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Business and Management.
The proliferation of reports on ‘lifelong learning’ in recent years has brought to the fore the importance of workplace learning. In the present knowledge economy companies with highly knowledgeable and skilled employees have a competitive edge and organisational competitiveness has a direct effect on national competitiveness. The findings of recent reports (McIvor 2004; Chisholm et al 2004; NCPP 2005) suggest that the Republic of Ireland ranks poorly in relation to her European neighbours when it comes to adult participation in lifelong learning. Additionally, out of 15 EU countries, learning in the workplace is least popular in Ireland (Chisholm et al 2004). These findings are quite worrying as Ireland’s attractiveness to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is being slowly eroded due to high labour costs, vat rates and carbon taxes. Additionally, many countries have now introduced, or are planning to offer, lower corporation tax, a major attraction of Ireland to Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) in recent decades. However, many organisations are primarily attracted to Ireland’s highly educated and skilled workforce and it is important that we remain competitive in this regard. For this reason it is essential that lifelong learning is encouraged. The workplace is central in this regard and Human Resource Development (HRD) departments have a primary responsibility in ensuring that individuals are trained and developed. However, the research conducted on Training and Development (T&D) is focused primarily on management and not employees – recipients of T&D. This may explain the lacuna of research into the effectiveness of T&D in organisations, as information about T&D spend and the techniques used does not help in assessing effectiveness. This study chooses to take a holistic approach (in focusing on various levels of employees) to T&D in the Irish Financial Services Sector and consists of four research objectives. These objectives seek to ascertain the importance placed on T&D, to assess the various T&D approaches used to determine the drivers and barriers to employee involvement in T&D. The effectiveness of T&D in one organisation (Company A) is also assessed. There are a number of interesting findings to the study, and the results reflect positively on the respondent companies and on Company A, particularly from an employee point of view. These findings are presented in Chapter Eight and suggestions for industry and government, along with recommendations for further research, are outlined in Chapter Nine.
Hughes, C.: a Study of Training and Development (T&D) in the Irish Financial Services Sector. Masters Thesis. Dublin Institute of Technology, 2006.