No two employees have equal strengths. The same goes for training providers.

Chisholm's Industry Engagement Manager Simon Upton explores what should be a business's key considerations when choosing a training partner.

We know the level of workforce skills and knowledge is intrinsically tied to organisational productivity and profitability. Likewise, the quality of training is central to whether an organisation achieves its business performance goals.

Training providers deliver workforce solutions. But only the best work as partners that get involved in the entire process of understanding your organisation and culture, conducting a needs analysis, customising a program, and evaluating results against goals. The focus should be ensuring a return on investment for the business and not just training for the sake of training.

A successful training program is one that brings a group of employees to a higher uniform level of skills and knowledge so the whole workforce is reliable. Not only does good training lead to increased efficiency within the workforce; employees are motivated when individual strengths are nurtured and capitalised.

In a highly competitive business environment, a highly skilled, high performing and motivated workforce can be the difference between an average business and an industry leader. 

But how does an organisation select a training partner? What are the key considerations?

Five questions to ask a training provider

What's your track record in achieving results?

The saying “your reputation precedes you” rings true here. It’s not only what a training partner says about itself that’s important but what others say about it. Are a provider’s claims of achievement in delivering vocational education and training validated by industry members and the community? What are some case study examples of success in the area where training is required?

What training standards do you use?

Registration with key governing bodies such as the Victorian Skills Quality Authority and the Australian Skills Quality Authority reflect the standing of your training partner, as stringent criteria have to be met. Getting the best return on investment in quality training is crucial for any workforce manager.

Are workforce skills standardised?

Handing out certificates of qualification at the end of a training program may look easy. The challenge, however, lies in the evaluation of an individual’s training performance that adheres to industry best practice and benchmark standards. By strengthening the weaknesses of individuals to a standardised level of skills and knowledge across the entire workforce, a company no longer has to overburden some while underutilising others. For large organisations with employees spanning different geographic locations, the need for standardised training becomes even more pertinent.

Can you bring training to the workplace?

One important reason for organisations delaying workforce training is because of the interruption it brings to the workplace. This “down time” can however be reduced if training is flexibly conducted at the workplace. With no extra time needed for employees to familiarise themselves with a new environment and equipment, workplace training skills are immediately applicable to work situations.

Workplace training also aligns well with the now widely accepted 70:20:10 framework which contends the majority of learning (70%) happens informally on the job while working, 20% through coaching, mentoring and support from experienced colleagues and the remaining 10% through structured learning.

In the growing industry of logistics and transport for example, Chisholm can flexibly conduct workplace training, but also has 20 training sites, including purpose-built facilities, strategically located across Australia. 

Can your program be customised?

An on-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all training program may not be effective in providing a specific workforce solution. Customisation grounded on research and analysis offers far more innovative responses in the development, design and delivery of a program. Customer-centred training reflects a commitment to both the client and its employees. Success hinges on a creative and flexible delivery using broad investigations into the possible impact of social, economic, political and environmental issues on hand, coupled with how participants communicate and engage. Does the use of information technology through e-learning make it easier? Or are quizzes, role playing and demonstrations more effective than group discussions? The expertise of a training partner is reflected in its curriculum design and delivery.
As winner of both the 2014 Australian Large Training Provider of the Year and 2014 Victorian Large Training Provider of Year, Chisholm is proud to be recognised for its quality programs driven by clear strategy and staff leadership. Our partnerships with industry and commitment to student-centred learning has allowed us to continue to grow and develop a world-class training system.

Simon Upton heads up Chisholm's Industry Engagement Team. Email Simon directly to discuss your business's training or call him on  +61 3 9238 8133.