Yesterday evening, we were invited to a BBC preferred training suppliers evening in London, to learn a little more about their staff training. There have been big changes in the organisation of training we do for them in the past year, and we welcomed the opportunity to here a little about what their "hot points" and objectives are, what they're especially looking for, and how their needs will develop in the future.
I've always apprceciated that our Perl courses are very much a niche and form a tiny, tiny part of the BBC's training budget, even though they're an important customer to us. But it came home to me last night just how tiny, and how niche.
The head of training was talking about 27000 days of training delivered to staff each year about budgets of ... well, never mind, I shouldn't quote the figure here even though they're clearly in the public domain - there were hundreds there last night, and everyone else in 'the business' heard the numbers too.
I've often marvelled at the quality of delegates from the BBC - we meet some superb people from a lot of organisations, but there seems to be something special and consistent about people from "the Beeb". Listening last night, it became clear that this is very largely due to good staff selection procedures, and a dedication to training which seems second to none. And oh boy, does it pay dividends.
Actually, much of the presentation related to training of major groups (journalists, authors, directors, camera crew, managers) for whom courses are run at BBC offices on a regular basis - a world apart from what we do with trainees coming to occasional private courses or public courses here in Melksham. But what did relate, across the board, were some of the more general things.
* The importance of setting training objectives prior to training, and of being prepared for the training.
* The importance of training being done at the right time, and put into practical use upon the delegate's return to his/her work.
* The importance of evaluating training for effeciveness, with a drive towards measuring return on investment.
From generality such as these came specifics - of how modern technology can help make more training available at the RIGHT time ("not JUST the e-learning argument), of consistency in evaluation so that key indicators can be followed and understood without change to the statistical base, and more.
The conclusion of the evening? That, basically, we're in tune with our customer and providing the type of service / product that he's looking for. But never the less giving us a handful of areas - technologies, crisping up of technique and perhaps a couple of formalisations - which we should implement to move forward with our training product so that it's not only an excellent fit for requirements early in 2007, but also early in 2008, early in 2010, and in 2015 which was indeed mentioned on some of the slides. We love working with forward-looking customers! (written 2007-01-17)
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