Thenew Institute of Training and Occupational Learning aims to reinstate trainingas a profession in its own right, rather than as a sub-division of HRmanagement. Director Jeffrey Brooks explains how the new body will differ fromthe alternativesTheInstitute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL) has been developed as aresult of discussions within a group of practising trainers who have informallynetworked over a number of years to aid their own development. We had becomeincreasingly frustrated by what we saw as a lack of support and encouragementfor the recognition and development of training as a distinct profession ratherthan a subsumed and minor part of HR management.Listeningto our ourselves – and to the wider rumblings of discontent about these issuesfrom other trainers – and waiting in vain for someone else to take theinitiative, we were eventually forced to conclude that we would have to dosomething about it ourselves.Theinstitute was set up in February with myself as full-time director based inStockport, Cheshire. I am taking a year out of my own training consultancy toestablish ITOL.Hereto stayWebelieve we are here to stay. We have the funds to sustain the institute for oneyear irrespective of membership take-up rate. However, we need to have reacheda critical mass of membership by the beginning of next year to finance thefollowing year’s operations.Initialresponse has been most encouraging with lots of membership information requestsand applications together with a number of messages of support including somefrom rather surprising sources.Sowhat is different about ITOL and what would encourage trainers to join? Isuppose the first thing that needs to be said is that we believe ITOL is theonly body of its kind in the UK solely committed to trainers and developmentpractitioners. This means that our membership may be drawn from people workingas trainers in industry, commerce or the armed forces, from training anddevelopment consultants and from those working in vocational education infurther or higher education.CommonlinkItis a wide audience and it involves people working in a wide variety of rolesand operational circumstances but the common link throughout is that they allhelp others to learn and are interested in how to make that learning processmore effective. Many have looked at other professional institutions such as theIPD, but have been discouraged by membership criteria which prevents their entryon the grounds that their qualifications or experience are too narrowly focusedon training and development.Thatseems as silly to us as asking a marine engineer to widen their studies toinclude dancing skills because they may at some point have to work on a cruiseship.Wewant ITOL members to be focused on training and development. People do notquestion the notion that teaching is a profession, so why not training? What isthe difference apart from the age of the learners?Incidentally,I could see the potential benefit in certain marine engineers having dancingskills but that would be as a job-specific skill, not as a requirement of theprofession.ITOL’smembership entrance criteria form another distinguishing feature. We have threegrades of membership: Fellow, Member and Associate Member. Our approach differsin that in addition to the role and experience requirements, the professionalqualifications required at each membership level are different. Atthe level of Fellow, we require essentially an NVQ Level 5 or post-graduatequalification, whereas at Member level the requirement is for NVQ Level 3 orCertificate in Training and Development or similar and at Associate level werequire an Instructor’s certificate or similar.Werecognise that training and development professionals may have taken variousqualification routes over the years and this diversity makes it difficult to beprescriptive in relation to membership criteria. Each application is carefullyconsidered on its own merits by our admissions panel.Bymembers, for membersAnotherdifference in our approach is that we intend to create an institute forlearning which is “by the members, for the members”. By that I mean we aretrying to create a real learning climate within which our members can grow anddevelop, by encouraging members to assist the development of other members.Ourjournal – which at the moment is published biannually, with plans to goquarterly next year – is not a magazine, it is a learned journal which sets outto critically examine training and development issues. Five of the eightcontributors to the first issue are ITOL members and we would like futureissues to have even more member contributions. These are substantial articles,the longest being 16 pages and the average article length being 10 pages.Sufficient space is granted in the journal to enable the topics to be developedthoroughly and we regard it as a significant development tool in itself. Thosemembers who contributed to the journal not only assisted the learning of othermembers, but also contributed to their own professional development.Anotherexample of this approach is our “ask an expert” helpline, a telephone adviceservice where volunteer members are able to offer free specialist advice toother members on topics as diverse as trainer training, sales and negotiationtraining, health and safety training, learning organisations, web site designetc, a real example of “by the members, for the members”.Virtualworking partyAfurther example of this approach is the “virtual working party” of memberswhich will address the issue of our own qualification structure. We intend tooffer two new qualifications, the working titles being the Diploma in theManagement of Training and the Certificate in Training and OccupationalLearning.Thedevelopment of these qualifications is in the hands of the membership ratherthan the staff of the institute. Incidentally, unlike most other institutions,ITOL will not be offering any training courses itself. Many of our members maketheir living from the provision of such training and we have no intention oftaking a membership subscription from them and then competing with them in themarketplace. To do so would be unethical and discriminatory to our trainingconsultant members.Manytrainers have been grumbling for years about the issues ITOL is trying toaddress – now is the time to stand up and be counted.Forfurther information about ITOL visit the web site at www.itol.co. or send an e-mail to [email protected] or write to ITOL, PO Box 69, Hazel Grove,SK7 4FR. Tel 0161-483 4577. Body talkOn 1 Mar 2000 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.