The role of training and development in career progression
A Marks and Spencer case study

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Page 4: Training and development

Areas hilghighted in a review

All managers at Marks & Spencer are able to create a career planning profile. This enables them to focus on their next target role. They can then develop a career path to support this ambition. Staff identify specific training needs based upon the technical skills and business competencies for that role. The profile also highlights what programmes of training Marks & Spencer needs to plan for. There are two forms of training:

  • On-the-job training. This takes place while employees are carrying out an activity in their place of work.
  • Off-the-job training, as its names suggests, takes place away from the workplace.

On-the-job training

On-the-job training might include having an attachment to a section manager responsible for inspiring and motivating a team. An employee gets to see first-hand what it would be like to work in that role. On-the-job training also involves practical learning. This could mean being involved in a range of projects to improve technical skills and business competencies. The key to this training is to get Marks & Spencer employees 'to enjoy their work and feel they have all the skills they need to do their job to the best of their ability'.


An important way of increasing skills is performance coaching. This is a form of coaching by line managers. They review a person's performance and give feedback on their strengths and any development needs. Together, they agree how to improve and identify the opportunities to demonstrate these skills in their own jobs. The coaching gives the trainees confidence and is a successful element of the training programme.

An important way of increasing skills is performance coaching.

Off-the-job training

Marks & Spencer uses a range of different methods to help its employees with off-the-job training. For example, within the organisation there is an intranet. Staff can find learning materials on this that enable them to develop their technical skills and business competencies. Other resources for training and learning include workbooks that are used by staff, often for open learning. Workshops and other more formal activities provide opportunities for employees to practice their skills with the opportunity for feedback from other staff.

Marks and Spencer | The role of training and development in career progression