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ATD Blog

Success—Despite Limited Time and Budget

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Balance resources and create a learning culture to excel.

Are you striving to develop your workforce with limited resources? The panelists of the ATD24 session, “Insights From Africa—Thriving on a Shoestring: Budget-Friendly Training and Development and Tactical Strategies to Achieve More With Less,” shared guidance on the topic.

Bahaa Hussein, CPTD, managing partner and ATD Master Trainer at Simdustry GmbH in Cairo, Egypt, facilitated the conversation, which also included Fatima Ango, head of learning, monitoring, and evaluation at the Central Bank of Nigeria; Debbie Craig, founder and managing director at Catalyst Consulting in South Africa; and Aya Medhat, talent development professional at CBC Nova in Cairo.

Hussein asked panelists about balancing internal and external sources as ways to trim costs.

One way to do so, Ango said, is to develop expertise in-house to reduce vendor costs. In addition to the pool of homegrown, certified trainers that the bank’s learning team has created, it also uses expertise from retired employees. She also recommended using versatile, off-the-shelf training materials that can be augmented with internally developed training content. Those two methods reduce travel and other logistical costs of training off-site.

Craig shared that external suppliers can be cost effective if organizations use them to train a limited number of leaders and employees to foster a culture ready for the future of work, which requires entrepreneurial mindsets, agility, and willingness to take intelligent risks.


Craig’s company first works with executive leadership to develop such mindsets; her team co-designs content with internal stakeholders and works with small groups within the organization who can lead by example, coach their teams, and influence others. The mindsets can trickle down and out and create a learning and future-oriented culture while creating efficiencies.

Medhat and Ango stressed the importance of a learning needs assessment to determine what training methods are best for each company. When it comes to resources, sometimes TD professionals, in consultation with business stakeholders, must make the choice to prioritize. Medhat emphasizes sorting content by what is “must know, should know, nice to know.” Then, determine what training method to use for chunked content—as in, what you can teach face to face versus what you can teach at learners’ convenience. Include learners in the L&D process early on.

Another caveat when focusing on limited resources is that sometimes less is more when it comes to acquiring technology, continued Medhat. Don’t follow trends; rather, make decisions based on what suits your people.


All three of the speakers discussed the importance of a culture of learning, including self-driven learning, personal mastery, and team learning. Ango has witnessed staff converse via Microsoft Viva Engage, citing a plethora of social learning and engagement.

The session also addressed measuring L&D and how to ensure that it is scalable and sustainable.

“Insights From Africa” is one of many on-demand sessions available to ATD24 attendees.

About the Author

ATD24 News is your source for news, updates, and session coverage for ATD’s 2024 International Conference & EXPO.

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