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Developing your career in training


In your role as Training Manager or Training Officer, your daily focus is on other people's development needs. But how do you find the time, focus and support to develop your own career? Our poll this month asks just that question, and you can add your own anecdotes below.

Meanwhile, here are some of our suggestions for places to start if you're looking for information on training and development for yourself, taken from our expert guide on the subject.

(Note: This article is intended for those working as a trainer in either a corporate or adult learning (FE) organisation. Higher education institutions usually require a degree subject specialism plus an additional teaching qualification of their lecturers).

Getting qualified

A good starting point for some structured guidance and support is to embark on a training course of your own. There are a range of possibilities for obtaining a qualification which will be nationally recognised, which are summarised below:

CIPD qualifications

Of the CIPD qualifications available, the Certificate in Training Practice (CTP) is considered the most appropriate for training professionals, and is well-regarded as an excellent foundation for those embarking on a career in training. TZ members Jenny Kevan, Duncan Heyes, Karen McKay and Maryanne Fleming were among many who sung its praises when asked. Many commented that the course was hard work but rewarding and valuable. Fees for the course vary between different accredited providers, so it's worth shopping around. Offered by the CIPD, a first point of call for information is their website.

National Vocational Qualifications

An alternative route is to study for one of the suite of NVQ qualifications in training and development. The Employment NTO, which oversees the standards for these qualifications, recently introduced a new range of standards for these qualifications, and the Qualification Structure in Learning and Development now comprises six S/NVQs at levels 3, 4 and 5.

There are also a range of Certificates which fit within this qualification structure, including the Certificate in Initial Assessment and Support of Learners, the Certificate in Review and Assessment of Learning and the Certificate in Training and Presenting in the Workplace. The Certificates are administered through a range of awarding bodies, including the CIPD, City and Guilds, Edexcel and OCR. Contact your local college to find out where the nearest assessment centre is.

If deciding between the Certificate in Training Practice and the NVQ route, the feeling among TrainingZONE members is that CTP provides better networking opportunities, but that NVQ is more flexible. The NVQ route is likely to be more suitable to those with relevant training experience already.

Further and Adult Education Certificate (FAETC)

Awarded by City and Guilds (qualification no. 730), the FAETC "focuses on practical teaching ideas, but also encourages reflection on teaching and learning", according to one TrainingZONE member. Technically an NVQ, the qualification can be assessed in a number of ways and is available at numerous centres around the country. E-mail City and Guilds to find out where your nearest centre offering the course.

ITOL qualifications

The Institute of Training and Occupational Learning was founded in 2000, and therefore provides the newest of the qualifications listed here. ITOL offers a Certificate and Diploma in Training and Occupational Learning, contact them for details on which providers offer the programmes.

Academic and other programmes

A number of academic institutions offer qualifications at certificate, degree and masters level. The UCAS website provides a useful source to search for a suitable course near you.

The learndirect directory is another useful reference source for general programmes.

Train the trainer

There are literally hundreds of suppliers of short courses aimed at trainers, either as an introductory or refresher session. It's impossible for TrainingZONE to review these here, but it's likely that those wanting a thorough grounding in learning theory would be better suited taking up one of the routes to a qualification described above.

The following is a very brief list of companies who provide 'train the trainer' courses and are listed in the TrainingZONE Courses Directory:

  • Business Improvement Solutions
  • Oddball Training
  • partners in business
  • hr TEAM UK Ltd
  • Marcus Evans Professional Training
  • PMSL
  • Zone IT Training Limited
  • ProTech Training Services

  • IT training

    As the demand for IT training grows, moving into IT training is becoming a popular proposition. There are a number of options for those seeking to gain a specific qualification to train in IT subjects. For training in the workplace, the main requirements appear to be experience in the delivery of training to an audience (although potentially a chicken-and-egg situation) and good presentation skills, coupled with the necessary IT knowledge.

    Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations, now OCR, who've taken over administration of the RSA awards, offer several possibilities, including Integrated Business Technology Stage 2, the Certificate in ICT for Teachers and Trainers and the Level 4 Diploma in ICT for Teachers and Trainers. The Joint Examining Board (JEB) also offers an IT Skills Teacher Trainer Certificate and Diploma.

    The Institute for IT Training have their own training qualification for IT Trainers in the form of the Training Provider Accreditation Programme (TPAP).

    CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, offer Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification, intended to recognise cross-industry excellence in technical instruction.

    Those who are considering training at the more technical end of the market, rather than end-users, will obviously need to ensure that their knowledge of technical programmes is thorough and constantly updated. The Microsoft Certified Trainer route is the most commonly cited, but other vendors also offer their own certification programmes.

    To qualify or not to qualify?

    Several TrainingZONE members has suggested that taking the plunge and gaining some practical experience can be the best introduction to a training career. One or two others have also remarked that they've managed to build a successful freelance training business without any formal training qualifications.

    Both TrainingZONE member Dee Keane and our IT Training Editor say the best way to start off is to contact your local Adult Education providers (usually via the Education Department of your local authority) and or local FE colleges. By getting paid work with them, you not only get training/teaching practice, but also access to accredited training/qualifications for yourself as an Adult Educator (e.g. City & Guilds FAETC).

    TrainingZONE contributor Neil Wellman says "most colleges use lots of part timers and are usually keen to get good teachers (Aug/Sept is the time they get desperate), in fact it seems that starting off as a part-timer (even over several colleges) is a fairly normal way into FE." He adds that colleges can be happy to pay for FEATC courses, even for those working part-time.

    Franck Lynch says sitting in and helping out with an evening class can provide vital experience to secure your own teaching sessions in adult education. He also says that in his experience a teaching qualification and experience is perfectly acceptable, also that "It seemed that working in one Adult Education facility was acceptable to work in others."

    One provider states: "For us, CIPD membership would be taken into consideration as a professional interest but not in the qualification part of our recruitment strategy. Experience, good communication skills, intellectual ability and educational qualifications in the specialist areas required to deliver are paramount."

    TrainingZONE says: this method is likely to suit those who are looking to train in an area in which they have already developed an occupational specialism. Developing coaching, mentoring or presentation skills can be done while still working within an occupational area and can provide an excellent stepping off point for learning to impart knowledge to others. In a large organisation, there may well be opportunities to put these skills to use at internal briefings or workshops.


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