Becoming an approved training provider with an awarding body is an excellent achievement. But to hold on to that accreditation year on year is the biggest achievement of them all in terms of being a reputable training provider.
But week after week I see new training centre ‘websites’ popping up all over the place, and all charging ridiculously cheap fees for their courses. How is it that these providers stay afloat – even when their course fees are cheaper than courses run at F.E colleges that have their courses heavily subsidised by the Skills Funding Agency?
After doing some digging around, the answer turns out to be really simple. These so called Training ‘Providers’ that are offering all these cheap courses with training venues across the country, are nothing more than training ‘Brokers’.
What this means, is that you have a very clever marketing team that have set up hundreds of websites with different names, offering the same courses – at the same prices – on the same dates – at the same venues. Then , in order for them to get to the top of Google, they link them all together (if you know your SEO, then you will know what I am talking about). Of course, you as the consumer think they they must be a good provider, as they at the top of Google? In some cases, this is not true…..
So, when you think that you are talking to a Bona Fide training provider that is promising you the best course on the planet, you could be in fact talking to a highly trained sales person who has no training or teaching experience whatsoever! Then, this sales person sub contracts the course out to a small training provider that has won the bid to run the course on their behalf. If you understand the bidding process, contracts usually get awarded to the cheapest bidder.
‘So What?’ I hear you say…
Well here are some things for you to consider…..
1. Because the course is sub contracted to the cheapest bidder, you can bet your bottom dollar that the course will be packed to the roof with students, in the smallest space possible and with the most unprofessional tutors delivering the course. I have known 80-100 students squashed in a room with just 1 Tutor delivering a course that is only meant to have 12 students max on it. Quality Assurance is not monitored by the ‘sales’ company – they just want your money and thats it! We have all heard the saying….‘If you pay cheap, you pay twice’.
2. If you are unsatisfied with the course, their is not a lot you can do about it, as the sales contract is between you and the training course Broker, not you and the sub contracted training provider.
3. Because the delivery of the course will more than likely be sub standard, you will not have achieved the course as best you can. Leaving you unprepared for the workplace you are about to join, or further develop in. Depending on the course (such as SIA security for example), this could potentially be very dangerous to yourself, colleagues or the public.
4. Also, their is a risk of your certificate being withdrawn by the awarding body after you have received it, due to malpractice that may have taken place by the whole setup of the dishonest operation.
So what can you do about it?
1. When making your course enquiries, ask who the centre is accredited by (EDEXCEL, City & Guilds, Highfield, NOCN etc).
2. Then, ask for their accredited Centre Number. Call their Awarding Body to confirm – you are within your rights to do this. If they don’t have one, put the phone down and find that has all this in place.
3. If they have an accredited Centre Number, find out exactly what courses they are approved for. Do they match the course that you want to do with them?
4. Some sectors such as Security, have an additional register that security training providers need to go on. Check this too, and see if they are on the list. If they are not, then they are lying to you and will rip you off!! SIA Security Approved Training Providers: http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/training-ApprovedTrainingProviders.aspx
5. Finally, if you find that you have found a ‘cowboy’ provider, REPORT THEM! The best place to start is Trading Standards: Click HERE