Presents an initial evaluation of a pilot scheme in non‐vocational employee development (ED) introduced into one section of a water company. Locates the initative within the context of growing interest in ED schemes and their relationship to ideas about learning culture and organization learning. Draws on data obtained throughout the first year of the pilot to assess participation, management of the scheme and perceived benefits. Findings demonstrate a range of reactions to the scheme including a degree of confusion and sceptism, highlighting the difficulties faced by this organization introducing a scheme in a somewhat unfavourable learning climate. Concludes, however, that the outcomes offer illustrative evidence of how such schemes can provide benefits to both employer and employee, contributing to efforts to make continuous learning a reality of organizational life. Stresses the need for more empirical data on other ED schemes.
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