Communication transformation

TAP Certificate in Training Delivery Skills
Designed and delivered by:
The Training Foundation
Foundation House
Millburn Hill Road
University of Warwick Science Park
Coventry CV4 7EZ
Phone: 02476 411288
www.trainingfoundation.com

CAPS Solutions specialises in property-based software that local authorities use in areas such as building inspection, environmental health, trading standards and licensing. More than 250 customers use our software, which enables council officials to manage and share all their property-related data across departments using integrated applications.

Because the software relies on GIS (geographic information system) and was becoming increasingly complex to operate, the way we trained its users needed to be more effective.

I made a judgement about where we stood with the training skills of our consultants and, as well as reviewing the way these were being developed, introduced the Trainer Assessment Programme (TAP) last year. Until then, our consultants were not armed with the necessary techniques for strong, structured training. The approach had been to deliver training on site, but very much with a consultative slant. We have taken the same people, used the skills they already had, and then developed those skills in terms of training people. This is a completely different beast to going in to an organisation as a consultant.

Our consultants were either sent on a three-day refresher course costing 1,050, or a full five-day course, costing 1,750. Both are public courses delivered by The Training Foundation, and all 12 people who have attended so far have gained the TAP Certificate in Training Delivery Skills. These certificates were awarded by the Institute of IT Training, one of the three awarding bodies for TAP.

Not all the consultants were convinced that TAP was a good idea, and we had all sorts of opinions about the need for training. We also had big variations in people’s ability to deliver it effectively. But all of them, without exception, found the courses useful and relevant. I was particularly pleased to see how enthused they were on their return and how quickly they implemented what they had learned. Comments included: “The course really built my confidence”, “Learning about questioning techniques was a revelation” and “I used the new skills the day after the course and they worked brilliantly”.

The course consists of six programmes covering training delivery, facilitation, design and development, coaching, learning centre support and ‘smarthelp’, which is about providing effective technical support through good coaching. TAP is underpinned by 21 competencies, including knowing how to prepare for a training intervention, and using a balanced approach for training delivery.

Some of the consultants are so enthused by the course that they are now planning to take the TAP diploma in learning facilitation skills. This equates to a level five National Qualification Framework as opposed to a level three for the TAP certificate. The consultants value these qualifications because they feel they are part of their personal development, as well as providing a public demonstration of their competence in training.

From our point of view, there have been two main benefits: the consultants are more careful about how they structure the training, and there is much more interaction between them and the delegates they are training. Previously, consultants delivered information in a classroom setting, and there wasn’t much feedback from the delegates. People learn more effectively when they are actively involved in their training, as they were on this course.

Another advantage of having officially certified trainers is that it shows a commitment by CAPS to provide our customers with good quality training. Some of the feedback we are getting from them is very positive in terms of the effectiveness of the training and the enjoyable way in which it is now being delivered.

Within our company, the importance of treating training as separate entity to consultancy has also become clearer. As well as using our consultants to provide training, we also have some external trainers who mainly work for one of our partner companies. They are now expected to either hold a TAP certificate, or to be working towards one. The certificate also now forms part of the company’s induction programme for anyone joining our consultancy team.

CAPS Solutions

Jan Singleton is training and development manager at CAPS Solutions.

The project-based organisation specialises in the delivery of software products and solutions, consultancy and services.

Perfect fit

TAP has succeeded in giving our consultants a sense of personal development as well as improving the effectiveness of training we provide our customers with. The CAPS programme was able to accommodate a wide variety of training styles and personalities.

Value for money – four out of five
Ability to meet business needs – four out of five 
Impact – five out of five
Ease of use  – five out of five

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