The IT training industry is going through plenty of changes. With the credit crunch and recession biting, training budgets have been cut, and we’re moving towards commoditisation of many areas within IT training.
There are several key trends, which we’re already experiencing. Training will not die out, the role of the instructor will not become redundant, but flexibility and adaptation will be key.
As we’ve already seen in the market, there’s been and will continue to be a lot of consolidation. As training providers are acquired and existing ones buy specialist companies to fill in the gaps, the market will change. This is likely to result in less but fiercer competition. While this matters to the training provider, all the customers care about is how wee companies cater to their needs. The survivors in the training industry will be those who are flexible and agile and those who turn themselves into the ‘right shape’.
A more consultative approach is needed. Customers shouldn’t be afraid of asking for more focused training aligned to their business context and ensuring the content addresses the real need. For example, PRINCE2 courses, the process-based method, doesn’t create good project manager in isolation. Project management techniques and personal skills are also required. So, while PRINCE2 training may happen, companies and stakeholders still seem surprised that effective change doesn’t follow by default.
Two things will help here: Firstly being consulted properly on what each course or certification provides in the long term, from a business perspective rather than just deliver a ‘badge’; and secondly having their necessary evaluation in place to measure the outcome of sending staff on a training course.
Evaluate to Justify
Evaluation is something that is often overlooked by both training providers and customers. At the moment it’s not being assessed at the business level, where its impact can be measured. It should be a 360 degree process, not just asking training course attendees what they thought of the instructor, but managing expectations from the start. A learning and development programme should be treated in the same way as any other investment a company makes – you need to prove that it is an investment and not a cost.
Often training is treated as a tick box exercise instead of an output. It can be seen as a business driver, leading to competitive advantage and improved efficiency, but it’s just about how to make those links, At the moment people are sent on courses as part of the wider business activity within a company – upgrading software, an increased workforce, updating skills and so forth – but these theoretical benefits aren’t always realised after training.
Companies need to know how to implement the acquired skills and knowledge in advance. On average, 80 per cent of the skills and knowledge gained within a training environment have the capability of being applied in the work environment: the question is how to make sure they are?
Training remains a key asset that companies can use to differentiate themselves from the competition. It also enables them to remain up to date with the latest technological advances and to better manage and run their operation. What will change is the type of training that’s offered. Not only will it be more heavily tied into business and demonstrating R.O.I., but the level of IT training is also likely to be higher.
With ‘digital natives’ who already have the relevant technology knowledge and skills coming of working age, lower level generic end-user IT training will disappear to make way for more advanced skills acquisition training.
Our European Computer Driving Licence (E.C.D.L.) accreditation has recently been update to Syllabus 5.0 which handles Office 2007. This can be delivered flexibly through an online modular course. This course also includes test papers for preparation for the formal examination in each of the modules the accreditation covers.
In addition to E.C.D.L. we have a small team of experts who can provide training for: E-Marketing and optimising your website correctly for your market, practical business use of Windows Office applications and making better use of Sage and QuickBooks accounting software.
These are delivered at the business premises as tailored packages to meet the individuals learning and development programme with specific learning outcomes.
In addition, in these difficult times, the Welsh Assembly Government may have funding to support you in identifying and receiving training for your staff.