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If you think of a large-scale training programme as a system it becomes easier to improve the quality and impact of its services.

The essence of systems thinking is that the whole must be more than the sum of the parts. This comes about when the relationships between the parts are managed well and there is good feedback between the parts and the whole. Our risk-based approach to monitoring and evaluating, and improving the performance training programmes is founded on this.

When large training programmes operate as a collection of silos, everything suffers – morale, service quality, client perception, return on investment.

The silos include programme design, scheduling and bookings, marketing and sales, client and learner administration, training centre management, training and assessment standards, approval of training organisations, trainer selection and development, design and update of learning materials, learning support, trainer performance, and learner evaluation. For good or ill, the performance of each and every one of these affects the quality and impact of the training. There is no point making improvements in one area if you neglect the others.

Assuring the quality of training programmes is a mulitifaceted process which involves:

  • consolidating the whole system
  • squeezing out problems and misalignments in the parts
  • creating an open, trusting culture of team work and continuous improvement
  • generating better, more sustainable learning outcomes

In our experience, it is far easier to deal with bad teaching, poor venues and inappropriate training materials than to improve the performance of managers (at programme level or in the training supply chain) who can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s even more difficult when the design of the training programme has locked these problems in.
So when we read in the press about the promise that only suitably competent tradespeople will deliver works eligible for the new Green Homes Grant we trust (for the sake of customers on the receiving end of their work and the taxpayers who are funding it) that the processes for training them, verifying their competences and assessing their actual performance are linked.