Published onJune 24 2019
Choosing a Training Provider
Choosing a training provider may seem relatively easy. You search for the course you require, gather information about the course and make sure the content meets your needs. You check to ensure its within budget, and the dates and times suit your availability. You may possibly even have a glance at feedback and reviews of the provider. If everything looks good, you make the booking. So why is choosing the right training provider a little more complex than that?
The training provider market is getting busier and you will no doubt find many different providers seemingly offering the same thing. But some will be good and some not so.
It is essential to choose a training provider that is not only going to offer you the correct training but also provide a good service and the best value.
People are often focused on price alone but value cannot be solely defined in monetary terms. What use is a good price if the course you attend doesn’t help you? Or if the service you receive is poor? Or if there are issues with the provider registering the qualification upon completion of the event (which has been known)?
You should expect to receive a high-quality service from your training provider from beginning to end, as well as good value for money. But with so many providers out there, how do you ensure you choose the correct one? Here are some important considerations and key indicators that can help you make an informed decision:
Accreditation is essentially the industry’s ‘stamp of approval’. In the Highways industry, one of the most recognised awarding organisations is Lantra Awards. Training providers must go through a scrupulous process to gain the accreditation which usually involves reviews of their processes and procedures, their trainers and assessors, their experience and a review of the organisation as a whole. Only when the awarding organisation is satisfied with the quality and ability to deliver, will the accreditation be awarded. Established training providers that continually meet the standards required by the awarding organisation are awarded Direct Claim Status (DCS).
Independently from the awarding organisation is the internationally recognised quality standard, ISO 9001. The standard recognises businesses in all industries that are able to consistently demonstrate that the provision of quality is at the heart of their organisation, whether service or product focused.
Quality of delivery
The is something that is often overlooked. You should leave a course feeling like you’ve gained the knowledge that you required and be confident that you can then go on to implement what you have learned in a practical way. Not a course that is rushed and the trainer has "gone through the motions". Often a day course is squeezed into just a few hours. This is also true for assessment events. You should have the opportunity to showcase your skills, demonstrate your competence to the assessor and show that you have gained the required knowledge, experience and skills to earn the qualification. An assessment event that is not completed properly, rushed, or perhaps not an event at all, is doing you an injustice. It is common knowledge that cutting corners, especially in the highways industry, is potentially dangerous for you and those working with you.
How the course is delivered to you can have a considerable impact on how much you learn. As well as professional qualifications, do the trainers also have industry experience? Do they have a good, solid working background within that industry? If so, do they then have the required presentation and personable skills to translate that into the delivery, enabling them to draw upon their experiences to answer questions and ultimately enhance the experience for the learner? There are many experienced professionals in the industry, but industry expertise does not always translate into strong presentation skills. A good trainer will know their subject material inside out and back to front, and will not depend solely on the presentation slides. There’s nothing less engaging than a trainer simply reading from the slides! A good trainer will be captivating, lively, dynamic and interactive. And most importantly, they will communicate clearly and be able to share the information with you in a manner that you are able to understand, regardless of your level of experience, and in such a way that it is memorable so you can retain it when you leave.
The administration for any training provider is paramount. Those that do not give it the attention it requires, do so at their peril. Does the provider have a good track record with their administration? Do they keep accurate and concise records of training they have delivered? Do they have a dedicated admin team? Research this and speak with the provider to ask these questions. If they do value the administration and hold it in high regard, and they have a dedicated department for it, they will no doubt be proud of it and will be more than happy to tell you.
Service and communication
How the training provider communicates with you is very important. Are they professional in their manner and approach? Is their marketing information clear, friendly and professional? Do they have a professional website with all the relevant course information? Or are they intent on hammering their course dates and nothing else? Do they consistently cut rates simply to fill courses meaning various bookings for the same course are possibly all paying different rates for the same course, potentially diminishing the quality and devaluing the qualification? Do they respond to enquiries in a helpful manner and have the ability to answer questions about your needs, demonstrating that they are up-to-date with current industry requirements/standards? Or are they pushy, do they see that as their opportunity for the "up-sell", to bypass that particular enquiry and try to offer other services and training that perhaps you may need in the future but not right now? These things may seem trivial, but they speak volumes of how a business conducts itself. If they get these things right, chances are they’ll get the other things right too.
Reputation and customer satisfaction
A good training provider will have a good track record, a sound reputation within the industry, good credentials and positive reviews and testimonials from genuine clients. Nowadays anyone can give feedback and reviews on a number of platforms. A reputable provider will have plenty of positive reviews and will encourage and welcome the opportunity for clients to add to these.
Don’t be afraid to ask them for details of customer feedback from past events. A good provider will be confident in what they do and most likely proud of their reviews meaning they may even promote and publish it on their website and social media networks.
Established business and premises
Are they an established concern that has been trading for a reasonable period, thus demonstrating longevity and dedication to the industry and to their products/services? This also suggests their intentions are long term rather than a fly by night looking to make a quick buck. Do they have suitable premises that creates a comfortable learning environment that will help enhance the whole experience for the learner?
Price is undoubtedly important, and of course something to consider and explore, but we've purposely left it until last on the list because quality, service and value are far more important. If you find a training provider that delivers on these, price should be the last thing on your mind. Generally, if the price is really low, something from the above has been compromised to compensate for it and that can lead to all kinds of issues for you further down the line.
To summarise; Always do your research! Your choice of training provider should be one who meets an array of criteria such as those above. If they do, this should be a good indicator that they are professional, reliable and will ultimately deliver the product/service to support you with the required training solutions both now and in the future. A provider who ticks these boxes should always be considered!
Written by Up to Speed Training & Assessment Ltd