On-the-job training

Employees can learn on-the-job in many ways, from apprenticeships to coaching and shadowing. The best approach depends on the person, their job and their career development.

Part of almost every job is learning while you are on-the-job. Some employees:

  • start work with knowledge but may need to learn how to apply it
  • start an apprenticeship and learn everything on-the-job
  • come into a job and need to learn the processes and systems of the organisation.

Employees need to keep learning while they work, to grow their skills and adapt to a changing environment.

The work environment requires everyone to learn and grow to keep pace with technology and other changes. To keep employees working ‘at the top of their game’ employers need to work with them to make sure that they get the training, development and support that is needed.

There are a variety of ways that employees might learn on-the-job. The employer can support this or employees can directly access the information.

70-20-10 development rule

Some people think that unless they go on courses they’re not getting any development at work, however there are a range of different development options.

The 70-20-10 rule is helpful for development conversations between employers and employees. Training and development requirements vary from workplace to workplace, but this rule is pretty consistent in providing good development outcomes:

  • Seventy percent from on-the-job-related experiences - new experiences and challenges in day-to-day tasks builds learning and development through practice
  • Twenty percent from learning and developing through others from feedback , coaching, observing others, personal networks and other collaborative and co-operative actions, and
  • Ten percent from structured development which can be external or internal, such as training courses, programmes, further education, conferences and symposiums. 

Health and safety for people on work experience or on-the-job training

Everyone in a workplace is entitled to a working environment (external link) where the risks to their health and safety are properly controlled.

Any person gaining work experience or job training must be treated as if they were employees by the person who has agreed to provide the work experience or job training. This means that the employer must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure their health and safety, and provide a safe working environment.

An employer must make sure as far as possible that all employees who do any kind of work, use tools or machinery or deal with risky substances must have the knowledge and the experience to do the work safely or be properly supervised by someone with the knowledge and experience. The employer must also make sure that all employees are trained to work safely and be provided with all the personal protective equipment needed to be safe.

The WorkSafe website (external link) has more information.

Training, development and coaching

A mix of training, development and coaching is the most effective way to grow employee performance.

Education and training for trades

Most education and training for trades usually incorporates a lot of on-the-job training which will help the employee develop the use of their skills.

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