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do you agree?


Adrian Snook,
Deputy CEO of the Training Foundation is quoted as saying

“There is a perception that training is something you do while waiting for a career in HR,”

I've been in line management, HR, training and recruitment and selection. I've never had, or heard of this perception. Have I missed something over the last 20 or so years?
rus slater

17 Responses

  1. No!
    Definately not!

    I’ve avoided going into HR like the plague ever since I began training, not my cup of tea. And nor have I heard that perception before



  2. Training and HR

    I reckon, admittedly based on experience rather than evidence, that the 4 most common views are:

    1. Training is part of HR, so I already work there
    2. Training is not part of HR, and thank goodness for that, I don’t want to work there
    3. I came into training because of some particular expertise and I love it, I want to stay in training
    4. I came into training as just another job, I’ll move on after a while, maybe back into the field maybe to some other specialism

    I have not come across the perception or aspiration described by Adrian Snook.


  3. A Point of Clarification
    Dear Rus

    I felt I should intercede at this point.

    You are quite correct in stating that I said this. This perception IS widely held, principally by some senior HR professionals. It is actually a perception fostered by CIPD policy. For example any CIPD member seeking to progress beyond Associate membership is currently required to undertake generalist HR modules which may have no relevance to their actual role!

    I must stress that this attitude is one which The Training Foundation fundamentally disagrees with. It is our mission to address this misconception and to raise the status of L&D practitioners to that of professional equivalency with our HR colleagues.

    In 1994, the memberships of the Institute of Training and Development (ITD) and the Institute of Personnel Management voted in favour of establishing the Institute of Personnel and Development which came into being in May of that year. In turn the Institute of Personnel and Development became Chartered in 2000 and metamorphosed into the CIPD. The outlook that I am referred to actually is part of an unhelpful broader institutional culture that developed within the HR community as a result of that fateful merger in 1993.

    The UK is still living with the consequences of the subjugation of the L&D agenda to that of the personnel management professional. It is no coincidence that the CIPD house journal is People Management, or that the old ITD house journal Training Officer was sold off to Fenman years ago. The brutal truth is that the learning and development community was sold out in 1993 and is still suffering as a result.


    Adrian Snook

  4. Thanks
    Thanks, Adrian, for your rapid and detailed reply.

    I still have never heard the perception but your explanations make it logical and I heartily agree with every other thing you say.

    Training as a discipline also suffers from another major problem; many organisations believe that subject matter experience makes you, automatically, a brilliant trainer. (you only have to read the recruitment adverts and some of the questions posted here to see proof of this).

    These factors, coupled with the issues Adrian refers to do raise concerns worthy of consideration by us all

    Thanks also to Graham and Rich for their replies

  5. Putting down markers
    I suggest its the blurring of boundaries that enables broader HR and others to lessen the status of training.

    We need something like “The Society of Dedicated Training Professionals” to emphasise uniqueness (not separateness) and expertise.

    Having seen this biog on the CIPD website I despair that the incoming CIPD President (Vicky Wright) appears to have limited exposure to L&D

    CIPD – as relevant to trainers as ever?

  6. Trainingzone – case in point?

    I’m dont understand how you can be unaware of this. On this very website (which is edited by a CIPD member) we constantly see articles referring to CIPD (the CIPD ar eoften asked their viewpoint etc) yet rarely see articles or interviews with other dedicated training organisations in this country and abroad. This very site is CIPD dominant.
    If you are going to focus on training then focus on training, find the industry experts and use them.

  7. Trainingzone – case in point?

    I’m dont understand how you can be unaware of this. On this very website (which is edited by a CIPD member) we constantly see articles referring to CIPD (the CIPD are often asked their viewpoint etc) yet rarely see articles or interviews with other dedicated training organisations in this country and abroad. ITOL, ASTD, TAP, IITT etc

    This very site is CIPD/HR dominant.
    If you are going to focus on training then focus on training, find the industry specialists and use them.

  8. In defence
    Hi Mark
    I’m really interested in your perception that we have a CIPD-bias.
    I personally am not a member of the CIPD (although Annie Hayes who was acting editor until recently is). We do try to feature comments and articles on and from a variety of training and coaching bodies, this includes the CIPD. The Institute is a large, well-resourced body that publishes and comments extensively on training as well as HR matters and has a high media profile in general. But, hand on heart, I don’t feel we have a CIPD-bias. Having said that, I will certainly bear in mind your comments and am interested to hear what other members think on this issue.
    Claire Savage
    TrainingZONE Editor

  9. In evidence




    Note how recent these articles are – one of them simply enquires if subscribers attended the CIPD event – a somewhat spurious reason for justifying an article about CIPD – there is no such focus on other training organisations, unless you know otherwise.
    I’ve subscribed to this site for a number of years and I’m not convinced that Trainingzone has the contacts in other organisations. Maybe it was easier for Annie to pick up the phone to her own professional organisation?

  10. juliet’s observation
    Juliet’s observation about Vicky Wright’s biog struck a chord…all that “reward” and “compensation and benefits” experience explains the answer to one of my previous questions…why do so many finance directors think they can run HR?

  11. response to Mark
    Hi Mark
    Thanks for your comments.
    At the risk of sounding like a tit-for-tat, I just wanted to explain, two of the articles you highlight are actually cross posts from our sister site HRZone which can sometimes come up when using our search facility. Neither are unduly pro-CIPD – one discusses the pros and cons of the recent CIPD and another asks for members’ feedback on the event – pretty balanced in my view. Annie Hayes is editor of HRZone as such her CIPD qualification stands her in good stead. Being a member of the CIPD doesn’t mean she is biased or unwilling/ unable to get a broad range of opinions (as shown in one of the articles referred to). She has done a fantastic job editing TrainingZONE in the ten-or-so months I’ve been away.
    ITOL IIT, the Training Foundation, ASTD and the BLA have featured on TrainingZONE and will continue to do so. Your comments, along with other recent membership organisation questions on Any Answers, do make me think it is time for some new articles taking a fresh look at the various representative bodies open to UK trainers. Watch this space…
    Claire Savage
    Editor, TrainingZONE

  12. Cheers me dears
    Thanks for that Claire,

    I dont regard it as tit for tat, merely honest healthy OPEN debate and retort. Something which doesnt happen when conversations are taken offline ;-).

    I seem to remember a posting a while ago that cited a number of membership organisations many of whom I’d never heard of. I venture to suggest I (and others) would be keen for articles on their relative pro’s and con’s, visions and relative clout.

    Let it also be said that TrainingZONE by virtue of its independence is well placed to pick up many of the more contentious issues that vex trainers and are frequently aired on any answers. “Is the CIPD right for trainers?”(discussion of the subject is frowned on within the CIPD)
    – Trainingzone be daring and bold dont just tread the easy path.

    Lastly thanks for not censoring me for a little bit of criticism, although a privately owned communication portal you have restored my faith in freedom of speech and open journalism.

    Now can we get back to Rus’ question which I have to conceed is clouded by the larger point of – are we dominated by HR?(which in itself infers CIPD).

  13. CIPD

    Just to clear it up, on HR Zone we cover CIPD events because as a large professional HR body, the members want to know what’s happening. We aren’t always positive about the CIPD – in fact, they weren’t impressed by the feature “Is the CIPD conference and exhibition worth the effort?” because it provided some negative opinions from HR Zone members. Hope that helps!

    Welcome back, Claire!

    Kind regards,
    Acting Editor, HR Zone

  14. The road ahead for Learning and Development
    Juliet LeFevre’s posting of 11 November suggested that the Learning and Development Community requires an alternative representative body. She suggested “The Society of Dedicated Training Professionals” as a potential title.

    As Mark Starling points out learning and development focused member organisations like the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL), the Institute of IT Training (IITT) and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) do already exist. He also mentioned the Trainer Assessment Programme (TAP). For the record I should point out that this is actually a learning and development skills certification programme operated by The Training Foundation, rather than an organisation in its own right.

    As it happens I don’t believe that the creation of more membership organisations will in itself hold out any prospect of restoring professional equivalency with our HR colleagues. The cold reality is that the financial and power structures within major organisations are now architected in such a way that most L&D professionals are represented at board level by the HR Director. This trend was actually well under way in the 1990’s and almost certainly contributed to the organisational woes that ultimately led the Institute of Training and Development to merge with the IPM.

    As long as most Chief Executives continue to believe the siren song that learning and development is a simply a tool to serve an aspect of Human Resource strategy then I am afraid all hope of professional equivalency is lost. It will be no easy task to change this entrenched perception amongst the upper echelons of the body corporate. Winning hearts and minds will require a huge amount of patience, diligent campaigning and a passion for learning as a tool for genuine competitive advantage. Most importantly of all, it will require the consistent achievement of demonstrable results that are meaningful to business units and not just to HR managers. Once business attitudes change then CIPD policy and membership structures will change, just as day follows night.

    This is the long and difficult mission upon which The Training Foundation has embarked. We look forward to the support of fellow learning and development professionals within employers, training providers and all the relevant membership organisations in the years and months ahead.

    Yours sincerely

  15. Oh Dear ?
    Actually, I see things going the other way. There is a debate going on in People Management mag at the moment about what OD is, whether it’s different to talent management etc. I see it as ‘training’ getting strategic and trainers learning to talk about business strategy enablement.

    So rather than go down Juliet’s route, think strategic and how OD can use bits of HR, rather than HR thinking of training as an operational/delivery piece of HR. (We don’t do ourselves any favours calling ourselves trainers IMHO).

    Coming back to the original question, maybe HR is something you need to dirty your hands with while you’re getting to the top of OD 😉

  16. Can’t be true, can it?
    You mean there’s a perception in non-HR circles that there IS a career in HR?

    Godfrey Parkin

  17. Want to move into HR!!!
    Why would anyone want to move out of a stimulating and fun environment into a HR role?

    In all the years I’ve been in a Training role I have never considered HR roles as a desirable alternative – far too much negative stuff to deal with.

    Re the CIPD debate – I do think Training people are second class citizens when it comes to the support we get from our professional body.


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