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Message 1 of 6: Peter Mayes on 23/10/2012
Hi all

During my readings and writings of the past weeks I have been pondering again (as I do) the meaning of training as an occupation/profession. Acknowledging the dictionary term for profession I wonder whether there is a more fundamental perception in the market that excludes training / learning and development from being seen as a profession.


The identity, credibility and wider perception of the professionalism of an individualís occupation is not governed or influenced by the achievements and accolades of the few outstanding practitioners and exemplars that inspire advocates to greater endeavours. The perception of credibility is influenced by the number of individuals who, in the absence of anything else to do, are able, without restriction, to take up the occupation.


Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 2 of 6: Michelle McArthur on 23/10/2012
May be it's me, but I think that credibility is based upon evidence and proof of having an indepth theoretical and practical knowldge of a subject area, such as L&D. Also having a successful track record of practicing/ delivering is essential. A successful track record in L&D being where one can demonstrate that the learning outcomes were clearly aligned to the learning objectives, the needs of the indivdiuals and the business.

I do not think there is any credibility in a profession by opening it up to such a point that it is open to anyone, without the need for some form of qualification or experience based accreditation.
My concern is for the sustainability, by allowing anyone to practice, it devalues the true worth of the profession. Day rates are constantly being pushed down, due to the lack of commercial experience/knowledge of some, and rates are now getting so low that they are not sustainable. I also fear about the quality of work being delivered by some. What about the longer term reputation of our profession? What will happen to the overall credibility of our profession, if we have increased numbers of providers who have entered the "profession" in the absense of anything else to do?

My question is, if we are a true profession, why don't we act and think as one? If accountants and lawyers are classified as professionals then surely when as L&D professionals we are working with the complexities of human behaviour where if the wrong advice or solution is offerred we can have long lasting negative effects upon individuals and organisations, we should also be classified as a profession. However in doing so we must start to be regulated in some way.

My second question is, have lawyers and accountants slashed their fees, in line with the L&D day rate slashings? I think not.

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Message 3 of 6: Peter Mayes on 24/10/2012

Thanks for the response. I am reading a number of books and articles on Professional Services Procurement and there is little reference to training and development being one of these, apart from a subset of HR.

Is it that some conduct themselves in a professional way but are not part of a profession?

Anyone else got any thoughts?

Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 4 of 6: Joy Wilson on 24/10/2012
I had an interesting conversation with the lovely Jooli Atkins recently and much of what Michelle has written above echo's that conversation.

As many of you know I try to tackle issues of professionalism in the industry on my blog and while it gets lots of attention, its a sad fact that many purchasing decisions are made on day rate and not the ability to make a measurable difference. the "entertainer" Trainer commands a low day rate and gets ticks in all the right placed on the happy sheet and that is considered a job well done.

I am currently designing a new web site and trying to overcome the damaging title by which I am known "A Trainer". That title puts me amongst the "hobby trainers" and yet so much skill, knowledge and effort or expertise that goes into designing development that is strategically aligned, competency based and achieves recognition of an awarding body.

I must admit there are occasions when I consider going back into full time employment because I think these skills may be better valued in a strategy role within an organisation.

UK:01942 713309 or 077404 30232 Skype+44 (0) 191 645 0713

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Message 5 of 6: Peter Mayes on 24/10/2012
Joy et al

The term trainer was one that the architects of the Standard battled with; I now have adopted learning and development practitioner in much of the accreditation materials.

The 'credibility' issue has been around and discussed for a while. How many institutes are there associated with LnD: LPI, ITOL, CIPD, The BILD.

I notice that there is some movement with regards to practitioner capability but as I suggested in my original post it is not the activity at the leading edge of the occupation that is the problem it is the open door at the entry.

An interesting topic that I wanted to test the water about and it seems that the concerns of practitioners is growing deeper not getting better.

Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 6 of 6: Jan Brause on 26/10/2012
Hi Peter et al

I have personally avoided the term 'Trainer' since becoming self employed 10 years ago. It seems to hold the message of something 'being done' to others. Whereas I see development and learning as much more of an engaging and collaborative approach to adding value for the individuals and the organisation - even skills based learning.

Whilst some might consider it just semantics, the point is, it really does have impact on expectations for organisations and for participants.

I recently had a request direct from my website to quote price for the delivery of a one day workshop. When I attempted to enquire about the all important context for this piece of work, I was met with firstly no response and then a further request to simply supply what had been asked for - I didn't.

I tend to steer away from this sort of work as my view is that we need to collaborate with the organisation to design (or at least understand the context for a piece of work) before commiting to delivery. In that way we start to model in learning and developement as opposed to simply 'rocking up' to deliver something that may well have little or short term impact for the business.

I guess for me when I see 'Trainer', I associate it with someone who 'does to' as in 'I will train you' where as Learning & Development is about collaborating to generate a learning and development outcome together.

We can all churn out materials/models to 'give' to participants but in my mind the true professionals are those who can help the participants engage and connect with them at different levels in order to change their behaviour and be different in their work.

The ability to do this comes from a sound knowledge and skill base, experience, work on self, developing our own self-awareness as practitioners and modelling in the sort of relationships we want our clients/participants to have with each other.

I will step down from my 'soap box' now!


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