There are so many training providers out there so how do you choose the one for you. There are a number of different factors that you need to take into account and it's important that you choose one that meets your specific needs and not necessarily entirely on recommendation from a friend or someone within your professional or social media networks.
There is no need to blindly go about booking a course anymore as there are a number of ways you can research which training provider to choose to spend your money with. To start off with you need to establish a short list of training providers who you can then research in more detail and the best way to do this is to ask those in your professional and social media networks. This should allow you to work out which of those courses being recommended meets your specific needs and that you can afford, so you can go about researching them in more detail.
Like anything you get what you pay for and close protection courses for example start from around £1000 and go up to anything in excess of £5000. Therefore it's important if you are spending that sort of money that you get the best course available for that amount. If you've only got a £1000 to spend then you need to make sure it's the best course available for £1000. Value for money is an area that is hard to judge until you have actually conducted the course, and in reality you need to have used the skills taught on the course whilst in employment to really judge its worth so the views of others are essential when it comes to researching value for money.
It goes without saying that in order to receive the best training available you need to have the highest calibre of instructors. They should have a solid background in the course they are instructing in, not just operationally but also have experience training in that area. When looking at a company ask them what their instructor to student ratio is and to provide their names so you can look them up on LinkedIn to establish if they have the level of experience and education that you would want from someone who is going to train you in your chosen subject. Get in touch with people in your network that have conducted training with the companies you are considering and ask them about the level of instruction received, the delivery of training and how engaging the instructors were. No one wants to be sat in front of PowerPoint with an instructor who is less animated than their slides!!
A good quality training environment is essential to ensure that you receive a high standard of theoretical instruction in an atmosphere which makes it easy to learn and take in your new found knowledge and skills. Therefore it's important to ensure that the company have a comfortable training establishment with climate control, ergonomic classrooms, up to date technology and refreshments available between lessons. Equally when teaching subjects like close protection, advanced driving or medical aid, the standard of practical training environment is just as important as the classroom. Resources available must be fit for purpose and allow the instructors to bring the theory they have taught to life to ensure it is practical to use whilst in employment and that you are competent to physically do what you have been taught. This is where cost can really become a factor and in general the more you spend the better the resources. If you spend a £1000 on a close protection course and conduct your walking drills in the car park of the hotel you are being taught in then you have to appreciate why a potential employer might seek someone who has received more practical training over you. Equally with a remote medical course if the scenarios are run in a classroom following the theory you would have to question the suitability of the practical scenarios for remote locations.
Customer service isn't something you necessarily always associate with the security industry but with so many training providers out there companies no longer have the luxury of being able to provide you with minimal and untimely information. With today's busy lifestyles people want information at their finger tips when they want it, so if a company can't provide that information, or they have a poor quality website, it's easy for the person seeking it to go elsewhere. If you are trying to research a company and they aren't forthcoming with the information that you require then there may be an underlying reason why they don't want you to have it. The most vital piece of customer service though is the follow up companies provide in order to help students into employment once they complete their courses. On the course do they provide a comprehensive and in depth look at CV's and employment specific to the industry. Following the course do they contact you with potential roles available or advice on continued professional development, have they a closed facebook group used to stay in contact with students and do they return your calls when you are seeking further guidance. Again people in your networks who have completed their courses should be able to provide you with details on this.
Reputation plays a huge part when it comes to finding employment post course and potential employers actively look for certain training providers because of their reputation of training to a high standard as a prerequisite for gaining employment with them. If potential employers that you have been looking at have an online application form establish which companies they prefer you to have trained with as they normally ask you to select from a drop down menu of those providers. If the course you are researching isn't one of their preferred training providers in the drop down menu then they may look favourably on others over you when it comes to roles available. A point to note on reputation is that just because a company might once have had a reputation it doesn't mean they still operate at that level. If a company has lost a lot of its key instructors the standard of course may have declined so look for recent reviews in order to help you establish this.
Course content varies hugely between training providers. Close protection is a great example of this as some will provide the standard 140 hours as directed by the Security Industry Authority while others, although they may charge more, go into much more detail. If your aim is to work in executive, non hostile environment, protection then focus on those courses that train for operations in that sort of environment. This way you spend more quality time training to conduct the role in an environment you are seeking work in. If you have no military or police experience then the chance of you deploying to hostile environments is minimal so why waste time training for work in hostile environments when you can focus on more executive training. Ultimately there are training providers going above and beyond what their regulating bodies are directing and these courses will give you a better foundation on which to build your experience on. Do they aim to raise standards in the industry in which you are training in and will your training be recognised as being part of that, in turn improving your own reputation as an operator.
An area that many training providers let themselves down with is that they establish a good reputation but don't have the availability of courses throughout the year to capitalise on this. Therefore ultimately even after doing all your research, choosing a training provider might come down to those that have courses available on your preferred dates and in a location of your choosing.
Research is key to choosing a training provider so make sure you use those in your professional and social media networks to establish which will be the best course for you. Use the reviews on The Security Advisor site to determine what sort of course suits your individual needs. If you only have a certain amount of money then you should use your research to establish which courses will give you the best training available for that price and ultimately value for money. There are plenty of training providers who have state of the art facilities and a wide range of environments on which to conduct practical training, you don't need to accept poor training conditions anymore. If you have a good network of contacts who will help you into employment post course then you don't necessarily need a provider who shows good customer service in helping their students into employment after the course, but for those new to the industry then this is vital for you. Training providers can't guarantee employment post course but those who are working hard to get their students into employment will stand out from the overcrowded market of training providers. Your future employment could depend on the reputation of your training provider so choose carefully, just because you complete the course it doesn't mean it is respected enough for you to gain employment from it so think about the credibility of the training provider. If you are new to an industry, whether it's close protection, advanced driving or providing medical aid then you will need to train on the most in depth course that you can afford so you have a solid foundation on which to build your experience on.