When you're considering establishing a contract training department, there are several trends you should be aware of. These include:
The geometric increase in the need for learning
Today's workers are required to learn new knowledge, skills, and processes on a regular basis. They are expected to keep up-to-date in how to use the ever-changing technology that makes their business "tick." Legislation creates obligation to learn. Workplace trends show that the escalating pace and pressure of business, as well as frequent layoffs, are motivating people to learn more about health and making themselves more marketable in a work environment that makes no promises to care for the individual.
This translates as opportunity for those of us in the training industry.
The geometric increase in the amount of information
Our clients have access to more information than ever before, especially via the Internet. They can, do, and will shop for training and other services from an increasingly wide geographical area and a growing array of competitive providers.
Successful contract training departments will niche themselves well. They will be sure their best clients and prospects know why they should be chosen over the competition and they will make full use of technology to get that word out in the community and beyond.
The dollar squeeze
There is growing pressure to do more, but without expanding resources, in education. The expectation is to grow, but sometimes without commensurate increases in human or physical resources. This really leaves efficiency as our primary option for improvement and survival.
The growth in competition
Training, which used to be the purview of colleges and other public institutions, is now the domain of private vendors, associations, and even office supply stores. The competitive edge that once was provided by virtue of having distinct regions of responsibility is going, going and nearly gone. Bookstores offer free classes for students who will buy the texts from the store. The surviving providers will be the ones who can provide the most relevant curricula in the most convenient format, for the best price. Those who can create measurable results and who are a valued partner for their business clients will come out ahead.
The increase in cost of doing business
This dynamic is two-sided. Businesses are experiencing a general increase in the cost of doing business. This means they are looking for value in every dollar spent on training and other outsourced services. They may be price-shopping, but in the long run, the best clients will be looking for a good value, not just a low price. The cost of running an educational institution has risen, too. This means you'll need to increase both efficiency and profitability if you're going to stay in the game.