Who Trains the Trainers

A little bit of a shift of topic today. I have been recently thinking about the process of training trainers. This idea pops into my head from time to time as it is often bought up (in a round about fashion) in conversations about trainer qualificiations, that is what makes some qualified to train someone else in a particular subject or area. In Australia the basic qualification for someone to train ‘Nationally Accredited’ training packages in what is know as the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. In addition to this the trainer needs to have qualificiaitons in the area in which they are training and assessing. Apart from this qualificiation there are many others qualificiations and certifications available, not just in Australia, but around the world, there are degree and post graduate level courses in learning, e-learning, learning management and the like, certification processes like the ones run by AITD or by the ASTD, which seek to ‘certify’ people who can show that they have meet additional requirements, often including peer review of their work. Now all of this is well and good, but the question that sits in the back of my mind is; Who trains the trainers? What qualificiations/experience etc does someone need to be able to train other people in how to be trainers?

Perhaps it is not even a question of qualificiations when I think about it, perhaps it goes a little deeper that than.  Let me pose another question; Can someone who is an accomplished, well qualified ‘soft skills’ trainer, train someone in how to train ‘IT skills’.  I guess the question is about portability and transferability of training skills.  There are certainly basic skills around communication, presentation, and creating training programs that are it seems to me to be transferable, but even with these I am not sure, and I am less sure about who can and should train people.  I have worked across a number of different industries and in a number of different educational environments, including VET and University settings and with a wide range of clients and organisations and have over time developed (what I think is) quite a good skill set.  Can I train someone else to be a trainer though? Maybe.  I can share my experience and what I do and what works for me, but I wonder how much of what I do when I train is about me and who I am and not really transferable.

I guess the real question is what makes someone qualified to be able to train someone to be a trainer?


About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

3 Responses to Who Trains the Trainers

  1. Jon Pratlett says:

    I would suggest it is results. If you are training others to be trainers, are they more competent, confident and capable after their exposure to you. The question then becomes “To what extent?

    • Good attitude for a start. I believe a teacher and the trainee will be more successful and get results if the person that is being trained and the teacher have come to a stage in life where they must have a passion for their industry, good skills from grassroots and and a income that is just a bonus..

      • pauldrasmussen says:


        I like the idea of a good attitude, what surprises me though is that we have to say that. I mean I can think of some people who were trainer trainers who clearly didnt have a good attitude to what they were doing, their industry and in some cases life in general. They didnt get very good results either.

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