The first employee development assistance programme was developed by the management and trade unions of the Ford Motor Company. Under the programme, employees, many of whom had few if any qualifications, were provided with funding to take educational, training, lifestyle, and fitness courses. Many of the courses were delivered off-site by educational providers but the programme also commissioned on-site programmes. Courses were taken in free-time but were offered on a flexible basis to make them available to shift workers. The purpose of the programme was not only to raise skill levels but also to develop an appetite for learning and development amongst a workforce that had little experience of this kind of activity. As such, the programme was influenced by the notion that more changeable business conditions require a more adaptable workforce with a capacity to learn new skills (see agility and learning organization). Since Ford's initiative, EDAP programmes have spread to many other employers, though usually with the same core principle being retained of the employer-funding personal development of the workforce.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.