HR departments grapple with backlog in key training caused by COVID delays

Restrictions on social interaction imposed because of COVID-19 have created a significant backlog of important training within many organisations – much of which is legally required within a certain timescale and thus must now be completed quickly.

That is according to Call of the Wild, a training company in South Wales, which is reporting a flood of inquiries and bookings for training from companies trying to catchup on necessary training and use budgets before the end of the financial year in March.

Training courses relating to things like first aid and health & safety often must be completed on an annual basis for individuals to retain their qualifications and be able to practice. This is often not only a legal obligation but can also be a requirement of insurance policies, which could be rendered invalid if the credentials of key individuals have lapsed.

The disruption of the pandemic has led to many courses being cancelled in the past 12 months, leaving HR departments scrambling to catch up. On top of this, many departments will be keen to spend allocated budget before the end of the financial year to avoid losing it for the next period.

Fran Burrows, training managing at Call of the Wild, said that the company has seen an uptick in inquiries and bookings in the past month, very much driven by these two dynamics.

Burrows said:

“There is a major backlog of training, some of which is business critical, and a tsunami of training is now required to catch up. Things like compliance, first aid and health and safety are not things that can be delayed – they are often legally required for businesses to complete, and managers will have a legal obligation to make that happen.

“It has been tough for businesses with people on furlough or working from home, a lot of the usual training was initially delayed. But as we move through the 12 months since the first lockdown, this is becoming a major problem for companies. They need to get it done – plus with the end of the financial year approaching, HR department will want clarity on budget spend.

“The good news is that many training providers have pivoted to offer courses digitally, which means they can be done in a much more time efficient manner. Many more individuals can participate in a virtual, online, training course and it can also be done faster. But these are important legal obligations that companies and their managers need to get a grip on now.”