The course must cover the right subject. From the right starting point. And at the right pace. It must be taught be someone who knows the subject, can present it in such a way that you can take in what you're being taught, and who can (and will) advise you on what is the best way for you to apply what you learn. The tutor must keep your interest and attention during the training. Price, location and dates will also be important.
But there are other aspect you'll take into consideration too - from how sure you can be (or not!) that the course will actually run if you've booked it, through the size of the group to be taught and the facilities at the training centre, to whether you'll be able to get back to the training company and ask questions after the course is over.
At Well House Consultants
, we provide all the basics ... to a high quality ... and much more too
. What do we provide? What differentiates our courses?
Here are some of the features that our pages highlight ... and I'll fill you in with more detail below. For details of dates and individual courses, go here
or click on the individual subject links.
| Features of all our courses|
• A purpose fitted training centre
• Book, and our course will run - guarantee
• Small groups (max 8 delegates)
• Courses presented by the author
• Overnight accommodation for delegates
• After course email support included
| Our courses are different ...|
• A warm welcome the night before
• Complimentary railway station pick up
• No minimum numbers; courses always run
• Run at our own training centre
• Stay with us - we are also a hotel
• Courses presented by the author
• Maximum of just 8 delegates per course
• Post-course support included
• The right subject
We teach programming in Perl
, C and C++
. We also teach Linux
and Apache httpd and Tomcat web server deployment
. We may add other niche subjects from time to time (please ask), but we have our work cut out with all this lot and we do not offer courses in Microsoft Word, Excel, Vista, C#, .NET, food hygiene or management.
• The right starting point
Some of our delegates have programmed before, and others are new to programming. So we offer both "conversion" courses for those who are already familiar with computer programming, and slightly longer "learn to program" courses for those who need to start from first principles. We also offer a limited number of advanced courses on our public schedule, such as the PHP techniques Workshop
and Perl for Larger Projects
- however, advanced delegate's needs tend to be very varied, and more often that not we'll complete a trainee's program by adding on one or two private days.
• The right pace
We try to strike a balance. You'll want time to absorb and practise what you're being taught, but at the same time you won't want us to stretch the subject into more days that are necessary, costing you and your employer more days and expense. We're well positioned to strike the balance ... (1) - as we have different courses for newcomers to programming and those converting, we can more carefully group or trainees ... (2) - our group sizes are small, so the tutor has more time to spend with each individual, and the group does not get held back by a slow 'rump' ... (3) - you stay with us at our hotel, so you can get extra practise in the evening and early morning too if you wish.
• Tutor to know the subject
We make use ourselves of the subjects we teach. We write our own notes. It's the author who presents the course, every time. We travel the world ourselves to learn from the people who write the languages themselves - across Europe, to Asia, to North America. And we take care, when questions arise from delegates to which we don't have an immediate answer to research the question, to GET
an answer - for the delegate who asked, and for other delegates who follow on too.
• Tutor's presentation skills
Only a few "techies" make good tutors. And the most technical of people doesn't necessarily make for the clearest of presentations. You'll find that we have an enthusiasm to teach the subject (and that is infectious!) and years of professional experience that mean that we will filter out and present the material that you need, in a way that you can easily assimilate.
• Keeping up the interest
Even the most fascinating of subjects can become a yawn if you don't have some variation in the presentation - and that's generally accepted as no more than an hour of the same type of activity without a break. You'll find that our courses mix and match a number of styles. You'll have whiteboard presentation, interactive demonstrations, question and answer sessions, case studies and practicals, and team work too ... as well as the more conventional projected presentations and lectures. And we ask you
to bring your data and your
needs along to the table so that we can include there and make the course even more relevant and interesting.
• Tutor's advice for YOU
to bring along your data, to discuss your applications and options - not only with the tutor but with the rest of the class too. Decisions such as whether to store images in a database or plain files, whether to use Perl or Python, and what naming convention to use for variables too need to be made, and will effect you for years to come. I won't say "we've seen it all before", but we have
seen a lot of it and give you pointers that will help you to be well informed for decisions you need to make.
• Can I practise?
Yes. We have a laptop available for every delegate to use for the duration of the course (multiple laptops on courses that involve clustering / load balancing / network programming). That laptop is online so that you can browse whatever resources you need, and available to you throughout your time on site (as we're also a hotel and you may be staying, that means 24 hours a day!). The tutor is almost always available for an hour before the course starts each morning to assist with extra questions that arise, and often stays late. And a member of the technical team is usually on site until 10 p.m., with 'customer service' being his top priority. And then there's the library of some 700 technical books available to you.
We keep it simple - 350 pounds for the first day of a course, and 250 pounds for each subsequent day. A 100 pound discount off your second and subsequent delegates on the same course, but no inflated 'list price' to allow us to offer huge discounts to almost everyone. You'll find our bottom line will be slightly below the industry norm, but the product that you get will be streets ahead.
Our public courses run in Melksham, Wiltshire, England. And, yes, we know that means that 80% of delegates have to stay over. But our subjects are niche and that need to stay over would apply anywhere else (we have
investigated!). So we make sure that we are in an accessible location - you can get to us by your own, or public, transport - and once you're with us we have everything under one roof; a quiet training centre and hotel with nothing to disturb your concentration and learning. If you have a group of delegates, we can come to you - see here.
• How do I get to the course?
We have plenty of parking (for 2 and 4 wheels!). We have a bus stop right outside. We have local railway stations, from which we can arrange a complimentary lift, and we can arrange for airport travel for you too. Arrive the evening before the course, settle in, get to know your surroundings, get a good night's sleep and you'll be ready to make the very best of your course. [[Melksham is about 100 miles to the west of London - allow about 100 minutes by train, 2 hours if driving. The Fosse Way takes you directly north to the Midlands, and from there you can take the motorway network to the North East or North West.]]
• Can I stay commute?
You are very welcome to travel to the course every day, though we'll advise you to stay with us if your journey would be over an hour each way. If you don't stay, you'll miss out on all the extra opportunities after we've completed formal training for the day, and you may find that your learning is blunted by the tiredness caused by unaccustomed driving - but you'll be best to judge this individually for yourself.
• Can I stay locally?
Yes - even if you're not commuting, we don't require
you to stay with us - but do have a look at our Well House Manor
before you decide. We've had delegates who have stayed with friends, with relatives, and with archaeological contacts, and we have even had a delegate on honeymoon. That's not something that I would recommend for everyone, as staying away from the centre and planning other activities can lead to a conflict of interests.
Each of our courses is scheduled to run every 3 to 4 months (a few such as PHP Programming
and Learning to program in Python
a little more often.) Usually, our courses for those with prior programming experience run during the week (Monday through Friday), with the extra days added onto the beginning - the weekend - for those who want a "Leaning to Program in ..." course. That's because most of the newcomers to programming who come to us are keen to learn, and keen not to have to take too many
days away from the office, and they appreciate the compromise. See here
for a full diary for this year.
• Will the course run?
Once you have booked on your course, we guarantee that we'll run it - even if you are the only delegate. We are (frankly) ashamed of our industry's bad habit of accepting bookings then cancelling them is a certain threshold isn't reached. And we have been on the 'other side' too, having courses that we have been booked to attend cancelled at the last minutes, after flights and hotels were booked.
• Will the course be up to date?
I am going to be very careful how I answer this one. The course will reflect the current practise and versions of software in common use, will mention older versions which are still in common use, and will look forward to new and future releases which may not yet be common and/or stable and/or released. In other words, the course will be up to date with current practical usage, which means that we do NOT throw out an established software release as soon as a new version comes out. But if there are significant changes, we will have a copy of the new release.
• Course size
We limit our public courses to eight delegates. I have taught a higher number on a single public course in the past, and found that I have been unable to give each delegate the individual customer service that he / she may need - assistance and advise during practical sessions, answers to questions that arise during lectures, etc. Our training facilities can seat up to 20, and indeed we have equipment for up to 16 people on a private course, where all the delegates will have a similar background and questions and the larger class size is practical.
• The Training Room
Our training room is purpose-fitted to give you the very best course. Each delegate gets a generous workspace area, with a clear view of the whiteboards that cover three walls. A modern projection system which allows interactive demonstrations is complimented by a lighting system set up to ensure that every delegate gets the very best of experiences. Seating is modern and comfortable, and of course wired and wireless internet access is available at all desks.
• The Delegate's Workspace
Each delegate has at least a metre of desk space, a full set of training notes provided to accompany the course, use of a laptop (choice of Linux, Windows, OS X) for the duration on the course. We provide pens, paper, etc ... and delegates are welcome to bring teas, coffees, water and soft drinks into the training room.
• Training Centre Facilities
We're a hotel ... and you'll find almost everything you would expect at a 4 star hotel, and a lot more beside. All rooms are large and en-suite. Beds are King size in all rooms (we let doubles as singles routinely). All rooms have laptop safes, mini fridges, large flat screen TVs with over 50 channels available. We're not licensed, but you will find a bottle opener in your room, and you'll find knives, forks and a microwave available too. Access is available to the training room all day and all night for delegates. You may also take the laptop you're using up to your room, which has its own desk and internet (wired and wireless) access, and there's a library of 700 technical volumes, and a network printer, available too. For relaxation, we've got a selection of other books and DVDs available for you use, and even some old fashioned games if you want to play with your fellow delegates. You are welcome help yourself to freshly ground coffee and tea at any time, and to wander in our 3/4 acres of garden ...
• Asking questions later
And finally ... what if you have a question? You are welcome to ask during the course and if I can't answer right away (or if it would pull us off topic) I'll make a note and come back to it. And if you have a question after the course, you're very welcome to email it to me and I'll get back to you with at least some technical comment within 2 days (actually, my target is 1 day but I promise just two). Please don't be shy about asking such questions - they're our lifeblood and they help us know what we should be adding to our courses ... or to this web site ... to help other delegates.
If you want to ask me a question now
you are welcome to do so. I look forward to hearing from you, and - perhaps - to welcoming you on a course. (written 2009-02-20, updated 2010-11-15)
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