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Training and Development
Training is absolutely vital to ensure that staff develop and remain up to date with the latest initiatives. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmaceutical companies have responded to the need for greater knowledge and understanding in their workforces by developing training programmes. In the old days training was looked upon as something which involved the company in costs but produced little return. Now the attitude is very different.

Training is seen as an investment which has close links to overall business objectives; they believe that developing human resources is a strong factor for competitiveness in the future and also has links to:
  • The value added in medicines that comes from people's ideas and creativity
  • The importance of high quality and good research which in turn depends on how people perform
  • Technology is constantly changing and pharmaceutical companies have to respond
Different companies approach training programmes in different ways. Here are a few examples:

A range of training and development methods may be employed. For employees new to a company this may include a site induction and participation in a programme providing an induction to the company as a whole. A range of other methods may be used including mentoring, coaching, training courses (in-house and external), workshops, on-the-job training, attendance at conferences and meetings, e-learning and apprenticeships.

A learning centre provides a variety of resources for both general interest and work related issues. There are advantages in offering learning outside the workplace. It means that employees get a flavour for learning something new which motivates them and it creates a "Learning Organisation" which:
  • can anticipate problems which could occur
  • considers the external environment
  • continuously improves
  • rewards creativity and initiative
Specially developed training programmes are also used to both develop and appraise employees, such as The Caps Programme. In this programme both managers and employees pursue mutually agreed goals and objectives which are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bounded) and linked to an action plan. The Caps Programme also brings the employee and supervisor together to talk about how they can improve their co-operation, communication and teamwork at the workplace.
When a range of training and development methods are offered the method chosen depends on an employee's individual development needs and the desired outcome. For instance, if an employee needs to learn how to use a particular piece of equipment, then the employee will need to be shown how to use the equipment and will need to practise using it. If a researcher needs to update their knowledge about a particular area of science, it may be appropriate for them to attend a scientific conference on developments in their particular field. If an employee needs to learn how to use a particular computer package, then using an e-learning programme will be appropriate.

A Learning Centre can use a range of multimedia training packages. These improve individual work performance and also monitor and record progress. Taking vocational qualifications helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the training and provides extra motivation. They also provide national standards of assessing the employee's understanding of the job and discovering any further training needs.

Specially developed training programmes such as The Caps Programme is run in conjunction with a local University. It offers employees the opportunity to achieve external qualifications through the University. It furthermore offers people working in the company the chance to drive their own development. They gather the skills they need to perform effectively and achieve the career they want. The Caps Programme provides the company with a number of benefits:
  • performance is benchmarked against best practice and the latest academic standards (meaning that the company can judge how it is performing against the best of the competition)
  • new skills and capabilities are in place to meet the future needs of the business
  • there is an increased drive to promote growth and improvement across the organisation
Training and development are agreed jointly between the employee and their line manager. Requirements can be discussed at various times. For instance: when an employee joins; when an employee moves to another position; during the annual review discussions; and on an ad-hoc basis during the year as needs arise.

Some training will be organised automatically, such as the induction programmes, and ICT Training, so that the employee is equipped with the minimum knowledge and skills to undertake their job, and to do so safely when they first start. Other training opportunities may be suggested by the line manager or the employee themselves with the advice of the human resources department.