In the foreword to Brinkerhoff and Apking’s High Impact Training (2001), Professor Dale M Brethower identified the total US spend on education, “from kindergarten through graduate school” at $230 billion, and estimated that employers pass on to consumers at least $300 billion in spend on training and development. Professor Brethower offered these stats to pose the questions of whether US citizens were getting value for this investment, and whether greater value could be gained.
This got me interested in identifying the comparable stats for the UK, and this useful Parliamentary Briefing provides them.
Current UK public expenditure on education is around the £90 billion mark. If Prof Brethower’s estimates hold true for the UK too, then corporate training spend will be an even greater amount, and the total UK spend on learning and development will amount to around £200 billion.
That’s not just a lot of money, it’s about 10% of our Gross Domestic Product (the graph above only shows spend in formal education).
It reaffirms my belief that not enough attention is being paid to the value we get from learning and development, and greater resources should be committed to ensuring that is the case.