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Breaking into Training


I'm a 35 year old sales professional in London with 15 years' sales experience and have recently been trying to move into a sales training role. The drawback seems to be that every organisation advertising a vacancy asks for 2 - 4 years training delivery experience, usually adding "some sales experience would be preferred".
I have delivered training and coaching but only as part of my job (I was a sales manager for 20 people about 2 years ago) but have huge experience of sales.

I would appreciate advice from anyone who can help me to make the most effective next step. For example, would the Certificate in Training Practice be a good move ?
Jon Evans

7 Responses

  1. CTP
    Yes – the Certificate in Training Practice would be a good move. It’s a great qualification and will provide you with a starting point. You don’t have to wait until you’ve finished it to apply for positions. Also – don’t be put off my adverts which ask for experience. Often – especially if you’re applying direct to companies – they will consider entry level trainers. Send your CV direct to the companies you want to work for. Many of my best trainers were those that came with a solid industry background but no training experience. Like anything else, training is a set of skills which can be learned. Good luck.

  2. Experience
    Another route in – to build up your portfolio – is to obtain some work placement or shadowing experience. You see someone else in action and can consider including the new subjects or approaches in your portfolio. I have provided unpaid placements like this for one day courses and been a sort of mentor thereafter.I have gained new insights and contacts as a benefit and my new friends and colleagues say they have gained.There may be some London course providers willing to help you.Alternatively if you want to shadow me when I am next in London which is nearly every month just now,drop me an e mail. If you do take up any placements obtain references thereafter about your role and feedback from provider

    Good luck


    [email protected]

  3. Get into training
    In the role of my alter ego, Ed the Editor of Trainerbase, I have been approached to advertise full time permanent positions for trainers (trainerbase is more for the contract/freelance market). I have had a number of recruitment agencies comment that they are finding it difficult to get hold of permanent staff. Can’t comment on whether this is the marketplace or their ability to attract candidates. What I would suggest is getting on the email list of JobSite and setting your criteria for training jobs. If you are looking for freelance work then feel free to join or there is another network more for consultants called Magenta Circle.

    All the best for getting into a personally rewarding profession, the joy of making a difference to someone is immense.


  4. TAP certification has real market currency for subject matter ex
    An alternative to a ctp and much more time-efficient would be attending an intensive 5-day course, Training Delivery Skills, with the Foundation. (02476 411288).

    This leads to certification within the Trainer Assessment Programme (TAP)awarded by the Awarding Body Consortium (ABC).

    There are now more than 6,000 certified TAP trainers in the UK working in 1,000+ organisations. Visit to read many testimonials and download ‘Guide to the Trainer Assessment Programme’ for full details.

  5. Incorrectly quoted
    much more time-efficient would be attending an intensive 5-day course

    Have to take issue with your sales pitch there Neil.

    I did a CTP on flexible learning – the pros above what you are promoting are that it was flexible and not intensive. Beware libel.

  6. Start with Skills Self Assessment
    I wholeheartedly encourage your desire for development as a training professional. It is a common mistake to assume an expert in a field can automatically train in the field competently. This is nowhere more obvious than in the IT industry.

    While Nick and Mark recommend routes that were successful for themselves, I would strongly recommend your starting point to be with yourself. Reflect on your own training delivery experience: what skills you feel you have, strengths and weaknesses in training design and delivery (be honest), and what you hope to achieve by a career move into the training profession. This may need the input of a mentor- type person, or another training professional you respect.

    Once this assessment is complete, you are in a better position to determine what is right for you, both in terms of career and skills development.

    Many routes to qualification exist in the adult learning market, and there are no industry requirements. The CIPD’s CTP takes a holistic view of training, from needs analysis through design and delivery to evaluation. This may be achieved in a modular approach through other groups such as the one Nick mentions.

    Good luck with your career move, I hope you achieve what you want.

  7. Breaking In
    My experience of making the change from Salesman to sales trainer was a bit different to the others listed here.

    To gain a sales trainers position I engineered a need for one within the business, as a team leader within a sales function employing over 200 sales people – I began by delivering written training modules to the entire function and developing mini-seminars pre and post shift so that anyone could attend (with help from my line manager) – eventually the company saw the need for a full time sales trainer and four years on I’m still a trainer.

    I agree that the CITP may help but I found the material a bit basic and not much help at all – there wasn’t enough specifics for me but I took the course after training for a while.

    As a salesman play to your strengths, it is acceptable to put sales manager and sales trainer as one role rather than one or the other if you had responsibility for training your staff. Sell yourself like you sold your products and you won’t go far wrong – remember a title doesn’t matter so much but it might draw more attention to your actual skill set rather than your percieved skill set.

    Hope that helps.


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