It Really Is Time To Get Disturbed – Lead article from the upcoming edition of Proteuslife.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

I am sure that there are many within the Learning and Development and the Human Resources fields that will disagree with me on parts of this article, just as I am sure many others who have a real passion for Learning and Development and seeing people grow, who will be right there in my corner.

Over the past two years we have seen our industry in real chaos. Training providers across the country are closing down because they are not business savvy and therefore do not draw enough business, they deliver sub-standard education which eventually catches up with them, they have not been able to keep up with the constant change from the regulatory bodies, or they have gotten tangled up in the web of dishonest behaviour brought about by a funding model that almost invites you to do so.

Whatever the reason, there is an increased mistrust by the public in training providers across the country and that makes me sad, because this is the industry that I have spent most of my life in. It makes me angry when disingenuous people destroy it for their own gain.

So what is happening out there in training land?

A few years ago the landscape changed. A new funding source came into play called Vet Fee-Help. Similar to HECs, in essence it was to help people gain a qualification with no upfront personal fees. Instead the government would fund it and the trainee would repay it later when they had gained their qualification and were in a job that paid them just over $54,000 or more.

Now you would think this would be a good idea and for some it has been, but for a large number of people it has been a disaster and left them with a qualification that is of little use, or an unfinished qualification and a massive debt over their heads.

Overnight, qualifications that cost between $3,000 and $7,000, all of a sudden cost between $15,000 and $25,000 – WHY?

The answer is very simple; some training providers saw a way to get quick and easy money. The problem is that the trainee was not getting anything extra except a greater debt. Yet the funding provider somehow saw this as acceptable!

Again I ask WHY?

I am sure if it were any other product or service, then the ACCC would have been called in.

This funding opened the doors for dishonest providers to prey on the weak and vulnerable, signing them up to inappropriate qualifications with the carrot of an iPad or some other short-term incentive.

The bottom line is that it has destroyed the lives of many people and lined the pockets of many unscrupulous people.

I would love to mention names but they have flooded the newspapers over the past eighteen months and hopefully they will be punished accordingly. But this doesn’t help the people who fell into their trap.

Now there are many very reputable providers and business owners out there who are doing the right thing by their students, but still, why did we see an increase in prices by sometimes 300%? WHY?

At Proteus we made a very simple and what we would call ethical decision to keep our prices between $5,000 and $7,000 for a Certificate IV and Diploma and rather than decrease service, increase it. We are not saying this to blow our own trumpet, but surely being ethical and caring about your client/students is what we are here for; so we are more than happy to get criticism
for that.

It would also be incredibly remise of us not to defend our industry and protect its future, because the behaviour of some providers at the moment is destroying confidence in our industry.

We are also breeding a generation of debt, much of which will never be repaid. What a terrible way to start your career knowing that you had a massive debt to pay back, starting your work life behind the eight ball.

What About Industry?

Unfortunately industry leaders are also less forthcoming in investing in the development of their teams, yet at the same time continue to be dissatisfied with their culture, behaviours and lack of revenue. Research tells us that at least 58% of people are now seeking out their own professional development and that figure is rising.

What does that mean for organisations? The correlation between what people are learning themselves and what the organisation requires, is getting further and further apart. So the purpose of their studies is to find something better, not necessarily to build a career where they are.

I believe that individuals should take control of their own professional development, but in partnership with their employer, so that both parties benefit from their growth.

Internal training coordinators are building frameworks that are so complex and unnecessary that by the time they finish, the needs have changed. We are living in the fastest paced time in history, but often the people who should know better are often the anchors.

There is a wonderful quote that sums it up really. “What if I train them and they leave? Response – What if you don’t train them and they stay!”

It is not information or knowledge that is the differentiator, but where we get it from and how we use it and currently compliance laws and bureaucracy are dragging the training industry back into the 20th Century.

People now have access to information at their fingertips. In a split second you can answer almost any question you need to through Google. But the real issue is that we don’t teach people what to do with the information, or why it is important.

When people know the WHY, they very quickly learn the HOW!

“What if I train them and they leave? Response – What if you don’t train them and they stay!”

The changing face of learning

I recently attended a conference in Singapore where it was obvious that a complete shift was happening globally in the way people learn. The Digital world is not coming, it is here and those who are embracing it are discovering a whole new world of learning.

Proteus has just birthed a brand new Digital Learning company called ‘Above The Cloud Learning’ and in November 2016 we will be launching this exciting new micro mobile learning initiative to the world.

We are also removing all of our multi-day programs in 2017 and introducing a range of powerful 2-day programs that will be connected to pre, during and post program digital activities.

Education is changing and industry, governments, training providers and students alike will need to change their thinking and behaviour to not just adapt, but to also experience and provide excellence.

How exciting to be living in these times of innovation and opportunity, but there are some things that should never change such as, integrity, honesty and the desire to help others to be better.

So come on Training and Development providers – do the right thing and promote our industry as centres for learning and excellence, because if you don’t the marketplace has a way of dealing with you. The problem is that you have the potential to destroy confidence in people along the way.

I for one will fight you to the end and I know there are many others who will join me.

People matter and so does honesty!

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