To progress in my grade I need competency-based training. Why isn't my employer providing me with it?

Some employers require employees to be able to meet certain minimum requirements in terms of skills or competencies before they can be considered for promotion. Such employers will normally have developed a competency framework that will outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours applicable to each level or grade in the organisation.

If it is usual for your employer to sponsor employees to undertake courses, programmes or assessments, either in work or by attending local colleges, and you believe you are being overlooked, you should bring this to the attention of your employer, displaying your willingness to undergo the relevant development.

However, there may be legitimate reasons for the delay, such as:

  • a lack of awareness that you wish to be developed;
  • heavy workload at this time;
  • too many people needing development at this time;
  • insufficient funds to enable the development to take place; and
  • a lack of appreciation by your employer of funding opportunities for development which might be available via the Skills Funding Agency.

These issues should be explored with your employer to understand the reasons for the delay. If your employer cannot provide a reasonable explanation, you may wish to pursue this through your organisation's grievance procedure.

Some employers do not sponsor their employees for competency-based training and this might be the reason why nothing seems to be happening. Your own development might be up to you.

If the competencies required are not organisation-specific, but relate to one of the nationally recognised competence frameworks, such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), you might think about registering on an appropriate programme yourself.

Contact your local college, the Skills Funding Agency or Learndirect. All of them should be able to advise you on learning opportunities and funding arrangements in your locality. You can also search suitable courses using the National Careers Service website.

The TUC's learning arm, Unionlearn, provides important resources for union members, including courses on maths, English and ICT. You can browse the list of Unionlearn courses here. If you are not yet a member of a trade union, browse our Union Finder tool for the trade union that best matches your needs.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.