) would consider contributing financially to fund their course.

Employers who fear that well trained staff are more likely to get snapped up by competitors will be reassured that only a fifth of workers (23%) saw training as an opportunity to upskill and leave for a new job. In fact most respondents (51%) said the benefit of training was to make them feel more valued and/or make them more effective in their current role (44%).

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Professor Simon Roodhouse of Middlesex University’s Institute for Work Based Learning said: “It won’t be a surprise to anyone that staff want training and feel valued when they get it, but we were interested to discover that so many people are willing to contribute financially to their training. And while they would prefer to develop their skills at work, many are open to learning at home.

“Our results paint an encouraging picture for UK businesses as the majority of people surveyed told us that their employers recognised the importance of training, although unfortunately 13% of people said that they didn’t think their company saw training as important at all.”

Simon Roodhouse said: “We can see that there is low recognition of universities as training providers, when compared to industry bodies and employers themselves, and a perception from staff that offers of external training are declining. This is interesting as universities can provide the accreditation that employees want, so the challenge for higher education is to keep raising awareness of customised study and training that meets the objectives of both businesses and their staff.”