Training programmes offer many advantages to employees. You can improve your skills or acquire new ones, move up the ranks and benefit from various career development opportunities within your company, or become a more interesting candidate on the job market. Let’s take a look at the situation in company training in Belgium.
Current situation in Belgium
Europe seeks to promote lifelong learning and ongoing training in order to guarantee job security and career development. As a company, you can organise training either by department or for the entire company. It can be carried out as part of a collective labour agreement, or through the creation of an individual training account. Alternatively, employees are entitled to two training days a year.
According to the various European research organisations, Belgium comes top out of all the countries which offer training programmes. The exact score varies across studies, but Belgium comes in either above the European average or within the average range. The CVTS (Continuing Vocational Training Survey), a European research body, found that more than 52% of employees in Belgium have received formal training.
What kinds of training are available in Belgium?
- Training programmes offering the chance to add a “new string to your bow”, relating to language-learning, management, IT, secretarial training…
- Training concerning aspects of personal development, for example public speaking, stress management…
- Skills training where you can learn new skills and trades.
In Belgium, the most in-demand forms of training are:
- Programmes focusing on personal development
- Programmes centred on learning foreign languages
Advantages of training
Training offers employees numerous advantages. It enables them to develop new skills so they can rise through the ranks towards a position they wish to reach, or to initiate a career change.
Through training, employees can:
- Improve their skills
- Secure a promotion
- Obtain a higher salary
- Change career
- Sell themselves better to another company
- Receive a certification
- Formalise their experience by receiving a diploma
Training enables employers to offer qualified positions to people they already know and have already worked with and can therefore trust. As a result, training and recruitment can both be conducted internally, thus establishing a long and productive employer/employee relationship.
What’s the training situation in Belgian companies?
According to a study conducted by Kluwer Formations, the budget allocated to training by Belgian companies rarely exceeds 1% of the total payroll. While 35% of human resources managers stated that their payroll had increased, just 26% said that they had increased the budget set aside for training as a result.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and big companies with over 200 members of staff have been found to be the least generous with their training budget.
So does that make Belgium the naughty student of Europe? Well, not according to the studies mentioned previously: the CVTS found that 52% of employees in Belgium had undergone formal training.
Choosing which training programme is for you
Here are 10 tips to help you find the right training for you:
- Consider your professional ambitions and goals before choosing a training programme.
- Take stock of your skills: those you already possess and those you need to improve or acquire.
- Ask yourself the right questions about the training programme.
- Find out the requirements for completing the training (an existing qualification, written tests, oral examination...).
- Find out how the training will be conducted: is it a sandwich course, or all theory-based?
- Look into the duration of the training.
- Research the training organisation. Are they trustworthy (partners, annual account…)?
- FInd out what you will receive on completing the training (diploma, certification, training certificate…).
- Establish whether the training is recognised by the State.
- Consider the compatibility of the training programme with the current job market. Does it offer a path into careers which are currently recruiting?
Why is this so important?
It’s crucial to choose the right training programme for you. If you go for the wrong one, you may not be able to secure the position you dream of, and may also risk wasting time and money. But the right training course will enable you to become a more interesting candidate on the job market.
Many people have secured a promotion or the position they wanted after completing a training course. Others have succeeded in getting a job.
You can get help from a coach to steer you towards the right form of training or retraining for you.
Languages create opportunities
Speaking several languages is a huge advantage in a world that’s becoming ever more connected and open with other countries. Markets are in constant communication with the other side of the world, so the ability to speak the language of one’s contacts and partners is now a vital requirement. Being able to speak different languages is therefore a significant asset on the job market and can set you apart from others, meaning you will find it easier to get jobs. There are various training courses offering employees the chance to learn new languages in a short space of time.
In Belgium, in a number of growing sectors, it’s now vital to be able to speak French and/or Dutch and English. Otherwise, you’ve got as much chance of becoming employed in these areas as you do of winning the lottery.
Convince your boss to invest in you
Before asking your employer for permission to start a training course, you need to prepare some arguments in your favour. Training is not free, so you’ll have to convince the company that it will benefit them too.
- Familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of the training you wish to undertake
- Prepare an argument about what the training will bring you and what you will be able to contribute to the company in return
- Prepare a draft of your request
- Get your timing right
Find a company willing to invest in you
If your employer is not willing to invest in you, you can always find a company that is prepared to do so.
- Take stock of your career
- Choose a career that appeals to you
- Work out which skills you’ll need to succeed and which training programmes will help you
Get assistance from a coach
You can also get assistance from a coach to guide you towards the organisations and training programmes that are best suited to your career ambitions.
A professional coach will help you make the right choices and meet the right people, and will support you at every step of the way during your career change process or while looking for a job.