How to choose a trainer
When the time comes that you decide you or your people need some training, you will probably want to do some research on the various providers out there. Training can be a big investment for an organisation and you want to make sure that what you spend is going to yield results, not just waste your money. Here are 6 tips to help you choose wisely:
1. Does the training provider have a good track record? If they only started 5 minutes ago, then you are probably taking a chance with them – of course they could be wonderful (but equally they might not be). So look at their background; if you are looking for someone to train you in sales, do they have a good track record of selling? If you work in the banking sector, would you want someone who has never worked in finance before to do your training? You get the idea. See who they have worked with and how recently – they should be able to give you this information if you ask.
2. Are they accredited? Depending on the sector, there are bound to be bodies or associations that can provide accreditation. This could be in the form of accrediting the provider to deliver their courses, or it could be that the centre is approved to use the accrediting body’s logo on their own courses. You can also get broader stamps of approval like Investors in People or perhaps they are part of the CPD (Continuous Professional Development) Scheme. An organisation that does not have some sort of accreditation might be taking shortcuts – providers normally need to demonstrate robust processes and procedures and need to be financially sound. So no accreditation could mean anything from a really poor course to a dangerous breach of health and safety on their premises to a company taking your money and then going bust.
3. What are they like to deal with? This is all about their likeability. So what are they like when you communicate with them? Do they answer your queries promptly? Do they ask you relevant questions and listen to the answers? Are they pushy or irritating? You will, in some form, be spending a good chunk of time and money with them, so do you think you will get on with one another? If you just get the feeling ‘they are not right’ then follow your instincts and look elsewhere.
4. How relevant is the training to your goals? If you want a specific sort of training, it is better to go to an expert than to someone who does a bit of this and that. Do you want to learn PRINCE2, or ACCA, or sales? Then go to a specialist who knows the subject well. There are a lot of trainers who are desperate for work and will say they can do anything just to get your business.
5. Are they up to date? If they are in the training industry themselves, then theoretically, they should make sure they are keeping up to date with current trends and systems. So ask them what training they have been on recently. In a similar vein, check out their website – it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece of complexity, but if the last entry was 3 years ago, then that should get the alarm bells ringing. Where are their updates on courses, dates, graduations, success stories and so forth? There should definitely be current content.
6. Third Party Testimonials. Can they show they have satisfied customers? Depending on the type of training they offer, this could be in the form of ‘happy sheets’ (the forms you fill out at the end of training to say what you thought of it) or full-blown case studies detailing the problems their clients were experiencing and the solution that the provider put in place. Also look for reviews on directories and in social media – it’s a good idea to read the good and the bad comments to give you a balanced overview. What you are looking for is a variety of feedback over some time, from a decent sample of clients.
I hope these tips have been useful. I would really welcome your comments if you have any other suggestions which have helped you successfully choose a trainer.
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