What will be the impact of Brexit on the training industry?


Most people would agree right now that this qualifies as a genuine ‘sixty four thousand Dollar question’ for the training industry. So what is the answer…?


Well let’s face it, as the ink is barely dry on Article 50, the fact is that there appears to be little doubt that no one really knows for sure. There is plenty of speculation about the impact in general of course but just as no one saw Brexit coming, or indeed a Trump Presidency, speculation is all it really amounts to. It seems we can all agree on one thing though, which is that an air of uncertainty prevails and times of uncertainty calls for clear thinking and cool heads.


Every day it seems that we are subjected to political and social commentators on discussion based radio programmes who are keen to point out the seemingly inevitable effects of Brexit on many areas of our lives; and invariably with diametrically opposed views. This constant procession of people called upon to examine the Brexit aftermath and speculate on the potential consequences that triggering Article 50 will have has yielded very little of any substance, apart from some forthright opinions. All of which shouldn’t be that surprising considering we have never been in this position before, so it’s hard to see how anyone can state for sure what will really happen with any degree of certainty.


If history has taught us anything then it is surely to hope for the best but plan for the worst? Especially when faced with uncertainty and the prospect of navigating uncharted territory. If no one really knows for sure the consequences of Brexit on businesses and specifically the training industry, then that particular map remains uncharted and surely this presents us with a real opportunity to shape and create our own future. There will be things that are out of our control for sure, but there will also be a great deal that we can influence.


So what are we to do…? What we say in our communication with staff is vital to counteract any fears that may surface. Also how we communicate, who with and how often are all areas to consider when deciding on future planning. Who and how we recruit is paramount, as is having a succession plan and a clear strategy on employee engagement to ensure confidence remains high and we retain our people.


Training and coaching our staff should remain a priority. If our senior managers and line managers are skilled, knowledgeable and confident it spreads throughout the organisation. It gives us the confidence in our people that allows us to explore developing markets and new opportunities. It encourages creative thinking amongst staff and a ‘can do’ attitude.


If we are to focus on anything then surely it is best to concern ourselves with what we do know and what we can do. This will help us to develop a competitive edge and prepare us thoroughly for what may lay ahead. Until negotiations are well and truly under way with EU representatives and the wider world, which will give us a clearer picture of how the political landscape is shaping up for the UK, we must plan and prepare thoroughly with a view to taking advantage of every opportunity.


It’s true that uncertainty breeds nervousness and when we are nervous in business we proceed with great caution displaying a tendency to batten down the hatches. There’s little doubt that training suffers much like the hospitality and advertising industries do in those circumstances. The result of any economic downturn invariably has the same result for most industries where what we have to offer, in some quarters at least, is considered discretionary rather than a necessity.


That said, as an industry we know that, much like the need for Undertakers, training in skills and imparting knowledge will always exist in one form or another. So we have to go forward in a way that helps us to embrace the future, chart our own path and take full advantage of what should be viewed as an opportunity to build for success.


Whether we like it or not, Brexit is happening and although the ensuing climate post Article 50 may ultimately prove to be somewhat turbulent – the opposite may happen of course. My belief is that training will continue to be at the forefront of the smart thinker’s agenda. Just as it always has been during previous times of uncertainty. Those smart thinkers used that time as a period in which they geared themselves up for the inevitable upturn that simply always follows any form of downturn. Those smart thinkers continued to train their people, investing in them and keeping staff as motivated as humanly possible ensuring that they stayed at the forefront of commercial developments whilst eking out every opportunity. As ever, our attitude towards any circumstance we face is definitely something that we can control.


Keeping your people well trained, up to date and confident in their ability to go forward with determination is without a doubt the only way to prepare them for what may or may not lie ahead. In short – keep educating, training and communicating frequently with your people and employing innovative ways of engaging them to succeed. This will help them to remain confident and motivated going forward.


Talk to us on 0333 5777 144 about how we can help you to prepare your managers and leaders to cope more confidently in times of uncertainty by providing them with the right kind of skills that breed confidence, adaptability and an attitude that develops resilience and a fortitude which will increase their chances of success.


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