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Selecting A Training Provider

Selecting A Training Provider

Since the introduction of the Seta system the number of training providers has grown exponentially. The Setas are supposed to quality manage training providers to ensure that good standards of training are maintained. However, the system of quality management is based on unit standards. Each unit standard has specific outcomes and assessment criteria, all of which must be met by the training provider.

The problem is that the most basic step – identifying training needs was not properly undertaken in the first place. Unit standards have been registered, not because they filled a real training need, but rather because they were available – someone had written a standard to fit into their particular course. For example, nobody in their right mind would deny coaching and one-on-one training are essential skills for any supervisor but there is currently no suitable unit standard at NQF level 4. On the other hand, the NQF level 4 Generic Management qualification includes unit standards for ‘Record a rock art site’ and ‘Recover human skeletal remains.’ To make matters worse, unit standards are in many instances poorly written.

This leaves training providers with a situation where they have to make do with whatever standards are available. Some training providers write their training programmes strictly according to unit standards. They meet the criteria asked for and are accredited but they don’t necessarily cover the subject matter that should be covered. They also deal with complex subject matter very superficially – meeting Seta requirements but actually only creating conscious incompetence amongst their learners. This can result in training having the exact opposite effect to what was intended. For example training in discipline can result in supervisors failing to discipline because they now fear the consequences of having disciplinary action go wrong.

There are training providers who claim to be able to train chairpersons to conduct a disciplinary enquiry in two days. They go through the subject matter and they may deal with case law but they do not provide learners with a step by step approach, the facilitating skills or the legal background information they require. It is important therefore that employers are selective in who they engage to do their training.

Some tips for selecting a training provider are as follows:

  1. Be sure that you have a training need. Often training is not the right option, especially if there are performance barriers that will prevent the implementation of the training. The training provider should be able to help you establish what the needs are and assist you to address other issues which might be giving rise to problems.
  2. Establish whether the training provider and the facilitator(s) are subject matter experts with practical experience. This can be gleaned from the questions they ask at the outset and whether they ask to look at appropriate documentation (e.g. your disciplinary procedure and related documents).
  3. Ensure that the provider is flexible in approach and will customise or adapt the training materials to your needs and situation.
  4. Examine the content. Good training providers use a systems based approach. This is especially important where procedures are being taught (e.g. how to apply discipline in the workplace). The provider’s training material should fit in with your systems.
  5. Establish what training methodology and training aids are used. If practical skills are a required, make sure that there are role plays and practical exercises that will develop those skills. If videos are to be used, make sure they are appropriate.
  6. Establish what after sales service will be provided. For example will a feedback report on the training be provided? Are learners permitted to phone the facilitator after the training to ask for advice?
  7. Lastly, compare ‘apples with apples’. Do not compare an ‘overview’ with skills training. Some providers claim to be able to cover more in their training than is possible. Make sure that the training covers all the basics and allows sufficient time for the development of skills.

For more information on B&A’s range of systems-based training programmes’ augmented by authentic South African videos and supported by professional training consultants, contact your local B&A office at Durban (031-3094627), Johannesburg 0861-474722, Cape Town 021-5270044, Port Elizabeth 041-3682019, Kokstad 039-7271773, Margate 039-3122698, Richards Bay 035-7531255 or click here