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Particulars about posting opportunities

In articles, blogs and discussion I and others have suggested why training often doesn't work. The expectation from the articles on TrainerBase is to hopefully identify the key tasks that need to be undertaken prior to writing a requirement opportunity and offer useful guidance that helps a commissioning manager select the best possible solutions provider.

This article contains advice and guidance specific for a commissioning manager wishing to post an opportunity on TrainerBase and in particular the information I would expect if I were to act on behalf of the purchaser (by posting a Referral). Please feel free to contact me if you want me to undertake this for you; there is no charge.

In the past I have received in excess of a dozen requests a month for help in finding a trainer. The vast majority of these are sent in by individuals who in my view (based on what they are asking) are not experts in what they are doing. A typical request might be:

I need a management trainer next week for a course running in London; can you help?

The simple answer to this request is ‘possibly’ but that doesn’t move the requirement any further. Before I act on behalf of a purchaser I would ask for as much of the following information to be provided:

  • What is (are) the main topic(s) for the course?
    This enables me to filter the number of potential practitioners down to those who have identified they are specialists in the chosen area.
  • What are the objectives for the course?
    This helps identify who the likely participants will be and the level of learning that is expected. By knowing this I may be in a position to filter the potential practitioners to those with the requisite experience.
  • Is the course ‘open’ or for a specific set of staff
    Open courses often have a generic remit to cover as much of a topic as possible as they do not in themselves fulfil a specific need. A course provided for a specific set of staff should have had the staff need analysed and the solution offered will be bespoke.
  • Has the course material been written
    Far too many purchasers of learning and development activities and events seem to think that, when they post an opportunity for a trainer to deliver a one day course, the trainer will provide analysis, design, development and workbooks free of charge. DO NOT expect a learning and development practitioner to provide anything other than the time that you contract them for. Analysis, design, development and materials are extra and are subject to negotiation. And for reference if a commissioning manager requires a course designed, the likely cost of design is the same as delivery. A one day course will take anything from one to five days to develop depending on the complexity and uniqueness of the material.
  • How many days are being contracted?
    A learning and development practitioner will spend a proportion of their time securing work for each and every fee earning day. Indicating the potential number of days will provide a practitioner with criteria needed to pitch a suitable price or day rate.
  • What is your budget
    A commissioning manager may have a set budget for a learning and development requirement. Indicating this is a double edge sword. If the budget is arbitrary, it is potentially unrealistic. That said; to ask for quotes might result in some surprising costs. Purchasers looking for associates should indicate a day rate as this will filter out those who will not work below a certain level of remuneration. And given the international nature of TrainerBase, please indicate the currency.
  • Where will the activity take place
    TrainerBase has trainers on its database from all over the world and all over the UK. Commercial necessity may require the trainer to be sourced from within a certain locality. Please do not ask for trainers to ‘live in a particular location’. The appropriate wording might be; ‘due to commercial constraints, expenses will only be paid to a value of £NN’. This constraint of course may restrict my ability to source a suitable trainer.
  • What about expenses and subsistence
    Many purchasers acknowledge that practitioners incur expenses. It is worth indicating (as above) what your protocol is with regards to travelling and subsistence. Will you pay car mileage at £0.40 or will you restrict your travelling costs to budget rail fare? Do you have a maximum hotel fee? Remember the later you contract with a practitioner the more expensive the expenses are likely to be. And what about international travel? It is expected that a commissioning manager will cover all out of pocket expenses.
  • Qualification or accreditation
    Do you require a practitioner to hold a particular qualification or accreditation. If so; say so. Be aware that it is appropriate to say; ‘level 5 or equivalent’. The ‘equivalent’ covers any omission or award that was not know but has merit.
  • Insurance
    This should not need to be explicit within a contract notice but there are far too many jobbing and hobby trainers in the market who are not covered by any indemnity or liability insurance. If a commissioning manager expects Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance then is it worth stating this within a contract notice.

When posting an opportunity; the more effort a commissioning manager puts into the description, the less effort will need to be expended in filtering out unsuitable applicants.

If a commissioning manager is unsure about how to best go about finding the perfect provider; please feel free to get in touch direct.

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Peter Mayes

Peter Mayes. Peter Mayes is the founder and editor of TrainerBase; dedicated to helping business and other organisations find trainers and trainers find business. Contact details: Tel 07970 746077

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