We’re not here to give you the lowdown on the professional life of a personal trainer! And we’re definitely not here to talk about which sneakers, kicks or plimmys are in this season. We’re actually here to tell you all about the exciting world of corporate training. Got it? Good.
When you hear the term ‘corporate training’, it might conjure up images of self-righteous individuals hired by companies to appear at annual training events and ‘inspire’ a rag-tag bunch of employees through the ‘failsafe’ medium of the motivational speech—the kind of people who quote from Bono, play songs like Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ and illustrate their points with pictures of people who have overcome adversity (cue images of Lance Armstrong, Stephen Hawking and Daniel LaRusso [a.k.a. the Karate Kid]).
This stereotype—although occasionally spot on—is actually far from the truth. If carried out effectively, corporate training can really help companies to reach their business objectives.
Trainers are subject-matter experts with fantastic communication skills. Some trainers are employed internally by large organisations to train their employees, while others go from organisation to organisation on a contract basis, providing people with the skills they need to be effective in the workplace.
The majority of trainers tend to specialise in a certain area, such as sales, project management or I.T. However, if you’re a freelance trainer, it’s a good idea to have many strings to your bow. After all, the more versatile you are, the more work you will get.
Corporate training can be delivered in a variety of ways, including virtual seminars, presentations, lectures and interactive tutorials. A large part of a trainer’s time will actually be spent behind the scenes, devising and developing training programmes, and producing handouts and other learning resources.
Salary & benefits
Annual salaries for trainers range from around £18,000 to £25,000, while senior trainers with managerial responsibilities can earn up to £50,000 per annum.
Freelance trainers can earn significantly more.
Trainers who are employed in-house on a permanent basis tend to work nine-to-five. However, freelance trainers are often required to work irregular hours in order to meet customer demand.
Trainers are also required to travel around on a frequent basis. You might even be required to go abroad from time to time.
Effectively, this line of work is open to graduates from any discipline. However, an academic background which is relevant to your area of expertise is definitely a great place to start.
Consequently, if you specialise in I.T. training, an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in computer science, software engineering or information technology is a good idea. Likewise, if you specialise in training sales professionals, a degree in business studies, sales and marketing, management studies or human resources would be useful.
Generally, all aspiring trainers need fantastic communication skills. You can enter this line of work without a degree, although you will need to gain a wealth of experience in your chosen area of expertise first.
Trainers also need to keep their finger on the pulse, and must constantly refresh their own skills and knowledge in their specialist area.
Training & progression
Understandably, trainers must be competent in their area of expertise before they can teach others. Therefore, it’s a good idea for trainers to obtain relevant credentials which will verify their expertise. For instance, if you’re an I.T. trainer, you might want to work towards getting a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) qualification.
It’s also advisable to become a member of one of the professional bodies that operate in your sector. For instance, if you’re a sales trainer, you might want to join the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM).
All things considered, it’s very rare to begin a career as a corporate trainer straight out of university. After all, people want to receive training from people with proven skills and knowhow. Many corporate trainers actually come from a human resources background, so this might be a good place to start.
Alternatively, you might be able to secure an assistant position with an independent corporate trainer or training company, and learn the trade from there.
Many trainers eventually decide to become freelance consultants. However, you could also climb the career ladder and become a senior trainer within an established training company.
Alternative options for career progression involve teaching full-time at a further education college.