Training and development can result in many benefits for organisations and their workers. The Forestry Commission is a government department which is responsible for protecting and expanding Britain's forests and woodlands. With over 3,000 employees in a range of jobs, from engineers to education rangers, training is central to the organisation's ability to achieve its aims. The Forestry Commission invests in both on-the-job and off-the-job training for its workers to allow them the opportunity to improve their skills for their current roles and to prepare for career development.

On Thursday (12/11/09) the government announced that all new nurses will need to be educated to degree level from 2013. The Health Minister, Ann Keen, commented that providing training to this level would give nurses the skills required to make high-level clinical judgements and provide a higher quality of patient care. The government is recognising the importance of training although questions have been raised as to whether it is actually necessary for all nurses to have a degree. Currently there are over 400,000 nurses in the NHS and they must have the minimum of a diploma. Over a quarter of these have already reached degree level even though it is not a pre-requisite for the job at the moment. There are further opportunities for training when in post. (The Times 12th November 2009)

The Forestry Commission employs different training methods depending upon the job role and needs of the worker. The appraisal process then identifies areas where employees would like further development so appropriate training can be designed for them. This might be in the form of a degree but might equally be on-the-job training with a more experienced member of staff.


  1. List the three main methods of on-the-job training 
  2. Analyse the benefits of training
  3. To what extent is on-the-job training preferable to off-the-job training for organisations like the Forestry Commission?

Answers to questions

1. List the three main methods of on-the-job training

  • Observation 
  • Coaching 
  • Mentoring

2. Analyse the benefits of training

  • Workers are more efficient and productive 
  • Higher quality 
  • Less waste 
  • Motivational 
  • Can prepare career progression allowing for internal promotion 
  • Can provide competitive advantage 
  • May result in a more flexible workforce 
  • Lower labour turnover

3. To what extent is on-the-job training preferable to off-the-job training for organisations like the Forestry Commission?

On the one hand:

  • On-the-job training is usually cheaper than off-the-job training 
  • Better transfer of learning than off-the-job 
  • Training is relevant to the workers actual job 
  • Employees are working while learning


  • On-the-job training is often not provided by experienced trainers 
  • Bad habits can be passed on from fellow workers 
  • Trainees can be distracted by what is happening in the workplace 
  • Not enough time may be given to train effectively

It depends on…

  • the type and level of job 
  • the skills of the trainers 
  • whether a formal qualification is required e.g. to become a Chartered Engineer within the Forestry Commission