5 Non-Negotiables When Selecting External Training Providers

Megan Stacy Deane

Posted: June 27, 2024

Table of Contents

Employers and employees all agree that upskilling and reskilling are essential to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving and increasingly technology-driven business landscape. However, when implementing training and development programmes, Learning and Development (L&D) professionals and business leaders are coming up against a brick wall. 

This was evident when collating the results of our latest nationwide L&D survey about local L&D challenges. What stood out is almost all participants struggle to gain access to relevant and up-to-date content, and most skills development professionals reported that they often have to ‘create miracles’ with limited resources or support from the C-suite. 

We also found that many upskilling initiatives are (still) grossly misaligned with business objectives and modern workplace demands. The result is organisations invest in training that fails to equip employees effectively or prepare them for future challenges. 

While a multi-pronged approach is needed to address all the challenges that skills development professionals face, one solution stands out: selecting an external training service provider that understands the issues and is geared towards solving them. 

Below, we explore five non-negotiable criteria to look for when outsourcing your workforce’s training and development.

1. Reputation

Many respondents emphasised the importance of a training provider’s reputation and proven track record. Organisations prefer to partner with training providers that have a history of delivering successful and effective training programmes.

  1. Alignment with organisational needs and ethos

The training provider’s offerings must align with the organisation’s specific needs and cultural ethos. This includes the relevance of the content, the ability to meet specific learning objectives, and the provider’s understanding of the organisation’s industry and community impact.

  1. Cost and budget considerations

Cost is a significant consideration, with many organisations needing to balance the quality of the training with budget constraints. This includes evaluating the overall value offered by the provider in terms of cost-effectiveness and return on learning investment (ROLI).

  1. B-BBEE status and accreditation

In the South African context, the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) status of the provider is a frequently considered factor. This involves assessing the provider’s level of compliance with B-BBEE standards, which can affect procurement decisions and compliance with local regulations. Additionally, 

outsourcing your training needs to a skills development partner that has their programmes aligned to Category B of the Skills Development matrix can assist in recognising your employees’ salaries as part of the ‘cost’ of training, thereby freeing up cash flow to invest in further training. 

  1. Quality of content and expertise

The quality of the training content and the expertise of the provider are key. Organisations look for subject matter experts who can offer up-to-date and relevant content that fits their employees’ specific skills gaps or development needs.

How to choose the best training provider

These themes highlight the diverse and specific criteria that organisations consider when choosing external training providers. Understanding these considerations can help your business enhance its offerings and marketing strategies to better meet the needs of potential clients, especially in tailoring your solutions to align with organisational and local regulatory requirements.

Look for a training provider that can: 

  • Conduct skills gaps and needs analysis in line with your skills requirements and a learner competency framework analysis that will ensure the correct interventions are implemented.
  • Provide a portfolio of courses that meet companies’ specific training needs across industries.
  • Offer courses that fall into Category B of the Skills Development Matrix. 
  • Enable learners to achieve a competency-based certificate issued by an accredited or registered formal learning institution.
  • Offer hyper-current content developed with industry experts and create bespoke learning solutions based on your team’s needs.
  • Provide courses that teach through live, collaborative peer-to-peer workshops that enable learners to put their learnings into a real-world context.
  • Is committed to helping you save costs and build a long-term partnership.

With this blueprint of what to look for when outsourcing your L&D programme, your job as a skills training planner has just become a little easier. All that’s left after you’ve smartly aligned your L&D strategy with business needs and showed leadership the ROLI is to fire up the base and get your employees excited about learning. 

If you’d like to learn more about local L&D challenges and our recommended solutions for overcoming them, read our whitepaper on the topic here

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