How to be savvy with your staff training budget

  • By Paul Blane
  • •  Jun 09, 2021

Reading time: 6 minutes

Paul Blane is that rare thing – a man that takes his own medicine! He combines owning and operating a care home with a nationwide training business. He let carestockroomHQ pick his brains for how to get the most bang for your training buck. Read on for his Do’s and Don’ts


  • After staff wages, training will be 6-8% of your operating budget and is one of your biggest areas of cost. Before you spend a penny, answer the question, ‘What is my business about and what do I want it to become?’. How you answer that question should determine how you invest your training budget.
  • Accept that statutory and mandatory training will consume a lot of your training budget – but there are plenty of places you can save money. That money you save, though, should be invested in what you want your business to be known for, eg dementia or sensory specialisms.
  • Make online e-learning your default delivery model for statutory and mandatory training. Reserve expensive classroom time for those topics that can’t be delivered virtually like Moving & Handling, and those topics which differentiate your service from all the rest.
  • Expect online learning to be cheaper – a lot cheaper. A single online training module can average £2 per person, whilst classroom teaching will be more like £40 per person with another £50 required for backfilling the team on the floor. So for the average 30-bed care home to get its 40 staff compliant that’s a difference of £800 vs £36k over the year. In reality, you want to aim for a blended approach with roughly 30% of your training delivered face-to-face. This would mean investing around £11k in getting your team of 40 compliant on mandatory subjects. Don’t forget though, that your aim is to release funds from mandatory training areas so that you can increase your staff capability in specialist and managerial competence ie those things that will position your service well into the future.
  • Even better, use classroom time to help team members practise combining key skills through rehearsing ‘care moments’. How can you transfer someone from a chair to a bed safely, check for skin integrity, confirm mental capacity while all the time developing and maintaining that human connection which enables you to deliver person-centred care.
  • Remember managing your staff means knowing how they are performing their tasks. It's not a job that can be done from the office.
  • Remember person-centred care begins with person-centred training and development.


  • Give everyone the same training. Motivate and develop staff through providing specialist and graded training opportunities. Create Leads for key areas like Safeguarding Investigations, Best Interest, Infection Prevention & Control – and invest in staff capability and confidence to take on these tasks.
  • Use training instead of managing! It’s your job as a manager to understand staff competence and waving a certificate is not going to change the care a resident experiences … or that an inspector observes.
  • Do training on repeat. Just because a role requires a Level 2, don’t make the person in that role repeat the same training every year for 10 years!
  • Do face-to-face training for everything! Reserve it for the things that need classroom time, and those things which make your business special.
  • Over-value training. Coaching and mentoring staff is the magic that makes the difference.
  • Apply a cookie-cutter approach. Recognise learning fast and learning well are not the same thing, and don’t create a culture where ‘fast’ learning is ‘the best’ learning.

Care home staff training

A special word on new staff

We all know turnover is a BIG issue, with the highest proportion of leavers going within just 8 weeks of starting their role. Make sure your training and induction programme gives new staff a digestible, confidence-building pathway to competence – 3 days’ induction with a couple of weeks shadowing is unlikely to result in a happy, capable caregiver. If you have recruited someone new to social care, try the following:

  • Give training in spaced doses so the recruit has time to properly take in and retain the information shared
  • Phone them every night to see how they’re doing and to help the make sense of their experience
  • Remind them (and yourself) that the Care Certificate has no end date – take the long term view and let your new recruit become autonomous at a pace that feels right to them
  • Assess the effectiveness of your training and induction approach by the longevity and performance of the staff who go through it
  • Don't wait to be short-staffed before you recruit – it makes you too desperate to appoint, and too desperate to get them onto the floor. Recognise the reality of staff turnover, and make sure recruitment is a constant activity.

How to be a good buyer of Training

  • A good training provider should start with asking you what your business strategy is, and then help you design your training investment to help you deliver that strategy
  • Check that they challenge your assumptions and help you get clearer about what you really want and need, and how to deliver that cost effectively
  • Sole traders can be a good option for a single care home – make sure you have a group of reliable trainers across key disciplines. Be wary of a trainer who can ‘do it all’! Sole traders may find it harder to offer the availability and consistency across a larger geographical area and multiple sites
  • Your provider should advise you to space out your learning modules – and help you spot that in 12 months’ time when staff come to renew their training, you don’t want them to be overwhelmed by a having to renew lots at once
  • Ask for evidence about how they are proactive in keeping you up-to-date with changing guidance
  • Ask them how they accommodate differences in pace for individual learners
  • Ensure the way the provider manages and tracks staff learning gives you insight into individual and collective staff progress, and allows you to evidence this for inspections.

What should it cost?

Individual trainers who work independently will charge £200-250 per day, while training companies will be upward of £400 per day. Don’t confuse price with quality! Be probing about what the provider offers and the results they can deliver. E-learning providers charge an average of £20 per learner per year.

About Paul Blane

Paul Blane is a leading provider of Training and Development into social care settings. Paul left school at 16 to pursue his dream of becoming a jockey – a dream that sadly he (literally!) outgrew. He then discovered his perfect fit in social care, starting off first as a social care worker before working his way up to managing and then owning his own care home. You can contact Paul at and

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