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Purpose of a Training Completion Certificate?


Hi Guys,

I am trying to figure out what is the modern day value/purpose to issuers and receivers of a Training Completion/Attendance certificate. In both a company-internal context and also externally, where the training is not part of a state- or country- recognized certification scheme.

Many organisations even today still issue training certificates for the most surprising of topics. Oddly part relic from former times when presence and attendance needed to be certified/justified. Yet, oddly also more relevant today exactly because organizations think twice as hard about sending someone on either an internal/external face to face training incl. travel costs, than webinars/e-learning where management still buy into the illusion those are cost-free. 

Arguments for:

- Certain cultures obsessed with paper / triplicate / rubber stamping require them

- Students may be instilled with a sense of value/pride to the certificate they have "earned"

- Becomes part of the paper trail linked to continuing professional development (CPD)

- Useful for recruiters and applicants as evidence of life-long learning achievements

- Useful for managers / finance in case of expense claim submission procedures

- An alternative way to "prove" completion at some basic level when data protection/workers councils/trainers wish to avoid judging/scoring classroom participants for their in-class performance.


Arguments against:

- A hassle for trainers/admin to produce, print and dish out (and find right quality paper for printing)

- Some cultures are highly "paperless"

- Training certificates have become so ubiquitous that any potential worth/value is diminished

- Contributes to general paper/digital clutter that is rarely needed once the class is over

- E-Learning / Tests cover the performance part of certification, so classroom as part of blended learning doesn't need any certificate of any kind being issued.


Anyway, what do you think should be the purpose or value of a training certificate?

2 Responses

  1. I think you’ve answered your
    I think you’ve answered your own question really. I am happy to dish out certificates where there is legislation around training and the attendee may need it (for lift truck training, first aid etc.), but for most other things I don’t think it adds much value. I ran a 3 week leadership programme a few years ago and often got asked “Do we get a certificate” but I explained any future employer is far more interested in WHAT you did with the training and what you achieved as a result than a piece of paper saying you were there.

  2. Morning Jonno
    Morning Jonno
    The value lies in motivation – people are partly motivated by achievement and recognition (ie from Herzberg’s motivation theory). I have a theory that it works more for less educated/ more manual type of people (they achieved less at school) but I haven’t explored that theory further.
    Best wishes
    Bryan – course delivery and off shelf course materials

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