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A Training Managers guide to RFP


Alan Baren, Director of RFP Exchange at Thinq has devised what he refers to as a simplified approach to finding the most appropriate training provider, called A Request For Proposal (RFP). This approach will define training needs, simplify a provider search and select the most appropriate provider for your needs.

An RFP needs to document your training needs clearly so that training requirements can be delivered to various providers, rather than having to contact each one individually.

Point 1
Start the RFP by concentrating on the details, ask the following questions:

  • When is the training needed?
  • What is the best delivery method?
  • What are the training requirements?

By asking these basic questions will give potential providers a framework to which they can respond.
Point 2
By developing an RFP will eliminate unsuitable providers early on and quicken the process to finding the appropriate training provider.
Point 3
An RFP will save money by the amount of time saved in the process, and also the better quality training will be highlighted that should suit your set budget allowance for that particular project.
Point 4
All training providers will have received the same requirements, therefore this should have provided the basis for consistency from each training application, making the evaluation process easier for comparisons.

RFP's have various formats however, Alan suggests that you should keep the length and depth of your RFP in proportion to the job. The most important aspect is to ensure that your RFP supports the type of service you want.

Make sure your training need is clear, give as much detail as possible and consider the following questions:

  • What is the training topic?
  • What lessons need to be covered?
  • If technology training, what software versons is training needed for?
  • How many people attend each training session, and how many sessions do you think are needed?
  • How soon is the training to commence?

Outline training objectives, by doing this will also enable appropriate training providers any additional services that you may not have even thought of, ask these following questions:

  • Why do you want to do this training?
  • What do you hope to gain from it?
  • Have any skills assessment been done?
  • What knowledge or skills will attendees acquire?
  • What tasks will attendees perform better upon completion of training?
  • What follow-up training will there be?

It would also help training providers to provide them with a description of the target audience with these following questions:

  • Is the audience technical or business?
  • Are they executives, managers, staff or a mix?
  • What working background are they from?
  • What are the audiences expectations?

Give details to the training provider of the preferred method of training delivery, indicating what varieties would most suit your organisation with these questions:

  • If classroom training, would you prefer on-site or off-site training?
  • If on-line training would it be asynchronous or synchronous; speed of internet access; type and version of browser; type of multi-media network support - text only, audio with still graphics or streaming audio and video?

Give training providers an idea as to your budget level and this should reduce those who cannot provide a solution within the limit you have set. If you do not know your budget, then indicate that there is a certain amount of flexibility to learn about the range of products they may provide. Other questions to ask would be:

  • Standard daily rates for on-site instructors
  • Cost of course materials
  • Conversion of training material for tailoring purposes to your organisation.

Additional Questions
Consider these questions as well:

  • What do you think the best medium for delivering this type of training is?
  • What type of interactive exercises are used?
  • What type of post-assessment is offered?
  • What type of follow-up courses are recommended?
  • How many skilled instructors does the company have?
  • Name other companies they have done training for.

Provide the RFP with a deadline date for responses and a standard format for replying, thus making it easier for you to do comparisons.

Even though developing an appropriate RFP will take a lot of time and effort, this should be saved in the long-term as you should get better quality responses from a well written RFP

For further information about RFP's and for using their on-line template visit THINQ that will allow you to request any training requirements you may have and start the request to find an appropriate training provider by taking you step-by-step through their process.


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