A skilled and appropriately trained workforce is essential to organisational performance. Consequently, it is in the interests of organisations to ensure that employees have opportunities for training and development. Such opportunities will aid recruitment, retention and succession planning.

It is also in your interest as an employee to ensure that your skills and knowledge are as up to date as possible. This will not only help you to perform your job better, but will also increase your employability during uncertain times.

In recent years, government has promoted the notion of lifelong learning: individuals are encouraged to accept that learning does not stop when we leave formal education, but actually continues throughout life. Individuals working in organisations with 250 employees or more have had the statutory right to request time off for study or training. They can make a request if they have worked for the employer continuously for six months and are over 18 (16- to 18-year-olds have a separate right to time off for study or training).

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.

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