Kavanagh agrees that training can be an incentive and most people in IT consider it important to maintain their marketability. However, he does not think that in itself it is critical to staff satisfaction or is a major attraction when recruiting people.
Under its outsourcing arrangement, Kavanagh expects CSC to maintain its own staff's skill sets and identify what training they require in order to provide the service Water Corporation requires, as well as to anticipate what is down the track and inform the organisation what the implications are. CSC's staff development, as regards Water Corporation's needs and projects, form one line item in the annual budgeting process between the two organisations, he says.
As regards contractors, Kavanagh also expects any contractors to be primarily responsible for their own training. However, if they were at Water Corporation for any length of time, he would expose them to generic training, such as the organisation's methodologies and other things they need to know in order to be able to work effectively in its space.
Kavanagh does not undertake much formal training himself, and none of it technical, and finds that industry briefings, research papers and magazine articles are adequate for his needs.
Formal and Structured Training
Accenture has historically taken a very formal and structured approach to training its people. Accenture's IT director, Geoff Hunter, is responsible for the company's internal IT needs across the Asia-Pacific region and says there are two angles that drive the training of his staff. First, there are the "hard" technical skills his people require to meet the needs of the organisation and where it is going in terms of its technology road map. Second, Accenture is a very position-based organisation, Hunter says. For every role in his department, including his own, there are formal requirements and a job description that includes an expectation of either current skills or skills to be acquired - both technical and "soft" skills such as management or report writing. In conjunction with this, as part of everyone's annual career assessment, a training plan for the following year is drawn up to address these skill requirements.
As part of his own such plan, Hunter says he is doing a lot of training around business transformational outsourcing and better use of IT as a business resource. As a result of Accenture having changed from a partnership to a company he is also undertaking a part-time (one night a week for three months) company director's course. And having a regional role, he recently attended a two-day in-house diversity training course to understand more about the cultures he deals with across the Asia-Pacific region.
According to Hunter, he works with Accenture's human resources department in formulating his budget for position-based training. HR then sets a framework, which he says he generally sticks to.
"We have a rough allocation of X dollars per person [for training], which varies each year, and for a person in finance may be different to IT or wherever. We won't necessarily spend that amount on each individual, though. One person's training needs may be met through internal training courses at no cost, whereas someone else may need to develop a skill that requires an airfare to the US, for example," Hunter says.
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