Did you know that half of an employee's skills are outdated within three to five years? Did you also know that training is a key motivator for employees and that employees who engage in training and development report increased job satisfaction and morale?

In order to have a business that is fully functional and productive, it is imperative that you train and develop your employees.

This section provides tools, tips and guides to help you focus on employee training and development. This includes information on determining the training needs for your business, understanding the various training and development options that exist and keeping training records. Information about available financial supports for hiring and training employees is also provided.



In This Section:


On-lineTraining is Available:

SkillsonlineNS offers free online courses to Nova Scotia residents and businesses. A“Getting Your Workforce Ready” bundle of courses has been customized for Nova Scotia to help to business owners and managers identify skills and performance gaps in their workforce.  Upskilling, recognizing prior learning and using competency-based profiles are explored.  Click here to view the complete course catalogue or to register for training.


Benefits of Training

Top reasons for training and developing employees:

  • Training improves productivity by providing employees with the key knowledge and skills that they need to perform their job.
  • Training also helps you to hold on to your key workers. The opportunity to continue to grow and develop job and career enhancing skills is a key factor in employee motivation and retention. In fact it is one of the most important factors in employee motivation
  • Studies indicate that it pays to invest in building learning capacity, knowledge and professional development. By doing so businesses enhance their productivity and are more able to adapt to changes in the environment.
  • If you have been strategically upgrading your employee skills sets you will more likely be able to fill new opportunities from within your organization and employees will be more prepared for a promotion.

There are many forms of support available to help you grow and develop the skills and education of your workforce so that it is as efficient and productive as it can be. These can be found under Supports for Training (education.asp).


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Determining Training Needs

Answering the following questions will help you determine you company's training needs:

  • Will there be any changes in the way we are doing business? Who will these changes affect?
  • What will staff need to know in order to do their jobs well? What is the most effective way that staff in our business learn? What is the best way to get this training to staff?
  • Do we have any other training needs?
  • What types of training are available to meet these needs? Which types are the most cost effective?

Download the Training and Development Assessment Template.


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Training and Development



Training could be required as a result of new technology being introduced, changes in the job related tasks or processes, issues with current performance or because the employee is new to the job.

Cost effective ways you can access external training for your employees include:

  • Contacting local colleges and universities to identify relevant existing programs or creating a program to meet your training needs;
  • Finding existing seminars or conferences that staff can attend;
  • Contacting local employer groups such as Industry Associations, Sector Councils, Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade. These organizations provide training to their memberships on a variety of topics (* note there may be a membership cost to avail of assistance through these groups) You can follow this link for a comprehensive listing of business and professional associations in Nova Scotia
  • Using online training or web-based seminars;
  • Having trained employees train other staff;
  • Providing incentives such as tuition reimbursement to employees to attend job related training or education outside of company time;

The government of Nova Scotia provides various support programs to help employers in Nova Scotia to grow and develop the skills and education of their workforce so that it is as efficient and productive as it can be. Information on these programs can be found under the Employer Supports in this section of the Toolkit.


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Developing Employees

Development is generally an activity associated with providing existing employees with new skills, abilities and knowledge that will help build their capability within an organization. For instance a developmental opportunity could be cross training between different divisions within an organization so that several employees are capable of covering off in various divisions should the need arise. Development opportunities can be used to assist with promotion and could include programs that help selected employees acquire managerial skills in the event of a managerial opening within the company. Some employers use development as a tool for keeping workers

Methods that employers use to develop employees include:

  • Buddy system – new employees are partnered with a more experienced worker.
  • Job enrichment - working with the employee to add new challenges and duties to the current job.
  • Lateral moves – moving the employee to a new position at the same level of responsibility.
  • Relocation – employee moves to a new facility or community.
  • Rotating jobs or tasks –employees rotate responsibilities with other employees in the company.
  • Coaching – designated staff work with employee to improve their work performance. Coach could be a supervisor, co-worker or an outside consultant.
  • Mentoring – staff act as role models to help an employee understand the organization and explore potential career paths.
  • Committee work – employee serves or takes on the lead of a committee; and
  • Learning plans - employee develops an individual learning plan with their supervisor outlining their responsibilities and goals.


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Training Records and Evaluation

It is recommended that you keep a record of what training staff has attended and when it took place. This is particularly important for training required by government legislation such as safety related training. This training record will allow you to identify any training and development gaps you may have.

It is also important to evaluate whether the training your staff has participated in has been effective. By completing an evaluation on each training opportunity provided you can identify what worked, what didn't how things may be improved or changed and whether or not it was cost effective.


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Supports for Training

The Government of Nova Scotia provides various support programs to help employers in Nova Scotia to grow and develop the skills and education of their workforce so that it is as efficient and productive as it can be.


Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI)
WIPSI provides funding to businesses to invest in training and skills development in key areas such as:

- adapting to new technology
- skills development training leading to certification improving productivity
- improving international competitiveness management skills development,
- training that supports workplace diversity

Learn More about WIPSI

Workplace Education Initiative - Literacy, learning, and skills training will give your organization a more competitive edge, improving your productivity while enriching the lives and well-being of your employees. It will also allow your employees to perform to their full potential – to grow their roles while expanding their potential to help your organization grow too.

The Workplace Education Program provides funding to cover the cost of developing and delivering customized training programs to support the development of essential skills in the workplace.

Learn more about Workplace Education.



The Province of Nova Scotia offers thousands of FREE online courses on the most important workplace topics to enable employers and employees to access important skills training.  Individuals can sign up and start taking courses today.  Your business can also build its own private learning area for employees, allowing you to provide access to hundreds of online courses such as:

  • HR Fundamentals

  • Engaging Gen-Y Employees

  • Word and Excel

  • Business Writing Basics

  • Customer Service Fundamentals

  • Social Media in the Workplace

  • Finance and Accounting Essentials

  • and more

View the Course Catalogue here or sign up for free training


One Journey Initiative

This program provides skill development and employment opportunities to unemployed or underemployed Nova Scotians where there is an identified industry labour shortage. Learn more about One Journey Work and Learn


Sector Council Program

Industry Sector Councils and business associations may also have training programs or can direct you to various opportunities for training. Links to these Sector councils and industry organizations is provided in this toolkit under Provincial Support Programs and Services. Learn more about the Sector Council Program.



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Other Training Supports

Industry Sector Councils and business associations may also have training programs or can direct you to various opportunities for training. Links to these Sector councils and industry organizations is provided in this toolkit under Support Programs and Services.


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Downloadable Resources