A training and development officer/manager handles the learning and professional development of an organisation's workforce. They can also be known as learning and development officers.

Trainers equip staff with the knowledge, practical skills and motivation to carry out work-related tasks. Training officers either deliver the training themselves or arrange for a third party trainer to do it.

Training and development officers help with the ongoing, long-term improvement of employees' skills, enabling them to fulfil their potential within their organisation. Increasingly, training and development officers are required to be strategic rather than reactive, assessing the skills and knowledge within an organisation and determining what training is needed to grow and retain these skills.

Responsibilities

The nature of the training and development role is industry-specific, with the level of responsibility and variety of activities dependent on the type and size of organisation. However, activities are likely to include some or all of the following:

  • identifying training and development needs within an organisation through job analysis, appraisal schemes and regular consultation with business managers and human resources departments;
  • designing and expanding training and development programmes based on the needs of the organisation and the individual;
  • working in a team to produce programmes that are satisfactory to all relevant parties in an organisation, such as line managers, accountants and senior managers at board level;
  • considering the costs of planned programmes and keeping within budgets as assessing the return on investment of any training or development programme is becoming increasingly important;
  • developing effective induction programmes;
  • conducting appraisals;
  • devising individual learning plans;
  • producing training materials for in-house courses;
  • managing the delivery of training and development programmes and, in a more senior role, devising a training strategy for the organisation;
  • monitoring and reviewing the progress of trainees through questionnaires and discussions with managers;
  • ensuring that statutory training requirements are met;
  • evaluating training and development programmes;
  • amending and revising programmes as necessary, in order to adapt to changes occurring in the work environment;
  • helping line managers and trainers solve specific training problems, either on a one-to-one basis or in groups;
  • keeping up to date with developments in training by reading relevant journals, going to meetings and attending relevant courses;
  • having an understanding of e-learning techniques, and where relevant, being involved in the creation and/or delivery of e-learning packages;
  • researching new technologies and methodologies in workplace learning and presenting this research.

Salary

  • Starting salaries typically range from £22,000 to £30,000 a year.
  • Training and development officers with a few years' experience can expect to earn between £25,000 and £40,000.
  • Salaries at senior training/development manager level are in the range of £40,000 to £65,000.

Salaries in training vary widely depending on which sector you are working in, the size and location of the organisation, and the level of responsibility you have. Once you are established, there are good prospects for high salaries. Many organisations might be looking for individuals with Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications, which can help you to command a higher salary.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Training and development work is typically a 9am to 5pm job, with some extra hours as necessary. If you're training staff who work shifts, you may need to fit in with their shift patterns. Part-time work is possible.

What to expect

  • Work is generally office based with the exception of training delivery, which can take place on or off the premises and at various locations throughout the country.
  • Increasingly, self-employment as a trainer is a viable option as training departments often bring in specific expertise as required. Before becoming freelance, it's useful to build up experience and get to know your market. Career breaks can be agreed with your employer.
  • Opportunities exist throughout the UK.
  • The balance of both genders in this field is good and employers implement diversity and equality initiatives to ensure that both genders are equally represented.
  • Personal presentation is important in this area of work, and dress codes vary among workplaces. Working to deadlines may be a regular feature. You will normally be based in your company's office so there's not much disruption to your personal life.
  • Travel during the day is likely in order to deliver training sessions, either locally or further afield, and may include absence from home overnight. You may also need to travel to multiple sites.

Qualifications

This area of work is open to all graduates of degrees and HNDs but the following subjects may be particularly helpful:

  • business and related areas;
  • psychology;
  • human resources;
  • IT.

Business-related or psychology degrees may gain some exemptions from examinations from the CIPD and will aid entry to specialised graduate schemes.

Entry into training and development is possible without a degree, particularly if relevant experience and skills have been attained.

Although a postgraduate qualification is not necessary, a Masters degree or diploma recognised by the CIPD will improve your chances of entry.

Specialisation in training and development often follows general personnel experience, and new graduates aren't always recruited straight into a training role. It's fairly common to work your way up from roles such as assistant training officer or administration assistant.

Skills

You will need to have:

  • interpersonal skills that enable you to work with people at all levels, motivate others and change people's attitudes when necessary;
  • written and spoken communication skills that allow you to inform and advise others clearly;
  • problem-solving and negotiation skills;
  • initiative and the ability to offer new ideas;
  • organisational and planning skills to manage your time and to meet deadlines and objectives;
  • good time-keeping skills to enable you to effectively manage training schedules;
  • personal commitment to improving your own knowledge and skills.

Work experience

Experience gained through activities requiring leadership and motivational abilities may boost your application. While still at university, consider getting involved in societies that enable you to develop organisational and teamwork skills.

Competition among graduates is increasing so those with good business/organisational skills could look for jobs in training administration as an alternative starting point, and then progress into a training and development role.

If you're unable to find a paid summer placement to gain relevant work experience, try approaching employers about shadowing. Since this is unpaid and does not require specific training time they may be more willing to agree to it.

Another alternative is carrying out some voluntary work though it may be difficult to find relevant opportunities.

Employers

There are opportunities for training and development officers/managers in a wide range of private and public employment sectors, as well as in organisations of all sizes. These include:

  • retail companies;
  • leisure organisations;
  • commercial firms;
  • manufacturing organisations;
  • central and local government;
  • the health service;
  • law firms;
  • financial institutions;
  • educational institutions.

Opportunities also exist in commercial training organisations, like information technology training providers and personal development training organisations.

The job varies from organisation to organisation. In some large retail organisations or training consultancies you could be working in a large team of training professionals and be responsible for a team of trainers.

In smaller organisations, you might combine the training role with personnel functions and deliver more of the training courses.

Look for job vacancies at:

Specialist recruitment agencies advertise in these publications.

It is also worth writing speculatively to training departments and organisations. You'll find details on Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Get more tips on how to find a job, create a successful CV and cover letter, and prepare for interviews.

Professional development

Often valued by employers, but not essential, is membership of the CIPD.

They range from Level 3 Foundation through Level 5 Intermediate to Level 7 Advanced:

  • The CIPD's Level 3 Certificate in Learning and Development Practice (CLDP) is a widely recognised qualification for both those who are beginning their career in training, and current and aspiring trainers. It is a relatively recent qualification and replaces the previous CIPD Certificate in Training Practice (CTP). It is a highly practical and in-depth course that covers the fundamentals of learning and development.
  • The CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Development is an advanced course at postgraduate level suitable for people who already hold positions of responsibility within an HR environment. The course looks in detail at learning and development management and business leadership all from an HR perspective.

CIPD qualifications are available at centres throughout the UK and can be studied part time, by block release or through open and e-learning. Employers often finance study for CIPD qualifications.

The CIPD runs other relevant courses, such as the Certificate in Organisational Coach-mentoring, which aims to improve coaching capabilities within organisations. This is delivered using a mixture of practical experience and distance and online learning. The course is taken at a pace that suits the student.

Short courses and seminars on specific topics are also available with the CIPD. They're designed to fill any gaps in your knowledge and to update you on changes in training and development, see CIPD Training.

You are expected to keep up to date with developments in the industry throughout your career and to network with fellow professionals. Opportunities for this exist via the CIPD annual conference and exhibition, and through reading relevant books, reports, journals and magazines (the CIPD has a wide range of material available to members on its website).

Career prospects

To become a training and development officer, you often need to have gained three or four years' experience in a related role such as assistant training officer or training administrator.

From here, you can progress to higher levels which, depending on the size of the organisation, could include:

  • adviser/team leader/junior management;
  • middle management/partner/head of department;
  • senior management.

To reach the highest levels, you need to show great personal achievements within the field of training and development. It may be necessary to move from small organisations to larger ones in order to progress. Proven career management skills may be necessary to take advantage of opportunities.

Another option is to move into related work such as personnel, human resources or general management. With experience, it's also possible to become a lecturer in a college or university.

You may decide to set up your own business as a self-employed consultant/adviser.

As your career develops, you can upgrade your Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) membership. For example, if you're a graduate member, you may upgrade to Chartered Member once you can demonstrate you have relevant management experience.

Your own personal development is essential to progression. Documenting any continuing professional development (CPD) you undertake, be it through attending conferences, doing short courses or adding to qualifications, is important.