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Becoming a L&D Consultant


I am looking to progress my career and I hoping someone can help me differeniate between a Training Officer's role and that of a L&D Consultant. Would the difference just be what different organisations call a learning professional or would there be specific role differences that I would need to develop or detail on my CV?

I may already be performing a consultants role as a Training Officer without knowing it, though how would I show this to someone else?

Any views/thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



2 Responses

  1. Job titles, roles and progression


    Unfortunetly job titles can mean very different things in different organisations. I know that Training Officer ranges from an instructor type role right up to a head of training. However, I think we can make some general assumptions – with all the usual words of caution that go with any assumption.

    A typical ‘trainer’ role is traditionally one focused on delivering courses. Depending on the topic and the context this can range from instructuion through to facilitation. Some technical training retains a high instructional component – and when done well is great, there is an art to it even though it is often looked down upon by advocates of more modern approaches. Most management and interpersonal skills training these days is far mor interactive, experiential and the trainer is mainly a facilitator (but with good knowledge behind that in order to be most effective). In both areas there is an increase in blended learning which takes the trainer into other methods and skills, especially if they have a design role.

    Most modern trainers have a degree of involvement in talking with clients, doing diagnostic work, designing in evaluation, marketing and so on. But I think the L&D consultant takes this to the next level.

    L&D consultant roles are also quite variable with some doing no course delivery at all. But I will take a mid-line approach in describing what an L&D consultant might typically do. They would be out and about in the business operating more like a business partner. They would advise, help with diagnosis including organisational needs analysis rather than just at a team or individual level, they might run some events particularly things like Action Learning sets or Peer Reviews, they might help source or procure appropriate solutions, they might work with LMs to help embedded the learning and address performance issues, they would track business benefits and look to make sure future L&D actions were best value, and they might operate outside of traditional L&D boundaries addressing organisational performance issues for example. In many respects they need a mindset and skill set like that of an external consultant whilst retaining a deep knowledge of the organisation, the culture, how to get things done, and who needs to be kept involved.

    Although 20 yrs old, still one of the best books on this, especially if you are looking to progress into the consultancy role, is ‘A consultancy approach for trainers’ by Keri Phillips and Patricia Shaw. You probably can still get used copies from Amazon and other such sources.

    Hope that helps


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