What is the best training company for your business?

What is the best training company for your business?

Why is training important for businesses of any size?

Depending on the business, in particular its size, training is often overlooked or turned into a checkbox exercise to meet HSE requirements as cheaply as possible. However, established HR departments are aware of the positive impact a strategic training plan can have on a workforce. Improvements can be made in productivity and employee satisfaction. In larger organisations employee training can add millions of pounds return on investment on a training budget. Even for smaller companies it can have a significant positive impact.

However negotiating cost versus quality and choosing the right training provider can often be stressful and confusing.

With thousands of training providers available, how can you pick the best option to meet your organisation’s training needs?
How do you know they will deliver great training and the best value? Remember value is not the same as cost!

Training course providers come in all sizes and when you understand the Industry can see they offer different things. Below we share the top 10 points to consider when making your selection.

1. Does the training provider understand your business?

Who have they worked with? Do they have experience in your Industry? Do they understand the specific needs of your industry?

Although large providers like St John’s Ambulance or Red Cross provide UK wide training and deliver focused First Aid Training they offer a one size fits all approach, which doesn’t tailor courses according to the specific requirements or nuances of different working environments.

Other smaller providers like Oakley will tend to

Apply training tools and techniques that will meet your employees’ learning styles. Additionally, make sure the training provider either has experience delivering training courses in your industry, or takes the time to discuss this with you.  A good provider will work to understand your specific challenges and working environment to ensure the course content is made as relevant as possible. This is why Oakley provide ‘Consultancy’. We work with every company to ensure the training material and style fits to the needs of your business.

2. Do they care about your company training needs?

If you buy training courses online can you be sure they understand your training needs? We recommend you ask for a proposal and discuss your needs with the company to make sure they ask questions and get o know you and your company.  The training provider should ask enough questions to ensure they meet your specific training needs. If you do not know what these are then work with them to establish what your needs are!

A good training provider will want to understand your objectives so they can offer you the most suitable courses and deliver it in the right way. Be wary of the provider who doesn’t ask you any questions as they assume your needs are the same as others and will offer you an “off-the-shelf” solution.

3. Have a look at their website

You might say that anyone can have a good website, and yes to some extent this is true. In today’s world, even the worst training provider can have a very attractive website. However, a low quality website is representative of a low quality provider.

Training providers are in the business of education. We see some shocking spelling mistakes and grammar errors on provider’s websites, as well as amateurish content and design. This is particularly true of smaller companies who are working to low margins and aim to earn a quick buck. A lack of detail on a providers website indicates they aren’t going to be able to provide accurate detail for you either!

Is it easy to find a course per category? Per title? Per date? What other features does the website have to add value to the service they offer? Is the contact information professional? If it is a mobile number or a Hotmail account, this provider must be avoided for established companies!

Can you find the course outline for each training course offered? If not, they are most likely trying to attract enquiries and leads on courses they do not actually provide.

Can you clearly see the price for each course and what is included? Or do you have to contact them to find out? A professional training provider is transparent and provide all inclusive prices unless explicitly stated.

4. Avoid training provider that offers EVERYTHING!

Who can really have all the expertise required to offer hundreds of courses for hundreds of industries covering hundreds of topics? Of course, these providers are tempting as they claim to be able to train your staff on everything, but be aware, this probably means quality and detail of what they offer is limited. Do not compromise on the quality of your training and make sure the provider really understands the topic they are training.

5. Who are the actual trainers?

Just because the person behind the telephone comes across well and is helpful doesn’t mean the trainer on the day is.  Sense check who will be taking the course. Always ask for trainers’ experience and past work. Do they have the expertise to train adult learners on that particular topic with hands on experience? Have they worked in the field or learnt from a book?  To answer that question, you must look at it from two perspectives:

Real Life Experience:
The trainer must have worked in that industry or have experienced that specific area of knowledge. Ideally in multiple renowned organizations with both international exposure and experience in your specific region. This will ensure they understand best practices and provide relevant examples during the training course.

Training Experience:
Being an expert doesn’t mean they have the ability to teach others and effectively share their knowledge. A boring trainer will not help bring your staff up to speed. A boring course is the fear of most delegates we meet.

6. What accreditation do they offer?

There are 3 main types of accreditation for all training courses:

External Accreditation: from an awarding organization which is recognized by regulators
Approval from a trade body
In-house certification: accredited from the training provider itself

External Accreditation tends to be the most reliable indicator and valued, but depending on the course in-house certifications still offer value.

However, although the accreditation is important, the Quality Assurance systems and training material is what truly matters. Indeed, a training provider offering in-house certifications but who uses qualified and experienced instructors following recognized guidelines and standards is often in a perfect position to deliver professional high quality training.

External Accreditation can truly support your employees’ career path and provide them with valuable qualifications. But beware of providers who may have many logos on their website but are likely to break the rules to cut costs and ensure all of their participants pass. External Accreditation is an indicator but it’s not a guarantee.

7. Do they offer a range of delivery platforms?

How does the training provider approach the learning experience for their participants? Is the provider always looking for new ideas and solutions to help them achieve their learning objectives?

Is the training interactive? Does it include several hands-on exercises and activities every day? Is it mainly a lecture or will the participants learn by doing? Will it include real case studies? Will they come back to your organization with templates/ check lists or other practical tools? Will the trainer engage with the participants through different media such as videos / audios / site visits/ simulations?

Make sure the methodology used for each training course is relevant not only to the type of knowledge your employees must gain but also to the profile of the participants. Oakley have just started delivering personal, tailored courses via Zoom in response to Covid-19 and the rise of online learning. However we still prefer to see and deliver training in person, as we believe people learn much more. However our range of online training courses, online exams and virtual courses aim to provide people a way of learning that suits them.

8. Can they and will they customise course content?

This is true both for public and in-house courses.

Public courses have an advertised course outline to follow and flexibility may be limited. However, will the trainer adapt to the audience by sharing relevant examples and case studies? Are they able to answer delegate questions? Will the trainer adapt to the level of the participants existing knowledge and adjust to this and other factors like seniority and position within the company? Can the trainer add or remove specific topics if requested by the participants or is the trainer not able to deviate from the outline?

For in-house courses the training provider must give you the option to customise the training solution or it is clear the material is delivered from the book and will not add value to your company. In-house training course should not be an “off-the-shelf” solution, but make sure

9. Do they measure progress and record attendance?

This is important as it ultimately dictates your return on investment. Make sure the training provider will keep a record of your employees’ attendance and inform your training manager of any late comers or no shows. Too many training providers only care about the revenue they generate and have no problem handing out certificates to participants who miss most of the course and didn’t actually gain the knowledge you paid for and they need.

It is also important to measure the progress of the participants throughout the course. Therefore, choose a training provider who is diligent and validates learning milestones as the course progresses. Too often we see content delivered out of a book with little regard of how much is being learnt.

Reliable training providers have specific requirements for the issuance of certificates. Be sure to ask what they are and how they ensure delegates have really understood the course content.

10. Lastly, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is true for training providers:

As a general rule, you do get what you pay for, and this is especially true for low cost providers. The only way a training provider can be drastically cheaper than the competition is by cutting their costs; that means the quality will be affected at different levels:

  • The quality of resources
  • Experience and qualification of the trainers
  • Quality of the training equipment
  • Facilities and the training environment
  • Size of the class (too many people in a class means individuals receive less direct nurturing and ability to have their questions answered)
  • Course duration (is it shorter in terms of hours or days?)

Although cost is always a deciding factor, lower cost doesn’t mean better value. In fact it is better to spend a bit more, as you’ll often receive a lot more for your money. When choosing a cheaper option, be aware of what you are willing to compromise.

If you would like to discuss your requirements with us then give us a call or fill in the form below. Let us help you put a training plan in place for your company.