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American Training Professional moving to the UK


An experienced training professional, I am likely moving to the UK with my husband, who is British, in the next 12 - 18 months. My question is - for an ex pat, how important will a formal british qualification be in obtaining interviews? I have undergraduate and graduate degrees from universities in the US as well as 10 years of experience in the training profession, including delivery, instructional design, and management. I have time to earn the CIPD before I come over. Would it be worth the time and investment? Thanks!
Heather Kean

11 Responses

  1. Field ?
    What do you train – technical, IT, soft skills, management ?


  2. Re. Field?
    For the last 6 years I have been managing sales and leadership curricula and have experience training and designing sales, leadership, business process, product knowledge, and some technical training. Definintely more soft skills experience than technical experience.

  3. Wasted effort…
    With your experience the CITP won’t add much to your ability to deliver – and to be honest UK employers usually opt for experience over qualifications – all things being equal.

    Save your cash and your effort – and make a decision on further career development after you land a role.

    Good luck.

  4. Sector experience and cultural differences
    I agree with Nik. Your employability will be more around your experience, including which business sectors you’ve worked in. While many training professionals will say that leadership development is leadership development, many line managers (and thus HR people) can be precious about whether you’ve worked in this sector or that.

    Many leadership and other models are common to the US and the UK, though from my experience working in the UK for a US multinational, sometimes material needs to be repositioned for acceptability. Your husband could be a help here. This is especially important if the organisation and participants are susceptible to the ‘not invented here’ syndrome. An American accent may not help in such circumstances. This is nothing personal; sometimes we here in Scotland can resent trainers coming up from London (usually Head Office) and telling us about the next ‘big thing’. Your skill and experience in tuning into their needs will be important.

    If you do want to spend some money and are not accredited in psychometric tools such as MBTI then consider those instead. (Though I think there are slight differences between the US and UK MBTI models – can anyone help here ?)

    A more personal view – I think your formal training in instructional design will be valuable – I don’t think we focus enough on it in this country.

    Peter Dunn

  5. thank you
    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them.

    I am intrigued by the cultural differences I will see in the workplace. My husband does expect I will be a little culturally shell-shocked.

    It doesn’t seem fair – in the United States, his british accent lends him immediate credibility and sophistication. He has made it clear that an american accent will afford me no such response in the UK. ūüôā

  6. accent or attitude, yours or theirs?
    I’m not sure that the accent is an issue; the “objection” is usually to a perception of attitude.

    There is often a parochial attitude amongst delegates (this has been referred to in the Scotland/London example already given) and, since so much of our management theory (and videos especially)comes from across the Atlantic it often comes with an American flavour (or flavor). If you look/behave as though you have come to show the hick British how it is done back in the good ol’ US of A, then you are going to get a rough time.

    If you are a good trainer and embrace some cynicism, on the grounds that it encourages thought rather than allowing slavish acceptance, then you will find the British clients and delegates to be a great bunch to work with.


  7. sales differences
    I agree with all comments, when training B2C sales Brit consumers are generally more savvy and cynical than others, hard sell and repetition without listening isnt appreciated.
    Rapport building isn’t easy with Brits who tend to value credibility and sincerity higher than insincere platitudes.

  8. Experience versus Qualifications
    Hi Heather,

    I agree with the other comments here: experience counts for more than formal qualifications when it comes to training in the UK.

    If you do make it over, I would be more than happy to connect you with some prospective employers with no obligation on your part whatsoever. You can contact me via my website:

    I wish you every success in establishing a training role here.



  9. From USA to UK
    I think your experience will be most important. Many companies, especially multi-nationals, will have no issue with you being from the States. Some, however, may struggle to equate the nature of your experience with the standards they are more familiar with. For example, you may need to set out the development you have received and sell that as equivalent to a CIPD or other qualification. They may not know that their are few real equivalents in the USA and be surprised that you are not professionally qualified.
    My guess is you are Certified to run various programmes (or am I wrong?) – this is an approach more common in the States than the UK and won’t count for much. Your experience in designing and delivering a variety of high level programmes, however, will impress.
    You may need to watch your terminology: talking of ‘instructional design’ may be seen as old fashioned in the UK. In many areas of soft skills I’d say the UK is ahead of the States, so do some reading around this. In sales training, elearning, performance coaching, your experience could be stronger. These are generalisations and, obviously, things vary greatly from company to company.
    Finally, you may not know but there is a UK Chapter of the ASTD. It may be worth making contact with them before you arrive.
    Very best of luck

  10. location
    Our exact location will depend on where my husband’s employer ends up placing him. The London Metro area and Oxfordshire are most likely, followed by various places in Southern England (e.g. Gosport, Dorset, etc.).


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