An evaluation framework for training: a case study in the northeast of Scotland

Mohamed S. Abdel-Wahab, David R. Moore, David Gibbons-Woods, Gemma Kearny, Tracy Pirie

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The promotion of the value of training amongst SMEs is a challenging task. The cost associated with training as well as the time taken-out for attending courses are often seen as key barriers for SMEs participation in training. In 2008, the European Social Fund (ESF) provided training grants for SMEs, regardless of their type of activity, in Aberdeenshire to promote participation in training. The training grants are used to develop and deliver a series of short training courses that are aimed at addressing SMEs training needs. This paper sets out an evaluation framework for the training offered (as a result of the grants) in light of the Return-On-Investment (ROI) methodology. The evaluation of training will address levels 1 and 2 out of the five levels in the ROI methodology, namely: perceived value of the course and learning achieved as a result of attending the course. A questionnaire was designed and tested in order to collect data at levels 1 and 2. However, it is envisaged that evaluation at levels 3-5 (results in terms of business performance and ROI) will require the tracking of participants through a 'unique identifier' in order to establish the actual contribution of the training courses to a business. It is argued that the adoption of a structured approach for the evaluation of training, namely ROI methodology, is paramount if SMEs are to conceive the impact of training. It is concluded that for SMEs to participate in training, there should be a focus on providing evidence on its potential value and relevance to their business activity. Until this happens, the traditionally low level of participation in training by SMEs will continue, irrespective of it being offered for free through training grants.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event25th Annual ARCOM Conference - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sep 20099 Sep 2009


Conference25th Annual ARCOM Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • case study
  • evaluation
  • ROI methodology
  • training grants


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