We explore the relationship between training and innovation using key insights from the resource‐based approach, organizational learning and labour studies. By using data from 304 large enterprises in Italy, the study highlights a twofold role of training in favouring technological and organizational changes. First, training plays a role in allowing the acquisition and the assimilation of new knowledge. Consequently, firms in which the provision of training is part of a bundle of high‐performance management practices are more likely to undertake technological and organizational changes and to develop new competencies internally. Second, training supports firms in the assimilation of technological and organizational changes. Consequently, firms that undertake these changes exhibit a superior participation rate for employees and greater time intensity of their training programmes. Firms’ inclination to develop new competencies internally does not affect, however, the intensity of training, thereby suggesting that organizational learning processes do not start by a broad involvement of employees in formalized training programmes.