How To Maximise Your Training Budget
Doing a search on the internet on how to maximise your training budgets seems to always bring up the same issues. It almost seems like once one article has been written, everybody else has copied it to some extent and then either added or left out one or two things that they felt were relevant to their company. While those generic issues are often good advice, is there anything else that you can consider?

Also, almost all suggestions that I found make the assumption that companies can afford some internal training or setting up E-learning systems. That almost seems to exclude small companies. Just because a budget has been allocated does not mean that it is a large company. The budget could be tiny but still set up because even small companies can value training.

Training Room

So, let’s look at some ways that will maximise the money or resources that you have been given.

Focus on the MUST HAVES 

Decide on what is absolutely mission critical. There might be First Aid courses etc. that your company has to have done to comply with legal obligations.Most of the courses that would fall under this category are all health and safety related. While the need for safety is paramount, it can be a pity of a pity too. It means that a substantial portion of any given training budget is used up on maintaining the status quo, rather than improving how you operate, help clients etc.

Similarly, there might be other courses that are not legally stipulated but are felt to be absolutely critical. Plan those first so you know that they are taken care of.

Train in groups

If there is training to be done, see if it will benefit a group rather than just one or two people. The cost per delegate usually drops substantially if this is true.

This can actually be done in a couple of ways. Firstly, you may still choose to send the delegates to public classes, but you can often get multi-delegate discounts, where each person that you add is at a lesser amount.

Secondly, If you can arrange a private session for just your staff, you normally get different rates to that of booking people on public classes. These usually have a different pricing structure to public classes, and definitely are aimed at getting value for money out of the session. They could be done at either your location or the training company's.

Depending on the training companies that you are considering, the threshold at which the group session becomes more cost effective than single people can differ. Do they have a flat rate for up to 8 people? That's great if you have 8 people, but what if you have only 5? Other companies may have a flat rate to get to you, then a small increase per extra delegate, and that can work out better for you.

Beware the cheap looking alternative

Training is not always just about costs. The lowest price might mean the lowest quality and then the training needs to be redone. Another example is E-learning. Many companies have decided to implement an ELearning programme but have then discovered that six months or a year later, people are not actually attending or completing the training. E-learning very often turns out to be like the tourist attraction near to your home. As it is always there, you may think that you can do it at any time. Those companies have then gone back to instructor-led training as that was easier to ensure that delegates actually attended.

See what is available for free

You may be able to get some courses for free, but it’s more likely that some of the related items could cost nothing. Free skills appraisals, free tools or companies that do not charge extra to bespoke a class could be selected. Therefore, free skills appraisals and free tools can provide helpful information at no cost whatsoever apart from the time it took to find them.

See what grants are available

As above, there might be training that you could get paid for. Grants could be available from the government. In some industries, companies have to belong to a charter and they can then claim some of the money back for training. Different grants become available all the time and are worth investigating. It might mean that you could receive a grant for some of your training. This then frees up the rest of your training budgets for other courses.

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During tough times, don’t get rid of internal trainers

When times get tough (such as in a recession) internal trainers are often the first people to go. This is typically a short-sighted decision. Having to make people redundant can be costly, especially as you may have to rehire in six to twelve months when things improve again. If you do have internal trainers, why not look to see if they cannot cover additional courses in order to make more use of their time? They could also assist in some other role for part of the time.

Internal Trainer

Keep staff turnover low

How often do some companies have to repeat the same training due to staff turnover? Training which is done a year ago has to be repeated because all of the people that attended have been replaced. Are there ways to motivate staff so that they stay with your organisation? Perhaps additional training in other areas would be less than the cost for the same training again?

Tell training companies what you actually need

Many people try to keep their cards close to their chest. By opening up and letting a company know what you are dealing with about what you are trying to achieve, they might be able to make a plan for you. For example, a company might need ten people trained on Time Management and another person on Receptionist skills. By informing a company about this situation, they might be able to suggest something such as if you book ten people at the same time, they could allow the one for Receptionist skills to attend for free. Most training companies will try for a win-win scenario.

Commit fully

By committing to training, and often to one provider, you can purchase training at reduced rates. Whether called Training Days, Training Coupons, Training Vouchers, Training Passes etc., most training companies will be able to give you a reduced rate if you commit to them. By informing a training company about whether they provide Training Vouchers, Training Passes, Training Days or Training Coupons will enable you to save a considerable sum of money.

Give management feedback on Return on Investment for Training

The people that make the decisions on what their budget is for training will want to know that they are getting value for money. How often are you actually giving feedback to them? If you can work out some examples of exceptional Return on Investment for Training, make sure that these people receive it. The likelihood is that if you can get to them see training as an investment, rather than a cost, you might get more in the future.

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Expert trainers who will make your learning experience engaging, interesting and enjoyable.