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Trainer assessment programme can help firms measure effectiveness of IT training

Karen Gomm
More than 1,000 IT departments in the UK are putting their training staff through formal qualifications to improve the quality of training offered to IT staff.

The Trainer Assessment Programme (Tap), developed by IT training industry body the Institute of IT Training (IITT), ensures trainers can communicate technical skills effectively.

Employers who have taken up Tap say it has helped them to measure the effectiveness of training and maintaining high standards among their IT staff.

Last month Tap became the first training skills qualification to win a Queen's Award for Enterprise. The Innovation Award recognises its success in improving the quality of IT training.

More than 60 FTSE 100 companies employ Tap-certified trainers. Many also have senior staff trained to assess Tap standards to ensure consistency from their trainers.

Michael Gough, chief executive at the National Computing Centre, the IITT's parent body, said, "Poorly trained users put an IT investment's business case at risk. Before the introduction of Tap, far too much IT 'training' was lecturing, where the emphasis was on the trainer's technical knowledge, not their ability to impart knowledge.

"People attending IT training courses often gained little in terms of knowledge and skills transfer."

Gough said the advent of Tap and the IITT's promotion of the standard since 1998, as well as its training partner the Training Foundation, have significantly raised the quality standards in IT training, benefiting many individuals and companies. Tap is the de facto standard for training skills in the IT industry, he said.

Dena O'Gorman, IT manager at Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals, which have been Tap-trainer-certified since 2000, said, "Following Tap automatically ensures that we are producing learner-focused training, which is structured, engages the learner and where at every stage of development the learner, training programme and even the trainer's effectiveness can be measured."

As a result, O'Gorman said the IT department at Guys and St Thomas' hospitals is developing independent learners who are confident in their newly-developed skills and able to transfer knowledge from the classroom back to the workplace with virtually no support from the training team.

Richard Malam, IT training manager at Centrica, who is himself Tap trained, said, "It gives me a definite structure that enables me to keep a check on my trainers. Without Tap trainers can still be good, but what tends to happen is that they slip into easy mode where they are just presenting. It takes a lot more out of you when you have to ask questions and get the delegate engaged."

Malam said Tap is effective because it is not a one-off certification as trainers are Tap-tested every three years to ensure a standard is maintained.


What is Tap?


The Trainer Assessment Programme (Tap), set up by the Institute of IT Training (IITT)and the Training Foundation, comprises five tracks, each with a defined competency framework and assessable performance model.

The programme offers six certifications, based on an assessment of the applicant's skills, in training delivery, design and development, facilitation, coaching, learning centre support and smart help skills.

With further study each track can also lead to the diploma in learning facilitation skills. Awards are either made by the Awarding Body Consortium or by the IITT.

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