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Train the trainers – cause to be wary?


I would appreciate any advice on how to respond to a request to train the trainers.

I deliver a specialist course in communication. A large city council has asked us if we can train their trainers to deliver this course.  I am wary of  handing over my ideas, resources etc to another organisation, so my questions are: 1) What am I right to be wary of? 2) Can I get any copyright for the course/materials?  3) How much more (% ) should we charge for train the trainers training, compared to our normal rate.  Any advice on how to approach this would be much appreciated. Many thanks,  Clare Hobart

10 Responses

  1. good question!

    Hi Clare

    It's astounding how naive this client is…..they expect that you will be happy to watch them take your intellectual property and then cut you adrift with no more income.  Not unlike calling a taxi, asking the driver for the keys and then expecting him to get out and let you take his cab!

    1. Do you want to let them do this to you?

    2. If so how much lost revenue will you be incurring; this will dictate how much you charge to train their trainers.

    3. Are you, and they, confident that their in house trainers will provide the same quality of delivery and outcome.

    You could offer to train a small group of selected trainers, and then ask for a royalty every time they deliver your course.  This would allow you to retain a degree of quality control and avoid losing the future income.

    I hope this helps




  2. We are not professionals!

    My take on this is a bit different, though I endorse the above.

    Train the trainer devalues and demeans our performance standards and self perception of professionalism.

    Do we see 'train the lawyer', 'train the doctor' or how about 'train the train driver'?

    Unthinkable that in a day or sometimes two we can do what these real professionals do for a living.

    Too many feel they can do what we have studied years to do, and some of us actually maintain our professional competence…others feel they can step in and do it well enough to satisfy a client.


  3. First Aid

    I did a 3 Day First Aid course with St Johns but it doesnt make me a Doctor.

    However, if you have a heart attack when I am around you will stand a better chance of surviving than if I wasn't.

    I don't think a TTT is designed to produce Trainers, it's to give people who deliver training on the odd occasion a fighting chance of not falling flat on their face.

  4. TTT – good idea or not?training

    I have spent a lot of time offering direct delivery as well as licensing materials into client sites. 

    Both work well if certain conditions are met.

    To licence:

    You will need to see a copyright lawyer and draw up a detailed description on what you intend to licence.  This is a job for a professional IP lawyer – nothing else will do. 

    Then TradeMark Key elements of the Workshop – using a professional Trademark Lawyer

    Be exceptionally clear about the content, running order and learning processes. 

    Set up a contract with your client using a Licensing agreement provided to you by your IP lawyer.

    Re the commercials – we normally charge a hefty fee per TTT place plus a cost licence per participant. 

    Remember you will also have to train the client's people in training techniques as well as content so it does take longer – and this process does cost a lot to set up.

    Let me know if this is useful 

  5. train the trainers



    Some great points made by Rus, Andrew and Steve. 

    My humble comments are:

    1 – be wary of them "borrowing" your material,  using you once and then not using again, or making you feel uncomfortable if you say no to train the trainer.  

    2 -yes of course you can create copyright for your own material.  Do you want others to use the material you've developed or could part of your course involve teaching them the design skills so they create their own course?  Would you want your brand cheapened by others, or would they want the materials unbranded.

    3 – will all depend on what you are charging now.   You need to consider that if you train their staff to deliver your course then your income is going to reduce as they won't need to get you in.   

    Personally i'd avoid the Royalty approach as how will you know when they use your course?   You can't track usage externally.   If they want your materials as they are then sell them on or licence them for a fee that is substantial enough to offset the loss in your earnings.   Or make them reconsider and continue using you directly. 

    Sorry to ask the obvious but have you asked them what is influencing their decision to want a train the trainer course?   I can guess at answers but only they know. 


    Good luck, it will be interesting to know how you get on.

  6. Train the Trainers

    I agree with the comments made, however if they are looking to run the course in-house in some form you are likely to lose them as a client at some point.  I would point out to the client that it is a specialised communication course and would require a specific skillset to deliver however you would be prepared to train their trainers and to see your course material.  this gives you the option to charge for the additional train the trainer sessions and a lump sum or licence fee to use your material over a certain period of time.  I would calculate this based on how many sessions you are likely to deliver over a specific period of time.  You are right to want to protect your intellectual property and you can copyright this for a small fee (I think it's about £40).  If you want any info on putting a course for train the trainers together, let me know as this is one I run regularly to train people who do a little bit of training or cascade training to others. 

    Do be wary, but see this as an opportunity also

  7. Copyright vs IP

    Hi Clare

    Some good points already made. However do be clear about the difference between copyright and intellectual property; what do you want to protect?

    The protection (Copyright) of your visual materials is a 'given' within law; 'substantially' another person cannot copy your material without permission. Intellectual property; a process, idea, knowledge or other definable (but intangible) asset may require protection via trade mark or patent.

    Helping business find trainers.

  8. Update

    Many thanks for all your responses. I took them on board and made a proposal which made my own delivery of the training more attractive.

    Their budget is very tight and they were looking at  TTT as a way of training lots of staff in an economical way.

    I found your answers encouraging. I  had been wondering whether I was being over precious about my own expertise and understanding of my training.      


  9. Train the Trainer

    Hi All,

    Even though I understand the concerns made in the previous comments, However I think you are taking this too far and complicating it. What I would suggest is that before your training try and find out exactly what they need and what can you offer. Am sure that a workshop or one week Train the Trainer course is not that thorough or specialised to the extent of speaking to a lawyer and considering copy right. In my trainings, what I offer sometimes is a generic course of action or consept or sometimes maybe suggestions or recommendations. Nothing too specific. Besides, Train The Trainer is not rocket science or brain surgery. By the way, even those courses don't require a copy right or theft of intellectual property.

    Provide them with "not so deep" material, but good enough to impress them and encourage future calls.

    Go ahead and make the best of this opportunity.



  10. Info on pricing licenced material

    The Training Journal produced a very comprehensive article about how to price licensed training and the point at which it become viable. It gives a very useful way (mathmatical formula) of looking at pricing. It is in the March 2009 magazine-  you can find the archive online version here:



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