Participatory practices in the workplace are associated with higher levels of training participation in Ireland according to recent studies*.
The purpose of the studies, which comprised in-depth surveys of employers and employees, was to examine the nature and scale of workplace change and innovation across the private and public sectors which have taken place since similar surveys were conducted in 2003. A section of the employees’ report devoted to participation in training, identifies the personal and organisation correlates of training and examines the relationship between training, work practices and innovation.
The literature on organisational innovation suggests that training is an essential prerequisite for the implementation of innovative working practices. The studies examined whether firms adopting employee involvement or other forms of workplace innovation may also implement training measures in order to enhance the capacity of employees to implement innovative work practices. The analysis showed that both the presence of participatory practices in the workplaces, as well as personal involvement in such work practices, are associated with higher levels of training participation.
Employees in the survey showed a marked willingness to accept change since the 2003 survey, being prepared to innovate and upskill. Some 45 % of workers experienced an increase in the use of technology in their jobs, but the numbers who received training from employers – 49 % – in the last two years fell. Overall just under half of employees reported that they had participated in training, provided by their present employer, over the past two years, the same rate as the 2003 survey. The extent of training at work in Ireland appears to be close to the European average, although it lags well behind best-practice levels, particularly in northern European countries.
The patterns of training participation revealed in the surveys follow Irish and international research and show little change from the 2003 results. Those who are already well educated and in higher-level occupations are more likely to receive training, while those with less skill and those in temporary jobs, are less likely to receive training at work. In addition older workers are less likely to train than younger workers and public sector workers, union members and those working in larger organisations are more likely to participate in training.
*The changing workplace: a survey of employers’ views and experiences: Volume 1 employers / Dorothy Watson et al. (The national workplace surveys 2009). / Dublin: NCPP, 2010.
The changing workplace: a survey of employees’ views and experiences: Volume 2 employees / Philip J O’Connell et al. (The national workplace surveys 2009). Dublin: NCPP, 2010.