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Choosing the right training and certification to invest in

Blog posted by: Emma Arnaz-Pemberton – Director of Consulting Services, Wellingtone Project Management, 01 July 2022.

The increased uptake of online training and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to some genuine issues.

First, the relatively low cost of some online learning raises the issue of quality. Also, social media discussions are now questioning the value of certification at all.

Part of the problem is companies often not making learning investment decisions based on strategy.

Instead of just ticking the employee satisfaction box by offering any online training courses, learning and development teams need to think more about what their organization needs. Then, by investing in the right learning, development and certifications employees will be more motivated and companies will see a return on investment.

Knowing which learning is good learning

Pre-pandemic, organizations would go through a clear process for identifying training providers and courses. However, when people were on furlough during Covid-19, there was an estimated 400% in increase in online learning via platforms such as Udemy and LinkedIn.

While this offers a low-cost route for companies and individuals, the courses haven’t necessarily gone through a procurement process to test their quality. And while it’s given people easy access to learning, this has not automatically made them experts in the subject.

Doing a short, online course risks people not having the skills to deliver to an acceptable level of quality – and it can turn them into “badge collectors”, going through the motions of acquiring knowledge and competence.

To be truly valid as training and development, courses need to be independently accredited. So, organizations need to be alive to understanding what sources their employees are pulling information from.

The point of best practice training and certification

Courses and certification such as PRINCE2, MSP and ITIL are grounded in best practice rather than opinion.

They have the benefit of the history behind them; having been refined and proven to work when applied correctly. And this allows both organizations and employees to make informed decisions about the training and knowledge they invest in.

The importance of this has been emphasized by the UK’s Infrastructure authority, which puts best practices at the heart of project management maturity. In other words, best practice exists for a reason – because it works. Investing in best practice training shows a commitment from organizations and individuals to gain a recognized level of maturity in the way they work.

From a PMO perspective, this means thinking about future strategies for the organization and how best practice learning feeds into that; ensuring there is a validation of what people are learning.

One way to ensure that best practice is realized in the organization post-training is to use project-based learning: this involves the employee running a mini-project to demonstrate they can apply their knowledge and deliver return on investment.

An employee can even scope out a project of their choice to validate whether the organization has gained something tangible from the person’s learning.

Axelos ProPath – get a grounding and pick a pathway

Our clients have started talking more about giving their people a career path, with the right stepping-stones towards mastery of a discipline.

From the perspective of helping employees develop a career path in projects, programmes, portfolios and risk management, Axelos ProPath provides that. Whatever a person’s interest, they can get a grounding in an area of knowledge and then choose their future direction from there. This encourages people to reflect on what they want out of their own career – which is especially useful to people who are new to the industry.

Organizations need to take more accountability for weaving learning into their wider strategy. I think – post-Covid – businesses are keen to provide training and development, but it needs to reflect the fundamental goals of the business and how it will help employees to achieve them.


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