Also known as “formal training”, off-the-job training “takes place away from the job location” (Buckley and Caple, 1996). It can take effect at an agency, college or training centre, taught by lectures, workshops, and self-study; and governed internally, by the organisation, or externally, by specialised trainers. Off-the-job training includes methods such as: Simulations – using role play where the trainee can realistically exercise their skills (Barrett, 2003) i. e.when training a pilot, flight simulation equipment can be used to enable the trainee to understand situations safely;Secondment – where the trainee is given time off work to attend a course externally (Blacks Academy); Distance learning or evening classes; Self Study – in the trainees own time; revision courses – where leave is given to take courses before internal exams; and Sandwich Courses – where the trainee can enrol in a college course inclusive in employment.The knowledge and experience of a specialist trainer who explains points thoroughly would mean they are more likely to be better than a temporary trainer, able to work with large groups of people simultaneously.
Off-the-job training prevents the trainee from getting distracted by familiar colleagues, and helps them to focus on training rather than producing accurate results. Performing tasks such as practice presentations may also be easier in front of a stranger than in front of a supervisor, as there would be less pressure of having to practice skills perfectly for assessment.It “allows people to get away from work and totally concentrate on the training being given” (Answers. com).
It is very likely the trainee will receive a recognised “qualification or certificate” (Tutor2u) from an external training programme. This would be beneficial as the trainee can include this on their resume, for the future. Training outside the business may be essential for some organisations, especially if the trainee’s mistakes could slow down the working processes or cost large amounts of money. For example, if the trainee’s job is to cut diamonds, a small mistake could be disastrous (Naylor, 2002).Learning in an external environment would mean that the trainee could become familiar and comfortable with equipment and surroundings that they would not otherwise use. It might be difficult for the trainee to adapt so they would become prone to making errors when returning to the normal working environment (Glew et al, 2000).
All trainees taking part in the course will have varied levels of skills and knowledge. The group may therefore be “forced to progress at a compromised rate” (Rae, 2000). Although some trainees may be beginners, the course may begin at an intermediate level, resulting in some trainees being lost from the start.Likewise, if the course begins at an easy level, intermediate trainees may become disinterested and ‘switch off’ (Rae, 2000). Demotivation may also occur when parts of the training programme relate directly to some individuals job roles, and not to others, therefore being irrelevant to many trainees (Tutor2u). The cost of sending employees off to a training centre is very likely to exceed the cost of training them ‘in-house’. This includes testing the training for compatibility and successfulness (Naylor, 2002), and “transport, course, examination, materials, and accommodation fees” (Tutor2u).
“Externally run training schemes are normally used by smaller organisations” (Glew et al, 2000: 234), mostly for IT and the development of specialised skills, and on-the-job training schemes are normally used by larger firms, especially for selling, administration and manual work. This is because smaller organisations have less employees, so it is not necessary for them to invest in “training facilities and full-time instructors” (Glew et al, 2000: 234), so all organisations have different needs and purposes so a training method that may be most appropriate for one organisation may not be appropriate for another.It is therefore impossible to choose which method of training is better – on-the-job or off-the-job. Pros of on-the-job training include: the time and cost effectiveness of it; the flexibility of training at the individuals speed according to their ability; improving social networks; and the comfort of working in a familiar environment. However, an inexperienced trainer within the organisation may have other deadlines to meet apart from training another employee, which may result in false information being taught.
A novice trainee may also delay production as they are still at the learning stage, so will not be as efficient as other workers. Off-the-job training also has its advantages of individuals specialised in training, providing recognised qualifications. Training externally will also help the trainee to build contacts for the future, especially without distraction from known colleagues, and pressure to produce exceptional results from supervisors etc.
As equipment is more likely to be artificial, mistakes are less likely to cost as much as they would using the real materials. Similarly to on-the-job training, off-the-job training also has its cons: the trainee would find it difficult to adapt to real life working situations after working in a false atmosphere; individual differences could get in the way of learning at the trainees chosen pace; and it would cost more for the organisation to send an employee off to a course.