Once apon a time there was a company trainer, his name was Johnny and his job was to make sure that all the employees of ACME Engineering company got all the training that the company decided that they needed.
As it was an engineering company and Johnny used to be an engineer; his job was relatively easy, in fact, Johnny still considered himself an engineer, just one who’d become so skilled in his job that he could teach others how to do it.
And Johnny went on like this for years. However, the world outside of ACME Engineering changed in those years, and the workforce fell behind, innovation just wasn’t happening in ACME and the bosses said that the staff needed more training, Johnny felt out of his depth…
And so modern learning and development hit ACME Engineering with a thump! As changes needed to be made.
OK this is a rather simple example but you get where I’m going with this.
So is the role of the company trainer dead? Well I’d hope for all employees everywhere that the “Johnny’s” of the world have retired or updated to become L&D professionals. There may be one or two out there.
I don’t think that the role of the Classic Company trainer is dead, however I think it has changed beyond what Johnny may recognise it to be, for a example many no longer refer to themselves as Trainers, we’re much more used to being called L&D professionals now. The role has also significantly changed, in that it focuses on the needs of the learner and aligns that with the objectives of the Company. Also there is a recognition that one L&D professional can’t be “All things to All men” and that external organisations have to be brought in to deliver certain things such as implementing E-Learning or delivering specialist training; therefore the role might encompass other things such as procurement and networking. Plus there is now an opportunity to work at a strategic level to set the direction of the organisation and to create a learning culture from within.
In conclusion the role is dead, in the way I described it with Johnny (thankfully!), but it has changed and developed it to a much more vibrant and influential role that is pivotal to the success of an organisation and it’s people.