PROGRAMME FOR UPGRADING OF SUBSTANTIVE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS
As set forth in ST/AI/2010/10 of 25 August 2010, the Programme for Upgrading Substantive and Technical Skills aims to provide departments and Offices throughout the Secretariat with a means of ensuring that the specialized competence needed to carry out their work can be maintained and developed by upgrading and updating the substantive and technical knowledge and skills of their staff. It is intended to assist departments and Offices in responding to changes in mandates, new responsibilities and developments in areas of specialization, as well as to provide staff with opportunities for professional growth and development. In line with the concepts of empowerment and managerial accountability, the programme is designed to support managers in making the most efficient use of the resources allotted to them to meet the developmental needs of their staff. It provides the means for developing the potential of staff and filling gaps in substantive and technical knowledge and skills, either through internally organized training or through studies outside the Organization.
Annual Training Plans Submission, Review, and Approval
Departments and Offices are requested to submit their annual training plans to the Office of Human Resources Management at the end of each year and to participate in the review meetings organized by OHRM every quarter. At the beginning of the year, plans are reviewed to determine whether departments share common needs, in which case, centrally coordinated programmes may be proposed to maximize use of resources. In addition, departments and offices will be advised of existing centrally coordinated programmes in the areas of leadership, management and organizational development, team-building, gender and diversity, conflict resolution, human and financial resources management, career development, general service development, staff well-being, information technology and language and communication that might address other training requirements.
Funding and Administration of the Annual Training Plan
After review and approval of plans, funds are allocated to the respective departments and Offices at the beginning of each year. Consideration is given to the need for an equitable distribution of available resources Secretariat-wide among all departments and Offices as well as to their effectiveness in carrying out the previous year’s plan.
Any adjustments to the original approved plan should be made within the limits of the funds provided and included in the annual report to be provided at the end of each year to OHRM.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Office of Human Resources Management monitors the use of the funds on the basis of monthly expenditure reports and quarterly review meetings with all departments and Offices. Effectiveness in carrying out the plan presented and making use of the funds allocated is a major factor in considering allocations for subsequent years. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the staff development activities undertaken under this programme, departments and Offices are required to participate in quarterly review meetings organized by OHRM and to submit quarterly reports indicating the training undertaken by their staff, together with an assessment of whether the anticipated impact of the training on the work of the individual, the department and/or the Organization has been achieved. With regard to the reporting of impact, it is extremely important that managers not only consider the impact on the development of the staff, but also on the work unit and the Organization. The report is expected to note, especially, any “multiplier effect” the upgrading activity had (e.g. the extent to which the beneficiary of the training was able to impart learning to other staff).
Conditions Governing the Programme
Staff members at all levels holding a United Nations letter of appointment under the Staff Rules are eligible to participate in the programme. To be granted financial assistance for external training, notwithstanding staff rules 4.12 (c) and 4.13 (c), there should be an expectation of continued service for at least one year in the Secretariat after completion of the proposed training activity.
Requests of Individual Staff Members
Staff members who wish to upgrade or refresh their substantive or technical skills should discuss their training requirements with their supervisors at the time of the preparation of the annual departmental or Office training plan, in the last quarter of the year. Discussions on work planning and performance in the context of the PAS will also provide regular opportunities for individual training needs to be identified. Individual requests for training, whether internal or external, should be presented at the departmental level through the staff memberís immediate supervisor. Any individual requests for training identified after the plan has been submitted and approved should be channeled through the staff memberís immediate supervisor. Such requests should be evaluated by the department or Office in relation to the approved annual plan. Adjustments may be made to the originally approved plan, provided they are within the limits of the funds provided and included in the quarterly reports.
Nature of Activities Covered by the Programme
Staff development activities under this programme may include specialized training, research, seminars, refresher courses, professional conferences and workshops. Where the skills and knowledge required can best be acquired through hands-on experience, on-thejob assignments may also be included. Activities may be implemented in-house or externally. However, authorization to participate in external training may be granted only in cases where no equivalent training is available within the Secretariat or other agencies of the common system to which Secretariat staff have access, or where it would not be cost-effective to organize the required training inhouse.
This programme covers expenditures for payment of consultants to deliver in-house training courses or for tuition fees, travel, per diem or academic stipend, as applicable.
Staff members participating in external training activities may be placed on special leave, with or without pay. They also may use accrued annual leave for all or part of the period of study.
For more information
Contact Rosario Torres-Javier