Why do people take training courses?

There are as many reasons as there are courses, but let’s look at the top five.

To learn something new

It sounds obvious, but many people will attend a training course to learn a new skill. Perhaps there’s a new version of a technology available that you need to learn to use, or you’ve just started using different software. Of course you’ll book training to make sure you know the ins and outs. It’s also worth thinking about new processes and procedures. As an example, perhaps your organisation has started using a new approach to project management. You should treat this in the same way; as a new skill you need to learn for which you require project management training.

To improve their CV and job prospects

Perhaps you’re considering your next career move, but all the jobs you want to apply for require a particular project management certification. It’s clear that your next move should be to update your CV by achieving that certification yourself. Make sure you really do understand the methodology and skills behind the certification though, rather than looking for the quickest or cheapest way to get your ‘badge’ – you don’t want to be caught out at interview!

To validate their existing knowledge

You may have been working in your industry for some years and have a wealth of hands-on experience, but how do you prove that experience? Sometimes certification will ensure that you can demonstrate that you know the theory as well as the practice. Equally, a training course will give you the change to learn more from people with similar experience in other industries and areas.

To achieve professional accreditation

Many professions ensure that their members keep their skills up to date through continuing professional development. There’s often a structure to this, with a certain number of ‘units’ required each year. This shouldn’t be seen as a chore, but as an opportunity to build on your existing skills – perhaps consider some of the ‘softer’ skills needed in your profession, such as communication skills or coaching.

To solve or prevent a problem

Training can provide a valuable solution if you or one of your team are not performing as well as you could. Perhaps there’s too much to be done and not enough time to do it in – so some time management training will help reduce stress levels. Or perhaps it’s something you need to have for your organisation to meet industry standard, such as Equality and Diversity training

And one extra reason – sometime’s it’s just ‘because I’ve been told to by my boss’. Whilst it’s great to be involved in selecting your own training, it’s sometimes necessary for organisations to direct people towards a particular training course. Just make sure you make the most of the opportunity to learn something new, whatever that is!

Dr Ian Clarkson is Head of Project and Programme Management Product Development a QA -leading providers of Prince2 courses. His role provides business direction and ownership of QA’s portfolio, programme, project and risk management curriculum. Ian is an experienced lecturer, author, speaker and consultant, having delivered programmes and projects in all industry sectors.