Most professions today need certain specific skill sets that have to be learned in the classroom or through experience. While formal education provides a basic framework to all of us, we still need to invest time and effort in acquiring knowledge and functional skills specific to an industry. That's where professional trainers come into the picture.
There is no checklist to follow in order to excel in this profession. You not only need tremendous confidence in your level of expertise, but also in your ability to educate and engage an audience.
In an online chat with Get Ahead readers on June 23, Sunder Ramachandran, founder and managing partner of WCH (We Create Headstarts) Training Solutions, a corporate training solutions organisation, fielded questions related to careers on corporate training and how one can go about becoming one.
For those of you who missed the chat, here is the unedited chat transcript:
hitesh asked, do i need an MBA to be corporate trainer, i just finished my BA with eco and history
Sunder Ramachandran answers, at 2011-06-23 15:03:17Hi Hitesh. An MBA is not essential. What you need is domain expertise and life experience.
rishabh asked, What kind of future prospects it there for corporate trainer? is it only a big city job?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Rishabh. Infact there are more opportunities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns given that there is a huge demand for training people in smaller cities on employability skills.
shanu asked, Hello Sir,what does it take to be a corporate trainer? do i need special education qualification?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Shanu .Trainers should have excellent interpersonal skills, and an ability to present themselves with confidence, speak before a large audience with conviction, a mature thought process to create training material relevant to their audience, spontaneity to respond to difficult situations with ease, a good sense of humour, loads of enthusiasm and most importantly a passion for the subject matter that is being presented. Education gives you discipline while experience would help you connect with your audience as a trainer. They both go hand in glove.
nitin asked, Hi..I recently got a phd in management (strategy and innovation) from a reasonably good b-school in india. My communication skills are also quite good. Can you please let me know around how much i can make as a corporate trainer. Can you please tell me the salary range i can expect to make?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Nitin. It depends on whether you puruse a full time career with an organisation or choose to be an independent consulting. It's safe to assume that for strategy and leadership engagements, you can command parity with what top business consultants earn.
Mike asked, With a lot of Online Learning Tutorials do you think the need of Trainers may be affected?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Good question Mike. Online learnig compliments instructor led training. The best way to learn is to design an integrated learning model which has both instructor and online interface. In the Indian eco system, instructor led learning is still in demand.
VIKE asked, i have very good command over creating training material and can i sell that also and please tellme where to sell it?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Vike. You can consider sites like guru.com. There are various other sites where content can be put up for auction.
PMSS asked, What is the SCOPE for Corporate Trainers in in the ERP/CRM space.
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi. There is a huge demand for customers service trainers in retail, hospitality and BPO sectors.
Nitin Gade asked, HI Sunder I have take some tanings in colleages in Institutes but have never taken anu Coporate but what is major diffrence in instutute traning and coporate tranings
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Nitin. The facilitation style will vary with the audience. In a corpoarte set up, you will have to tie learning to the contextual needs of the professionals you are training. The need for customisation is higher in the case of work place learning.
ganesh4890 asked, Are there any firms which recurits Pharamacy related trainers?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Ganesh. All Pharma firms hire full time trainers for training their front line teams.
Diwakar asked, Is e-learning a threat to corporate trainers. I know you need classroom based training when it comes to softskills, but what about technical training?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Diwakar. refer to my previous answer on the same subject. E-learning compliments classroom training and is certainly not a threat.
nitin asked, I am a b-school prof, can you please tell me how to go about doing independent corporate training along with my job. around how many hours i can teach per month and around how much i can get per hour?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Nitin. It's a broad question. remuneration is based on your domain expertise, experience and the kind of engagements that you choose.
aspirant asked, i m rishabh from mumbai and have been in marketing and advertising for 10 years now. i m keen on taking training as a profession. have done that on and off in some of my jobs. do i need to get trained myself before starting as a trainer? which training organisations can i look at for a job?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, There are several 'Train the Trainer' programmes available for aspiring trainers. Most certification programmes last anywhere between 3 to 5 days. Academic bodies like ISTD (Indian Society of Training & Development) and XLRI (Jamshedpur) offer such certifications. These certifications are also offered by several Training and Consulting firms. Getting a certification is a good start for new trainers and usually helps them understand 'training' as a function and also helps them acquire 'trainer-like qualities'.
pooja asked, Hello sir, what skills one should acquire to be a trainer. As am an HR professional and training and motivation sessions are quite common. But till the time, I have involved in organizing such sessions and not acted as a trainer. I am very good in making training material. Can I also be a successful trainer.
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Pooja. There is no checklist to follow in order to excel in this profession. You not only need tremendous confidence in your level of expertise, but also in your ability to entertain and educate an audience.
ajita asked, Hi I am a member of junior chamber and a consultant trainer at Birla sunlife insurance as well. what chances i have to persue career in corporate training. i am in nagpur, mah
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Ajita. It seems you are already a part of the profession. Are you looking at an upgrade or change of domains?
Mike asked, How Good is being a Corporate Trainer for a Long Term Plan in India?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Mike. Progressive organisations have realised that training their employees on a continuous basis is the only real way to stay ahead of the competition. Corporate trainers typically find themselves teaching topics that people don't learn in their formal education, such as communication skills, business writing etiquette, public speaking, presentation skills and other job-specific functional and technical skills. There is a great need on behalf of corporations to improve the way their employees present themselves to the outside world and training them is the straightforward answer. Trainers have the option of working as in-house trainers with organisations, join a specialist training firm or even work as independent/freelance trainers.
sree asked, Hi Sundar, I am a HR Professional and wish to pursue corporate training, as a freelance consultant, what do you think would be the best possible method to approach colleges, as i am not the best of salesman ?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Sree. Every college has an active training and placement cell. Try and speak to them as they are the ones responsible for hiring independent trainers.
PMSS asked, Somehow I could'nt get across my point I want to know about the scope for some one who want to provide SAP or Siebel training
Sunder Ramachandran answers, There is scope in both the retail space by working as an independent trainer with institutes providing these trainings as well as with IT firms that hire full time ERP trainers.
jyotishkumar asked, any scope for fresher in corporate training
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Jyoti. Corporate training is typically a job people come to after they've worked for a while and gained considerable experience.
Sagar@26 asked, Hello sir,Does the corporate trainer is restricted to a specific particularly HR etc, or their is scope for it in Finance and Marketing domain.Also what are the future job prospects at a starter levels for people to enter at primary level
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Sagar. For functional and technical training, professional qualifications are important. As a matter of fact, you would be evaluated on your educational background. Broadly trainers are required in all domains.
Muthu asked, This must be important question in everybody's ming. How to market myself if i am trainer ? what are the lead generation channel for trainers ?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Muthu. You can start by associating with training organisations to learn the business. Once you understand the buying behaviour of training and HR managers who outsource training, you could start doing your own business development as well. You need to be persistent.
sandeep asked, which train the trainer program you recommend for a 1 year old in industry ?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Sandeep. Answered a similar question before. You must note that certification says nothing about quality or richness of experience and does not measure or reflect the hard-to-quantify characteristics that distinguish a 'seasoned trainer' from a novice. It is, however, a great 'starting point' for those relatively new to the field.
Neeru asked, Hi Sunder. I am a trainer with an experience of 11 years. Now I wish to work as a freelance trainer. Where to look for opportunities?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Neeru. A good first step will be to get empanelled with leading training firms in India and work with them on a project basis.
aj asked, HI Sunder, i am a lawyer with 13 years of experience and very good at speaking and lectures, can i be a corporate trainer..
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Sure you can AJ. However I must caution that if you thought that anyone armed with above average public speaking skills and a funny icebreaker could become a Corporate Trainer, think again, because there is more to it than what meets the eye. You need to approcah it clinically.
ritu asked, hello, why in todays scenario an imp branch like training receives less focus in any organizatuion ?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Ritu. Not sure if you are referring to a particular sector becaue most industries invest a tremendous amount of time and money on training.
satish asked, Hi Sunder, I am from the accounting backgrounding (A/c's anager), at age of 37. I am having tremendous interest basically in motivational training. How could I go to gain knowledge into training field so that can able to use it to train others?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Satish. There are several well established HR & Consulting firms that offer training support. As a matter of fact, trainers generally are fairly well networked and connected. There are several training networks and forums where professionals exchange ideas. Trying searching for training forums online and share your expertise and experience with potential recruiters.
milan asked,Hi Sunder, I'm a trainer in soft skills and want to start my own venture. What is the best way to start and market the programs which I would like to conduct. Primarily would like to focus on recent graduates and mid level professionals.
Sunder Ramachandran answers,Hi Milan. There are several online networks and social platforms that connect trainers and HR professionals. So, you can share your value proposition through these mediums.
shrawan asked,Sir,what are basic skills required to become a successful trainer
Sunder Ramachandran answers,Hi Shrawan. Trainers should have excellent interpersonal skills, an ability to present themselves with confidence, speak before a large audience with conviction, a mature thought process to create training material relevant to their audience, spontaneity to respond to difficult situations with ease, a good sense of humour, loads of enthusiasm and most importantly a passion for the subject matter that is being presented. Education gives you discipline while experience would help you connect with your audience as a trainer. They both go hand in glove.
satish asked, Hi Sunder, Frankly speaking I dont have much interest in A/c'g. In this field I can accidently, as there was no other source of income. How can I stretch myself into field of training with some of my abilities into field of trekking etc? (my interest is lies in treking and visiting different places)
Sunder Ramachandran answers, You could consider outbound training. There is learning that can be derived from adventure activities and often corporates use trekking, rafting and other forms of intense activities to drive an organisational message.
vsn asked, it is unfortunate that some of my important questions here did not get answered
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi VSN. Please ask your question.
vsn asked, which skills are most in demand for corporate training? In which skills do people earn most?
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi VSN. Corporate trainers typically find themselves teaching topics that people don't learn in their formal education, such as communication skills, business writing etiquette, public speaking, presentation skills and other job-specific functional and technical skills. Technical skills typically pay higher as there is a shortage of trainers in this domain.
vsn asked, to a previous question you said salary for corporate trainers depend on lot of factors. I just want to know the salary range for independent training now the exact amount. Can you please specify the range around how much people get, so that people here can make the proper decision. I am looking at business disciplines. Thanks
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi VSN. There are trainers who make 2500 a day and there are trainers who make 25000 or even more for a day's training. That's why it's difficult to generalise.
AK asked, What is the best way to start in this profession? I have 0 years experience and i am planning to start in the field of mind power etc
Sunder Ramachandran answers, You would only start getting assignments once people know about your area of expertise. Try contacting local training organisations and get a few assignments
juhin asked, Hi, can training be done with distance education or have to attend classes? i am working in a media company in bangalore but want to change my line
Sunder Ramachandran answers, Hi Juhin. There are several train the trainer programs that are conducted in Bangalore. It's better to learn first hand as this is a skill based profession and distance learning may not give you the value add that real time interaction can.
Sunder Ramachandran says, Thanks for joining the chat everyone. Remember that Trainers need to possess a natural ease in dealing with people, an ability to present themselves with confidence, speak before a large audience with conviction, a mature thought process to create training material relevant to their audience, spontaneity to respond to difficult situations with ease, a good sense of humour, loads of enthusiasm and most importantly a passion for the subject matter that is being presented. Most good trainers also have that indefinable 'charm' that makes them create magic in a training forum and leave a lasting impact.