What’s wrong with just being a trainer?

I am proud to be a trainer!

I am a trainer at heart and I have been for quite a long time now.  In fact since the 90’s I have trained more than 20,000 people in subjects as varied as how to use outlook or word, how to manage multi million and multi billion dollar projects, how to help people in crisis, how to be better counsellors and support workers and pretty much everything in between.  I know what good outcomes look like and I know that the work I do and have done is valued by organisations and individuals across the globe.  But you know what,

I am sick and tired of people saying that trainers need to be better educated, or better skills or have more educational theory pumped into them!

I am particularly sick and tired of it when the people saying it are academics or researchers, self-styled educationalist guru’s or whatever pithy title they want to have for themselves, who have for the most part never or at least hardly ever actually set foot in a training room and delivered training.  The vast majority of trainers who I know and have worked with, and trust me there is a lot of people who fall into that group, are absolute professionals, who are highly skilled not just in delivering training but in their field or fields of excellence as well.  They are not someone who has just spent time at university learning how to teach curriculum from a book, but who have never actually been out in the work place doing what they teach.  No these are people who not only know their industries and the skills and knowledge that that industry needs but they also know how to pass it on.  And I am not just talking about the VET sector here either I am talking about the whole training and L&D industry professionals delivering solid outcomes to people and organisations every day.  On any particular day these people might be teachers or educators or coaches or mentors or facilitators or what ever is required, but like me at heart they are trainers.

Now teaching is typically defined as, “to cause to know something, to guide the studies of, to impart knowledge or to instruct by example, precept or experience.” where as  training seeks “to form by instruction, discipline or drill” or “to make prepared for a test or skill.” Training usually has a more specific focus than teaching, which seeks to instil a deeper knowledge over a longer period of time. Training, on the other hand, seeks to help people master a specific skill, or skill set, until they are able to execute it efficiently, and training is what I do and that is what most of the people I know do.  We give people the skills and knowledge they need to perform tasks and job roles both now and in the future, to help they get employment, improve their position or just simply be better at what they do, and here is the thing, that is what the people that we work with want, whether they are organisations or individuals, they are not particularly interested in me assisting them on their lifelong learning journey or to assist them to engage in an immersive andragological educational experience, they want the have a particular sets of skills and knowledge either for something they need to do now or something they want to do in the future.

Now I know that there are going to be people reading this who go, ‘well you just have a very limited viewpoint on what this sector is’ or ‘well that because of the way things are structured, if we had more educationalists (or whatever) involved and a different structure things would be different’  or ‘You just don’t understand your just a trainer.’

Dam right I am just a Trainer and I for one am proud of that fact.


Anyway that’s just my opinion, Happy Easter Folks, have fun and be safe.

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.

9 Responses to What’s wrong with just being a trainer?

  1. basdenleco says:

    I prefer
    Thank you
    Other wise your article resonates
    Even though I have undertook HE (successfully thank you) et al and enjoy being a life long learner

  2. Trevor dutton says:

    I agree, I am also a Workplace Trainer Assessor and I believe most “academics or researchers, self-styled educationalist guru’s”, teachers etc don’t understand competency or competency based training.

  3. Greg Wallace says:

    I am a WPTA though I commonly refer to myself as a Trainer. What the educationalist guru’s choose not to consider is the nature of our employ; that we have our students/candidates/trainees for a short term (generally) but prepare them for their long term task.
    Always enjoy your articles Paul

  4. Eric Livingston says:

    I love the passion in your article Paul and I think that is what is fulfilling in our role – the passion. I hold the title at present of Educator, have been a Trainer/Assessor and a Facilitator. The title has changed however, in essence what I do hasn’t simply because my passion, drive and desire to help others grow hasn’t. I think if the day comes when the passion is no longer there, I will probably have the title of retiree/author!

  5. Jackie Green says:

    Totally agree with you Paul, I am sick and tired of hearing ‘your just a trainer or facilitator, you need to have the latest certifications in x,y,z. I, like you have trained, coached, mentored and lead in excess of 15000 people over the past 25+ years and it still amazes me how little respect we get when it comes to imparting years of experience knowledge and skills. I also think that some areas of recruitment whether that be agencies or even organisational HR could do with a review of their own ‘thought processes’ when it comes to potential applicants who have and can demonstrate both practically and with certifications the years of experience they have. Many trainers I know did not go to university, but have over the years attained multiple certifications through reputable organisations worldwide not necessarily within the VET network and continue to learn and gain knowledge whilst paying for it themselves. This is all part of the PASSION for our own ongoing learning, the day I stop learning is the day I stop breathing. Thanks so much for the invigorating article.

  6. Trevor dutton says:

    Hear,hear Jackie

  7. Ryan Tracey says:

    Ah yes, the learnification of education knows no bounds.

    Good on you Paul for being proud to be a trainer.

    What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.

  8. Mark Jones says:

    Great article Paul. Yes I am another one of those proud trainers. I do agree about maintaining industry currency and skills… but like you I’m not too sure about more theory and hoops to jump through. Surely 20 years of excellence, industry recognition and achievement must speak for themselves somewhere! (MJ)

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