Training – commodity or professional service

We are all used to the web based comparison sites for consumer goods, and for the pitch/ tender sites for software and other professional services, but when a site starts a comparison site for training (potentially a strategic advantage for a company) is this right?

Today personnel today launched a comparison site for training, post your needs and it will be posted to suppliers to quote. Nothing wrong with this per say – BUT it sort of misses the point that training is not a commodity, it can never be.

Just before the millennium IT training was turned into a commodity and look at the state of the sector, poor quality, low rates, attracting average or poor performers. In the last couple of years the IITT have been struggling to to raise standards, The Training Foundation that started in IT training have since left that part of the business world behind. Things had to change and they are….BUT it seems that the rest of the training world is about to face the same challenge.

Training works not because of the skills and knowledge imparted, but the culture and attitudes imparted. this can never meet business expectations if the work goes to the lowest bidder. Look what is happening with “Train to gain” very low rates, providers cannot attract enough trainers and assessors and are starting to take short cuts. they cannot increase rates as they have won contracts based on price. this is a very slippery slope.

Cost based procurement work for ‘open’ or ‘public’ courses where there is competition in the market – but for bespoke training… please do not kid yourself. bespoke course development takes time and expertise, and this must be paid for somewhere, or you will have trainers charging £200 a day delivering a course they bought for $49 off the net – do you really want that? will it make your business more effective or up-skill your people?
Better to do no training than waste your money on this!

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