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Commissioning external trainers


Does anyone have a set of criteria they use to ensure that external trainers meet quality standards? Do you rely on endorsements from clients?
Christine Macdonald

7 Responses

  1. there are a number of options
    Hi Christine

    There are a number of options depending on what you want out of them.

    Your needs may vary;
    You might want someone solely to deliver your material
    You might want someone to design and deliver material on your behalf
    You might need someone to deliver a lecture based course
    You might need a more facilitative approach to some experiential training.

    Depending one the need you have you could rely on:
    Endorsements from previous clients
    An understanding of the material they have produced
    You may ask them to run a session for you as an “interview piece”
    You could go along to one of their open courses as a paying delegate or as a free observer
    You might take them on face value and or reputation
    or you could ask for a pilot event.
    All the above are common, as a freelance trainer I have been through them all.

    All I would ask is that you pick a decision making approach that is appropriate to what you want them to do for you.

    It is also worth noting that the above only refers to the selection side….once you have started using them you will want to have a fair and effective method of ensuring the ongoing quality of their work. That is a whole different ball game.

    I hope this helps (even though it comes from the “wrong side” of the tracks)


  2. references
    I think one of the quickest ways to tell if any consultant, including trainers, is worth their salt, is to ask to have a chat with previous clients. The client can also make suggestions on what you can do to help your company get more out of them – senior management input, collaboration on the content, and so on.
    Good luck!

  3. Liability
    I agree with the comments already made and they are sound advice.
    If I could add my piece; in addition to the above I would also ensure that the trainer/s are third party accredited and that they have Profesional Liability Insurance. This information is now more needed within the current H&S regulations. I work in the Fire Training Field and this is needed more thanever. Forgive the term; “anyone can set themselves up as a trainer”, but you need additional assurance that not only do they have what has already been stated but you require to satisfy your company that they have the necessary credentials and can support the legal rrequirements.

    John Clenaghan. QFSM. PKPB. LSGC. GIFireE. C.NEBOSH

  4. The quality question

    Big question about ensuring quality, but who’s standards: are there any or perhaps are there toooo many? Certainly follow the thread of the article Garry points to, (vested interest as a provider of an Internet based option).

    I did a research piece that was published in the British Journal of Occupational Learning which is on TrainerBase, about trust in a virtual world. Information about a contractor, examples of work, testimonials etc are all part of the process to move towards quality; I don’t think even with the best intentions in the world you can ensure quality.

    I think it all boils down to the perceived professionalism; and PI insurance may be a factor. Relying on a single factor such as endorsements may be important but limiting; look at everything else as well.

    Hope this helps.

    AKA Ed
    Founder and editor of TrainerBase

  5. Skills Councils
    From the training provider’s point of view, this is how I answer the question:

    Firstly, yes, I have professional qualifications, cpd and many years’ experience in my relevant field.
    Secondly, and, arguably more important, my training ability is recognised by an external body – in my case, the Financial Services Skills Council- which has a rigorous accreditation process.

    Client testimonials are taken as read!

  6. Assess Quality
    I work for a training organisation, Matrix FortyTwo, who not only uses external trainers but also trains trainers. I would suggest that one of the best ways to ensure that trainers meet quality standards is to physically assess them against a set of competencies. We deliver an ELF (Excellent Learning Facilitation) course which assesses trainers at the end to ensure they meet the ELF competencies and also use this Assessment on any of our external trainers as well.

    Our standards managed to win us IITT Trainer of the Year and if you would like more information about them I would be more than happy to talk to you about it


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