Learning & Development Policy
- Policy Statement
North Lanarkshire Leisure Limited (Company) recognises the need to invest in the training and development of its team members in order to maximise their potential and to realise the inherent benefits to service provision. To this end North Lanarkshire Leisure has a formal Learning and Development Policy. This Policy is intended to communicate the commitment to learning and development, explain the process by which everyone involved with the company can become involved with learning, the relationship learning and development has with the Business Plan, Service Improvement Plan and the timetable for learning and development interventions.
This Learning and Development Policy is seen as integral to supporting North Lanarkshire Leisure’s strategic aims and objectives as outlined in the Business Plan and other associated Company plans and strategies.
Team member Development is defined as:
“Learning processes, activities or other interventions which enable staff to develop the skills, knowledge, attitude and effectiveness required to deliver North Lanarkshire Leisure Vision and Mission”
- Policy Objectives
We are committed to the ongoing development of all team members to enable them to make a full and effective contribution to the aims, objectives and services of North Lanarkshire Leisure.
This policy extends to all team members.
We aim to:
- ensure that the company has sufficient trained, qualified, experienced and flexible team members to support it service needs and to ensure its continuing effectiveness in providing services, and achieving accreditation for service delivery.
- to provide the learning and development needed to enable team members to perform their present jobs effectively and to acquire the necessary, new skills to increase flexibility in moving to new or different areas of work;
- to assist team members to develop their potential and to realise their aspirations for career progression, consistent with their needs and those of the Company;
- to ensure there is quality of opportunity for team members to obtain systematic learning and development:
- to meet learning and development needs of team members in the most effective way, in terms of quality and cost.
- Employee Learning and Development Priorities
The following Company learning and development priorities have been established in order to ensure the most advantageous use of available learning resources within the Company, with its partners and externally. These must be taken into account by managers, in determining their own service learning and development priorities.
- The induction learning required by new recruits to the Company or
Team members transferring between or within sections;
- the learning required to meet the Company’s obligations under
European, National and Scottish regulations and legislation;
- the learning and development required to increase team members effectiveness and improve performance in current jobs, at all levels;
- the learning and development required to support the Company’s
- the learning and development required to promote good team members relations and industrial harmony;
- the learning and development required to comply with the Company’s Employment Policies.
- the learning and development arising from new organisational procedures or equipment, or new technology;
- the learning and development required to promote good relations with the communities of North Lanarkshire.
- Learning and Development Budget
The responsibility, accountability and authorisation for learning and development expenditure lie with the Head of HR and Payroll in consultation with the Learning & Development Manager.
- Responsibility for Learning and Development
Line Managers will keep learning and development records for each individual within their section. This information can be viewed at any time by contacting the appropriate manager.
North Lanarkshire Leisure recognises the need for everyone to learn and develop their skills on a continuous basis and will support individuals to help them achieve this. Equally, NLL expects individuals to take on responsibility for their own self-development. For example, identifying suitable learning and development activities with the help of line managers and adopting a flexible and positive approach to any learning and development that is identified.
Managing Director and Senior Management are responsible for, and committed to:
- Ensuring that NLL has a clear Vision, Mission, Aims and Objectives
and that team member development is recognised as a valuable tool in
ensuring that all team members are equipped to achieve these goals;
- Ensuring that appropriate systems and processes such as Induction,
Mentoring, Personal Development Review are in place and embedded
sufficiently to support team member development and learning activities;
- Ensuring that appropriate resources such as finance and relevant
expertise are appropriately available to support team member development
and learning activities;
- Ensuring that NLL can determine a calculated return on its investment
in team member development and learning through the identification of
improved performance at organisational and operational level.
Managers are responsible for, and committed to:
- The development of all team members in order to achieve Company aims and
- Ensuring that all team members have access to learning and development
opportunities, appropriate to their role and development needs;
- To monitor and identify areas of team member work which can be assisted by
a Learning and Development activity.
- Assessing the transfer of learning into the work place through a process of
evaluation and review.
Learning and Development Manager
- Ensure the production of a Learning and Development Policy which is
reviewed to ensure it is meeting priorities.
- Encourage partnerships between internal groups and external agencies and
organisations to ensure a best value approach to learning and development.
- Co-ordinate and facilitate the delivery of appropriate learning and
development solutions, in response to business and legal needs.
- Support NLL by providing a centralised learning and development resource.
- Providing the tools to support learning and development.
- Will arrange such learning and development as is necessary to assist and
support team members who have a responsibility to implement and apply
Company policies, systems or procedures.
- Design and arrange for an effective and efficient Induction learning process
for all new team members.
Individual Team Members
Individual team members have a responsibility to take ownership of their own learning in order to maximise the opportunities that can be made available to them. It is necessary for the individual team member to participate fully in the identification of their own learning and development needs, to co-operate in any evaluation of learning and development and to participate in pre- and post- development discussions, to improve individual and organisational performance. Team members will be expected to actively put into practice any new skills and knowledge gained through staff development.
Training Needs Analysis
Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is the systematic gathering of data to find out where there are gaps in the existing skills, knowledge and attitudes of team members. It involves the gathering of data about existing team members’ capabilities and organisational demands for skills, and the analysis of the implications of new and changed roles for changes in capability. It often flows from the business strategy, as the aim of identifying needs is to be able to build a plan to offer appropriate learning opportunities to fill the gaps identified and ensure that there is sufficient capability for the organisation to meet its objectives.
Identifying Training & Development Needs
Identifying training and development needs, and helping individuals to improve their performance, are key responsibilities for line managers, so they are expected to be actively involved in their team’s training and development. Line managers are also responsible for measuring the effectiveness of any learning and development undertaken by team members.
The skills and knowledge that will be needed for the future success of the company will become apparent as each Business Plan is drafted and communicated to and collective / individual performance objectives agreed. Where individual skills, knowledge or the development of competencies are needed to achieve these Company objectives, these should be forwarded to the Learning and Development Manager for discussion.
- Assessment and Evaluation Procedure
To assist services evaluate and maximise the impact of any learning provided, the learning and development team will provide:
- A model Training Needs Analysis questionnaire which can be adapted for use
by each service;
- Standardised course evaluation forms for internal and external courses /
- Pre–and–post-course interview guidelines.
Methods of Providing Team member Development
North Lanarkshire Leisure is committed to promoting a Learning Organisation culture. It recognises that individuals often have preferred and different methods of learning and to this end, the Company will encourage professional development through providing a variety of methods for learning. Learning should not be viewed purely as “attending a training course”. There are a variety of different methods that can be used to help develop individuals and the Learning and Development section, will be happy to help individuals and managers select the most appropriate method. For example:
- Using open and distance learning materials
- Computer-based packages
- Videos or CD-ROMs
- Reading literature
- In-house courses / workshops
- External courses / conferences / seminars
- Individual and joint projects
- Professional qualifications
- Working party membership
- Counselling, coaching or mentoring
- On the job training
- Learning and Development Provision
The Company will provide learning and development resources, subject to budgetary constraints and priorities. While each manager must assess and exercise discretion in the provision of learning and development opportunities in this context, the Company expects that team members will be released for approved learning and development, on the basis that the learning has already been approved and scheduled to accommodate operational requirements.
Induction learning will commence on arrival for all new team members to the Company. It should comprise both a company and service overview and should:
- Explain what the Company does and how it is organised
- Explain the Company’s values and culture
- Help team member settle into their new environment
- Help team member understand their responsibilities and obligations
- Ensure the Company receives the benefit of well trained and motivated team
members, as quickly as possible.
Induction learning should also be given to team members transferring between and within sections to achieve the above aims in the context of the new post.
In-house Learning and Development
To ensure that learning and development is as cost effective as possible, and relevant to the needs of the individual as well as the section, NLL will endeavour to meet the majority of identified learning needs through in-house provision.
Job Related Learning and Development
Job related skills learning and development may include both on and off-the-job learning situations, e.g.:-
(i) internal or external learning and development courses;
(iii) coaching and guidance;
(vi) appropriate job rotation;
(vii) computer assisted learning;
(viii) further education;
(ix) vocational qualifications
Learning and development in relation to continuous professional development should be instigated by individuals and should meet the level of requirements stipulated by the professional body.
Resources may be available to team members who wish to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications, where this is deemed to be a requirement either of the current job or of a planned development.
A team member who is undertaking an authorised course of studies and who is appointed to a different post within the company will normally be allowed to complete the course of studies authorised in that academic year. Any further resources granted subsequently will be subject to the Managing Director’s approval, on the basis that the qualification is still relevant to the company and the new responsibilities of the individual.
Resources to attend day/block release courses, full-time courses, evening classes or distance learning courses leading to a relevant qualification may be granted where it would be in the interests of the company and the individual team member.
The company will normally only grant resources or financial assistance for a course of study leading to the attainment of a second professional or vocational qualification, in circumstances where it is deemed necessary to meet work requirements.
Day or Block Release Resources: if operational conditions within a service permit, day or block release resources with pay, will be granted to team members who may wish to commence an authorised course of study leading to an approved qualification.
Full-Time Release Resources: team members may be granted leave of absence, with or without pay, to attend a full-time course of study. The circumstances of each case will determine whether approval can be granted, and, if so, the level of support.
Evening Classes: team members may be granted financial assistance to attend an approved course of study by means of evening class.
Distance Learning Courses: an employee may be granted resources to undertake a relevant course of study by distance learning (Correspondence, Open University/Technical, etc.).
The continuance of the resources outlined above will be subject to satisfactory progress being made throughout the course.
Learning – Company Issues
Each section will ensure the integration of the Company’s priorities in their learning plan for new and existing team members, and ensure the integration of strategic objectives in service training plans.
Health and Safety Learning
Health and safety learning will be provided for all team members in accordance with the obligations of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related legislation, and North Lanarkshire Leisure’s Policy on Health and Safety.
North Lanarkshire Leisure will arrange such learning as is necessary to help ensure that team members are enabled to carry out their responsibilities without discrimination on any grounds. Those receiving such learning will include not only team members with personnel and line management responsibilities, but also team members, who provide a direct service to the public.
North Lanarkshire Leisure will arrange such learning as is necessary to assist and support team members who have a responsibility to implement and apply North Lanarkshire Leisure’s employment policies.
Computer Technology Learning
North Lanarkshire Leisure will provide learning for team members to enable them to identify potential situations where computer technology could improve work performance and effectiveness, as well as improve access to services and encourage citizen participation. North Lanarkshire Leisure will provide team members who are ‘users’ of computer technology with the required learning in the application of company systems.
Management Learning and Development
North Lanarkshire Leisure accepts that management learning and development is a vital investment which should show a return from improved team member effectiveness in providing a high level of services. Provision will be made for team members who have managerial responsibilities/management potential to have access to up-to-date developments in the concepts of management, to be achieved by means of coaching and guidance, projects, job rotation, short courses etc.
Learning for Young People
As part of North Lanarkshire Leisure continuing commitment to young people, we will facilitate learning via:-
- Vocational Training / Modern Apprenticeship Programmes
Training and development programmes will be provided to ensure trainees achieve the agreed qualification standards and maximise their individual potential.
(ii) Employees Aged 16 or 17 years
North Lanarkshire Leisure will permit young employees, who have not achieved a certain standard in their education or learning, reasonable paid time off to study for a relevant qualification which will help them towards achieving that standard, as set out in the Right to Time Off for Study or Training (Scotland) Regulations, 1999.
Apprenticeship learning will be provided in accordance with government policy and national agreements, and conditions of service.
North Lanarkshire Leisure will facilitate learning, which has been identified
as necessary, to allow trainees to enhance and build on their existing skills, in a real integrated work setting, thus increasing their potential to gain substantive employment.
North Lanarkshire Leisure recognises that career development may require employees to be given periods of work experience in a variety of work situations, and which may be associated with formalised learning.
Learning for Trade Union Representatives
North Lanarkshire Leisure supports the learning and education of Trade Union Representatives. Thus, in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice, all union representatives will, where possible, be granted paid leave of absence to undergo industrial relations learning where this is:-
- a) relevant to the carrying out of Trade Union duties; and
- b) approved by the Trades Union Congress and Scottish Trades Union Congress or by the independent union of which he or she is an official.
Attendance at all courses must have prior approval from the relevant manager, on Form PS16 and a minimum of 14 days notice of intention to attend must be given.
Team members will be paid normal contractual payments which they would have received had they remained at work.
Paid or unpaid leave of absence may be granted to a Trade Union representative to allow him or her to attend learning that may be regarded as being of mutual benefit to North Lanarkshire Leisure as an Employer and to the trade union representative but which does not fall into the category outlined above.
In these circumstances application should be made to the Managing Director or nominated senior manager who, in conjunction with the Head of HR and Payroll, will decide whether to extend this facility and determine whether the leave will be with pay or without pay, based on whether it relates to trade union duties or activities.
Team members who are due to retire will be given the opportunity of attending a pre-retirement course. Time-off with pay will be granted for attendance at a recognised day-release course.
- Access to Learning Provision
Access to all learning and development events will, in the main, result from the outcome of a review of learning needs, conducted annually and contained within service learning and development plans. The identification of appropriate learning should have regard to suitable in-house learning delivery and the most cost-effective use of learning budgets.
Qualifications and Job Related Learning Courses
Attendance at a relevant part-time course of study, or short external course, seminar, or other similar job related training course may be approved by the Managing Director, or nominated senior manager, provided that:-
- the proposed course is relevant to the work of the section and the team members
- present post, or, where applicable, planned future position in the Company;
- appropriate budgetary provision has been made for the course.
Full Time Qualification Learning Courses
Application for such release resources, with or without pay, should be considered, following consultation with the Managing Director.
At all times, North Lanarkshire Leisure will facilitate the learning of those team members who occupy designated trainee posts, in accordance with the conditions of their contracts of employment.
Requests for attendance at events, conferences etc. which are held overseas will be subject to agreement by the Managing Director.
- Right to request “time to train”
In addition to the right of team members to request learning and Development, as set out in the company’s Learning & Development Policy, from 6 April 2010 team members have a statutory right to request time off for training under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009.
Team members do not have to use this right for every learning request. Requests for learning should be discussed with the line manager in the first instance. It is anticipated that this approach will resolve the majority of requests without the need for statutory requests.
To make a statutory request for “time to train” individuals must:
- Be a team member
- Have worked for the Company continuously for at least 26 weeks before the
application is submitted.
Team members can make only one statutory time to train request in a rolling twelve month period.
Formal “time to train” requests must be submitted in writing to the line manager. A sample letter is held in Appendix One.
Paying for the Learning
The Company is not obliged to meet the costs of the learning. When a request is discussed with the line manager, the team member should make it clear that they are also looking for the Company to provide financial support.
Time Periods for Consideration a “Time to Train” Request
Within 28 days of receiving a request, the line manager must either:
- Accept it and give their decision in writing.
- Arrange a meeting to discuss it and within 14 days of that meeting inform the
team member of their decision.
- If the person who would normally consider the request is not at work because of annual leave or illness, this time period is extended. The 28 days starts either on the day the person returns to work or 28 days after the request is received, if the person is still off work at that point.
Bringing a representative to the meeting
The team member is entitled to be accompanied at any meeting held to discuss the training request by a work colleague or trade union representative.
Making an Appeal
If a team member makes a request for learning under their legal right and the line manager refuses it, the employee is entitled to appeal this decision.
There is no restriction on the grounds on which to appeal a “time to train” decision. If a team member decides to appeal, it must be done within 14 days of the line manager’s decision and should be submitted to the line manager’s manager. The letter must be dated and set out why the team member is appealing the decision.
The manager considering the appeal must arrange a meeting to discuss the appeal within 14 days of the date of the team member sent the appeal letter.
Following the meeting, the manager must give their decision on the appeal in writing within 14 days.
If a team member is unhappy with the outcome of the appeal, the next step is to raise a grievance against the Company. This should be done in accordance with the Company’s Grievance Procedure.
Excess Travelling Expenses
North Lanarkshire Leisure will pay to team members, actual excess travelling expenses incurred in attending an authorised course. The excess expenses are defined as being the difference between the actual cost incurred in travelling from the team members home to the place of study and the normal cost of travel from home to place of work (one return journey), both journeys by public transport or, where appropriate under paragraph (b), by car.
Authorised car users, who are authorised to use their cars to attend Learning and Development courses, may claim actual excess expenses incurred, otherwise claims should be based on the cost of public transport rates.
Unsatisfactory attendance or where the team member did not sit the required examinations without a satisfactory explanation, will result in the non-payment, or recovery of expenses,
External Learning and Development Activities
(a) Course Fees - North Lanarkshire Leisure will pay in full the fee for an authorised external learning event.
(b)Travelling Resources, Personal Expenses and Subsistence Allowances.
Expenses incurred in attending an authorised course will be reimbursed in accordance with the Company’s Conditions of Service.
Where residential accommodation is required and the cost is not included as part of the course fee, North Lanarkshire Leisure will arrange payment in accordance with the Conditions of Service.
The cost of travelling home at week-ends will be met by North Lanarkshire Leisure where a residential course is of more than one week’s duration and where the week-end does not form part of the course.
Services should make any travel/accommodation arrangements, not included in the booking arrangement, through the Company’s recognised Travel Agents.
Professional and Vocational Learning
The conditions governing the granting of financial assistance and other resources are detailed below. These conditions do not apply to team members who have been granted full time release resources unless specified.
Course Fees and Examination Fees
- North Lanarkshire Leisure will pay in full the prescribed course fee/matriculation fee and examination fees for an authorised course of study leading to one of the qualifications recognised by the Company. This will not apply to subscriptions or any other fees payable to any professional body even when such a payment is a prerequisite to undertaking a course of study.
- Payment of fees will be made only in respect of a course of study undertaken while in the service of the Company. A team member joining the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure while attending a course of study for which the fees have been paid may be allowed to continue such studies but no reimbursement of paid fees will be made. A team member leaving the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure in the course of an authorised course of study will be required to reimburse any fees in accordance with the written undertaking. Payment of re-sit examination fees is the responsibility of the team member.
- Payment of fees is administered by the service concerned, within the
timescale detailed by the provider, utilising the relevant budget.
Prescribed Text Books and Thesis
(a) The onus is on the team member to access the use of text books and/or other training materials. Thus, for example, full use should be made of municipal and college libraries, professional institutes etc.
(b) Where a further qualification entails the production of a thesis, assistance will be given to the employee to produce the thesis in-house, where operational circumstances allow.
Reduction in Financial Assistance
Where a team member receives financial assistance towards the cost of a course from any other body, the assistance given by North Lanarkshire Leisure will be reduced according
Study for Examinations
Subject to operational conditions within the service, leave of absence with pay will be granted for the purpose of final revision prior to sitting a formal examination (not a class examination). The study leave permitted is:
1-2 exams 1 days paid study leave
3-4 exams 2 days paid study leave
5 exams or more 3 days paid study leave
To accommodate the finalising of essential assignments or portfolio building, provision of a ½ day paid leave will be granted for each 40 hour module or vocational qualification. Where appropriate, time and resources, for study during working hours should be made available, within the company, as an alternative, to granting leave of absence.
Leave for Examination
Leave of absence with pay will be granted to team members to enable them to sit authorised examinations during normal working hours.
Open University/Technical Summer School
Team members who are required to attend Summer School as part of an approved course of study will be granted paid leave of absence.
(a) The following conditions apply to employees who have been authorised to study for an approved course on a block/day/full-time paid release basis, by evening class, distance or open learning or undertaking a vocational qualification.
(b) All team members who have been granted resources for professional and vocational courses of study will be required to sign a Letter of Undertaking prior to commencing their studies. A copy of the signed undertaking will be given to the team member. Before signing the undertaking, the team member will be advised of the estimated cost of the proposed course of study and this cost would be included within the Letter of Undertaking.
(c) This undertaking will require the team member to agree to remain and continue in the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure for a period of 2 years, following the completion of the course. The team member will be required to repay to North Lanarkshire Leisure any financial assistance given. As detailed in recovery of learning expenses.
(a) and (b), during the study period or before the expiry of the 2 year period, should the employee:
(i) voluntarily leave the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure;
(ii) be dismissed from the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure for reasons of discipline or misconduct;
(iii) voluntarily terminate the studies before completing the course;
(iv) fail to make a satisfactory number of attendances while on the course;
(v) not attempt to complete the work of the course to a satisfactory standard;
(vi) fail to make satisfactory progress as determined by service provider in conjunction with employing department.
Recovery of Learning Expenses
(a) Except where an apprenticeship or trainee agreement and the contract of employment otherwise specify, the amount to be recovered, shall be the financial assistance paid by North Lanarkshire Leisure or such proportion thereof as may be determined by the company in connection with the course of studies, calculated to include:
(i) The course fees for the course of studies;
(ii) All examination fees;
(iii) Any grant made by North Lanarkshire Leisure towards the cost of preparing a Thesis;
(iv) Actual excess travelling expenses;
(v) Any other grant made by North Lanarkshire Leisure;
(vi) Any expenses incurred by North Lanarkshire Leisure in recovery of financial assistance.
- Team members who leave the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure undertake to refund all or part of the financial assistance given, on the following basis:-
The sum to be refunded will be reduced by 1/24th for each complete month from the date of completion of course until the date of resignation.
Attendance at Professional or Vocational Learning during a Public Holiday
If on a day which is designated a general or public holiday, a team member attends day release classes to which there is already a commitment, this will not be considered to be ‘work on a public holiday’ and consequently no enhanced payment will be made. However, the team member will be entitled to have a full day or half day, as appropriate, in lieu subject to the exigencies of the service.
- Monitoring of Learning
Suitable assessment procedures must be followed to monitor the effectiveness of learning so that appropriate changes can be made in the light of experience. Information about section learning activities is also required to provide an overview of the operation of the Policy and to allow reports on learning and development to be prepared. It is recognised that on the job learning and development will take a variety of forms and much of this will be out with structured learning forums. Structured learning will be recorded on the team members personal record. Managers will be responsible for maintaining these records.
Professional and Vocational Training
When a team member, who has been authorised to attend an approved course of studies, terminates the course or leaves the service of North Lanarkshire Leisure, managers will take any action that may be required to comply with the conditions of the Written Undertaking signed by the team member.
Managers, or nominated officers, will monitor individual progress on professional and vocational education courses. Where it is identified that team members may be abusing the resources granted to them under the policy, these cases should be investigated and appropriate action taken, which may include disciplinary action.
- Evaluation of Learning
Evaluation should be considered an integral part of any learning and development activity. Managers need to understand the importance of their role in pre- and –post-course activities.
The process of evaluation will require Managers, or nominated officers, to consider:
- Criteria for selected team members to attend job specific, professional and vocational learning courses;
- How team members are briefed by managers before attending a course of studies or a learning development event;
- Action taken by managers to debrief team members on their return to the workplace and advise of opportunities to apply knowledge gained; and
- The assessment of learning and development activities against specific objectives.
A team member may refer questions of interpretation or problems related to the provisions or to the application of this policy, in the first instance, to their immediate line manager. If this procedure fails to produce a satisfactory result to the team member concerned, recourse may then be made to Company’s Grievance Procedures.
- Review of Learning and Development Policy
The Learning and Development Manager will review the policy periodically in the light of organisational developments and future changes to the Company’s service and employee requirements. Any changes which may be required to the Policy will be introduced in accordance with the appropriate employee consultative procedures.
Appendix One – Sample Letter to Request “Time to Train”
Dear (manager’s name)
I would like to apply under section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996 for time to undertake study or training (time to train).
I would like to carry out a study or training on include detail on:
- the subject of the training or study you would like to do
- where and when the training or study would take place
- who will provide or supervise it (e.g. study at home, in a college etc)
- what qualifications (if any) it will lead to
I believe this training will make me more effective at work and improve my performance in the organisation because (include information about how the training will help make you better in your job, as well as how it will benefit your employer – your employer will assess your application based on business reasons for their company, so it is important that you include as much information and explanation as possible).
(include the statement below that applies to you and delete the rest)
- I will meet the cost of the training myself.
- I would like to discuss with you how to meet the training costs. (include any details you have about how much the training might cost and how you would like the costs to be met)
- The training is free of charge.
I have been an employee of the organisation for at least 26 weeks. I have not made a time to train request during the past 12 months.
Letter Reference: TD1