Should you be certified?

Certification (or not) of programmes and workshops creates lively debate amongst the training fraternity. Often there is a degree of self-interest – if you deliver a certified programme you will certainly highlight the benefits to the end user – that way you get more work. If your content isn’t dependent on an examining board you will probably argue the opposite. So you will have a bias – consciously or unconsciously.

Objectively – it should simply be about what you need out of the training. Most people do like the idea of a qualification; it makes the hard work physically validated. And from an HR point of view, there is something concrete to brandish in front of senior management and bottom-line-focused procurement teams. But beware …

One problem with certified courses is that they have very strict criteria and little room for tailoring to the needs of each organisation and its delegates. I’m sure I’m not the only trainer to have been met in the past with the cry “But this isn’t what we wanted”. My reluctant answer …“I know, but in order to gain the certificate we must cover it anyway”

What you need to see is a visible change in the way delegates do their job on return to the workplace – remembering of course that they must have the opportunity and encouragement to use their new skills otherwise all is lost anyway!.

One of my clients recently put a group of managers on a very expensive, certified management course. They did not improve and for the most part, still struggled even with basic management tasks. Why? It transpired that they had been spoon-fed throughout the workshops and given clues, hints and even full answers in the exams so the trainer’s pass results would look good. And thus the theory had not even transplanted into the delegates’ heads – leave alone into the workplace!

So, to be … or not to be … Weigh up the checks and balances for your delegates in your organisation – and don’t be swayed by self-interest from the trainers.

Action Point: If you are struggling to know what’s best for your delegates and you want to discuss the pros and cons of certification in more detail, contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team.

Training Success Tips

Stratus Associates