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New professional Institute for trainers launches


Earlier this month, the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL) was launched by a group of enthusiastic and practicing training professionals interested in networking and supporting other trainers.

The initiative arises from discussions over the past year amongst a group of trainers who felt that there was no professional body with which they could easily identify or engage with. Some of the existing professional body options have extensive membership criteria which are seen as being less relevant to many trainers; others seem to be institution-led, rather than member-led.

It's a bold venture, backed by a core group of twenty-odd trainers, many of whom live around North-West England. They've used their own money to set up the Institute, pubish the first edition of a learned journal, and publicise the organisation.

Jeffrey Brooks is the first Director and has taken a year's 'sabbatical' from this own training company to get the Institute going. He described the process as "a soft launch" since whilst attracting interest and recruiting members, the Institute is still completing the constitution and registering as a legal company.

In describing the aims of the new Institute, Jeffrey wants to "genuinely develop the membership through ourselves". He wants people to be involved at a practical and networking level, which many fail to do with the existing bodies. "By members, for members" is a recurring theme - but one which the founders are obviously keen to encourage.

Already the first edition of the Institute's Journal has been published. It's 90 pages contain more than half-a-dozen articles on a range of subject including emotional intelligence, learning styles, development centres, learning organisations and IiP. TrainingZone will carry a review of the Journal shortly, but the approach is more learned than tabloid, and intended to be critically thoughtful.

There is clearly a risk that the new Institute will be seen as competing with bodies such as the IPD. With 95,000 members, the IPD has little to worry about. Jeffrey sees ITOL as appealing to a different consitituency - practicing trainers working full-time or part-time in the role, who want to engage with other trainers about professional issues, and who seek recognition for their own abilities and professional standing.

ITOL will be concerned with professional standards and will adopt a positive policy towards CPD. However, whilst interested in accreditation, the new body has no intention of competing with its members for the delivery of training or accreditation.

Membership categories and subscriptions are presently:
Fellow - £82.00
Member - £69.00
Associate Member - £49.00
and there's an online form to receive a membership pack.

This is a bold and exciting move. Research at last year's Training Solutions Show demonstrated that more than 60% of delegates would welcome a professional body for trainers. Whether ITOL is the answer - or whether other bodies re-position themselves to accommodate the needs of training professionals - will be an challenge for all. It's a development we'll follow with interest.


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