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Where do I start?



I am studying for my CTP and was just put forward to start a training function at my company. We are an IT company undergoing a major rethink of how we do things and will require some cross training to increase output to start with.

While I would love to be jumping and down because this could be the springboard I needed (liked the metaphor, here?), I just stand there perplexed.
Where do I start?!!!

Any help/ pointers/ kick in the bum therapy would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Elsa Mailloux
Elsa Mailloux

14 Responses

  1. Training Needs Analysis
    Firstly congratulations on your new role.

    You’d be best off starting with a training needs analysis and the best place to start that is with the company business plan – both their short-term and long-term plans (if they’re available), if there’s no formal plan then you need to assess what the intentions are by talking to your directors.

    Once you know where the business is heading and what they intend to do, then you need to do a gap analysis – i.e. determine what you haven’t got in terms of skills, behaviours etc. in order to achieve the business plan. You could do this in a variety of ways – interviews, questionnaires, observation etc.

    Then when you know what’s missing you need to develop a plan to fill those gaps.

    And that will probably keep you busy for the first month or three…

    It sounds like a great opportunity, good luck with it.

  2. consultation
    Just about to reply with same ideas as first response – agree with them entirely. When looking at training needs analysis, consult, value, consult, value….. If you have staff that are committed to their prof. dev. you’ll be half way there and job will be easier long term. I’m currently training as access auditor and part of that role is to look at training and obviously access for all areas (physical and service delivery and the web )The organisation looks at a far wider range of issues than just awareness training but identifies gaps within a service and looks at how to plug them. This also allows opportunities to create a strategic plan for lots of other areas. Could be opportunities to “kill two birds with one stone”. Anyway, definitely go with analysis and consult and value staff input. Have had lots of experience in public sector setting with this so email if you’d like (also for disability input if you’d like)

  3. Include Measures
    I agree with the comments so far and would add – get some measures in place as soon as possible. It depends on your organisation as to what you can measure and at first this could be almost anything.

    This will give you data to use later on. It could be that the measures do not tell you anything, except measure something else. However, it does show management that you understand the wider side of the business.

    If possible – link back the measures to the company business plan.

    Best of luck.

  4. Thanks
    Thank you all for your input!
    I put a little eight page something together in the past two nights where I make suggestions on who needs what in the departments I know since we’re very segmented and never work with other departments (major cultural problem I would have to tackle).
    I put a comment in there saying I could only make these suggestions based on common sense and mess ups I noted in the past 3 years, and also mentionned that nothing would be set in stone until I was given further information about
    a) whether I definitely got the job since the document is to justify my future role (a bit of a back to front way of doing things, but stimulating nonetheless!)
    b) where we were going as a company and
    c) whether I was given the green light to carry out a systematic TNA which would provide tangible information.

    Do you have specific KPIs to measure the success of a training function? If yes, what are they? I fear as I am in IT, all management will be interestd in are stats and strict adherence to KPI targets in all areas. Training is subjective and emotional. How does it mix with KPIs in your experience?

    Also, do you know of skills matrix examples for departments like customer services, technical support and outbound sales?

    Who develops the trainer? Do you find it’s very much a solo thing if you work on your own for a company?

    I found this site for free soft skills resources if you are interested, I thought it was pretty good since it’s full of liks to other sites:

    Thank you!


  5. Kirkpatrick
    It always comes back to Kirkpatrick in the end. In order to evaluate the efficieny of the training function you need to understand the 4 levels of evaluation described by Kirkpatrick and then put sensible measures in place to catch them.

    Unfortunately the hard part for most training functions is demonstrating ROI as monitoring and measuring this can be extremely expensive and time consuming in itself as well as very difficult.

    But… if you have the business plan then you should be able to measure success against your training plan by demonstrating firstly that you have delivered the training required by the plan (and hopefully on time and in budget), that participants felt that the training was beneficial (happy sheets, test results and feedback from appraisals/managers etc.), that managers feel that the training was beneficial (performance monitoring, appraisals etc.) and then hopefully the company should be achieving it’s goals (and if you’re really lucky you’ll be able to but a cash value to that and then you could cheekily provide a ratio of training spend to increased business profitability and demonstrate ROI that way).

    A word of warning though – if behaviours are not translating into the workplace it doesn’t necessarily meant that the training was bad. It may well mean that there is no organisational support for those behaviours from managers and supervisors and they are not being reinforced on the job – please remember to achieve real buy in and support from managers etc. and that they are able to support your training efforts otherwise it may all end up being a waste.

    As for skills matrices – I wouldn’t use an off the shelf measure as they often don’t come close to tallying from organisation to organisation you’d be better off taking a 1 or 2 day course to learn to develop them yourself and then do so in consultation with your board and management. However if you do a google search under competency frameworks, skills matrices etc. then you can find some really good example frameworks (I particularly liked the British Council’s competency framework even though it was a tad verbose).

  6. OK
    OK thanks, I’ll do a search on this, thanks for the tips. I’ll make sure I have exact details of the business plan before getting started.

    It looks like my proposal was a lot more than was expected of me, so I am 80% sure to have the job. Scary thought… only 6 months into my CTP and starting up a department by myself for 80 people…part time… Good job I was a teacher before, at least I don’t have to worry about the delivery side of things!

    Off to dream about ROI…


  7. Measures are so important…
    Elsa – what a fantastic opportunity – I hope you are confirmed in the role, and wish you all the best!

    I’d like to make a suggestion or 2 myself. The responses you have had so far are excellent and I very much agree with their sentiments.

    Your last posting on this thread ended with “I’m off to dream about ROI…”

    There is a perception that measuring at the ROI level is expensive and time consuming. As somebody who has been actively working in implementing ROI measurement systems for nearly 4 years now, this is certainly the case in organisations that are managed in a “certain way”. By this I mean that data-driven, fact-based decision making by managers is very ‘thin on the ground’. This seems to be a description that can be applied to almost every organisation you could name. In organisations that are not like this, the activities and resources required to perform ROI type measurements of training activity are an integral part of how the organisation operates – i.e. it costs almost NOTHING EXTRA to do the ROI evaluations. It is also possible to predict quite accurately what the ROI will be BEFORE committing resources to the training activities.

    It is not often that somebody gets to start up a training function. I’d be very happy to help you establish some measures as you start the training function (I also have 10 yrs experience as a training manager, in IT and Hi Tec/manufacturing environments) and in return I’d just like to be able to write the experience up as a case study, without naming names if required.

    I am in the USA at present, about to present a paper on this topic to their version of the CIPD at their annual conference, but back in the UK from 27 June. I can pick up emails while away. I am at [email protected].

    I have a number of articles on evaluation here on trainingzone, and I suggest you also search out stuff by Paul Kearns.

    I am just doing a similar activity with a sea port operator. Measures in their training function are linked directly to key customer measures (i.e. measures the customers see as most important), such as berthing on arrival, ship on-time departure, efficiency of the terminal operation. There are also training-specific measures such as how complete each employee’s training is against the competence matrix for their role, talent management coverage, ROI of training, satisfaction levels of line managers (customers of the training function) and employees (users of the training function).

  8. thank you
    Thank you for your input.
    Martin, I will try to help as best I can as soon as I have confirmation. I was hoping for some news today, but good things come to those who wait.

    I will have a loot at the site.Thank you.


  9. Trainers’ Tools
    Trainers’ Library ( is likely to be of real benefit to you. It gives you easy access to all the tools to build interactive classroom courses and lots of other help, like a quotations directory and articles. It’s also worth looking in the library section of Training Zone for help on things like TNA.

  10. library
    Greatm thanks, I’ll have a closer look at this site if I have confirmation (still nothing, grmlbrmlbmbl) because I can’t quite dish that much money out myself just yet… received my CIPD renewal…

    Thanks for the tips. I’ll keep you posted!

  11. yeepee

    We’re on, I was given the job!! Now I have to list the responsibilities myself for a T&D coordinator…any input welcome :°)

  12. Congratulations
    Well done indeed, and what a great start to your career.

    Take a consultative approach to defining your role – approach managers and the board and ask them what they would expect from the role, not just initially but in the long term.

    Then put your role together with an initial role description and a development plan towards where you want it to be in a couple of years time.

    Not only will this help you to define your role but as you conduct a company wide TNA it may help you to be able to define other people’s roles.

    Make sure that you include the basics though – Training Needs Analysis, Design & Delivery (If you’re involved in that) and Evaluation. Sourcing of training etc.

    Good luck in the new job, hope it turns out brilliantly for you.

  13. Thank you Nik
    Thank you!

    I have collated a huge number of requirements for the role and am trying to slim it down a little. I have included the parts you mention, I am still waiting for the scope of the remit, which is hindering progress a little…


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