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Jennifer James

Jenny James Training

Training Consultant

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Preparation or Development???


I would be really interested to receive your thoughts on this.

I am due to deliver a one day programme for a brand new training provider (I am an associate). I have been sent materials that are in no way trainer-ready. I will have to spend a lot of time making the materials into a cohesive training day for the end-client and am beginning to feel rather cheated as the provider company are only paying me for the delivery day.

Naturally, when you deliver a new programme you expect to do lots of preparation, but surely not to actually build the course from the plethora of materials? That must be development - mustn't it????

Looking forward to your opinions.

Enjoy the Easter break.


5 Responses

  1. a not uncommon issue….to some degree

    Hi Jenny

    This issue tends to come about when a consultancy doesn’t charge for design; they skimp on that and it is made up for by the deliverer knowing their stuff.  Then, when that deliverer goes, and is replaced, the material is found wanting.

    The difficulty from your PoV is that if you tell the consultancy that the material is inadequate they will respond "But Chris used to deliver from that material!" and by contrast you look less competent. Of Course if you don’t tell them then you either have to do the development gratis or work off the cuff which isn’t very ‘professional’.

    It’s a tough call.

    What it does show is that the quality assurance process of the consultancy is a bit askew since they clearly don’t assess actuall delivery against material….but again, you may not fancy being the person who breaks this news to them!

    Part of the equation will be "what quantity of work are you likely to get from this provider in this topic?"; in other words, is it worth your writing the material anew?

    When you say a "brand new training provider" do you mean that they are a brand new company or are they just "new to you"? If the latter then the situation has probably come about by the sort of process I’ve mentioned above.  If the latter then it is more possible to leverage the lack of coherent material into an opportunity for you.

    It is also worth looking at the word "preparation" in this instance.  You expect to undertake personal preparation so that you are ready to deliver the course but the situation is more a request that you undertake material preparation so that the course is ready to be delivered.

    I hope that helps?


    (ps time to go and hide some Easter Eggs in the garden!)

  2. New to me

    This is a new-to-me consultancy that is well established in this particular sector. The topic, though, is new to them and they seem to have collected the material together and sent it all out for trainers to pull together a course. The PP slides need a lot of attention too.

    I had hoped for a fruitful relationship with them but if this is how they work then, for the daily rate they are offering, I am not sure it will be worth all the time and effort needed to do a professional job.

    I also have a concern about consistency. There are a number of trainers delivering this programme at a variety of venues around the country (same end-client though) so it may well be that we each deliver it quite differently if there isn’t a firm script/manual/training plan.

    Enjoy the eggs!


  3. Alarm bells


    Rus has provided some useful food for thought. Your response sets really big alarm bells ringing for me. Some initial concerns as has been suggested is that consistency of content will be non existant, outcomes impossible to quantify, quality of delivery will be variable, to name but three. And then there is the ownership of the IP and copyright of materials that you might produce.

    Again as Rus suggests this scenario is not that uncommon; very similar has been reported to me personally on too many occasions over the past ten or so years. I have been personally involved in a couple of instances myself when I was more engaged in training.

    The squeeze on consultancies to get work is contributing to the cutting of corners. There are of course the consultancies (and their clients) who haven’t a clue about learning and development and expect associates to provide their expertise for free.

    There isn’t a single right answer because of the variables pertinent to you. I know of associates who will not entertain working with organisations you describe. I know of other associates who have a different approach and take what comes. To me what is being asked is NOT straight forward (pay delivery only) associate requirements; its going to cost you time and possibly money.

    What is you ‘gut’ saying; it is probably right!

    Peter Mayes
    Founder of TrainerBase
    If here was once there, where is there now?

  4. Preparation or Development

    Hi Jenny,

    I notice that this organisation is a new training provider, I don’t know how long you have been in the training business but do you really need for your business your morale and reputation to be impacted by this providers lack of professionalism? As professionals we ensure through our preparation that what we deliver to the end user is appropriate to transfer skills and knowledge. I suspect that in most cases preparation will always include disretionery effort if you dont put the materials into a logical learning sequence then the audience remembers the experience they had with YOU and not the training company who secured the business. Lets face it – a new training provider with this level of quality and this disrespect for its clients and associates probably isn’t going to be around for very long.

  5. New to me, not new to the business

    Thanks for responses – plenty of food for thought. Just to clarify, the training provider is well established in the sector – they are brand new client of mine though.

    Things have resolved somewhat with the arrival of an updated programme following my querying the quality of the materials.


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Jennifer James

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