How to Choose the Right Training Provider For You
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, choosing the right training provider for you would have most likely been decided by their location. If you were from Donegal, you are unlikely to choose a provider that is located in Cork, for example. However, since the switch to online learning over the past 18 months, the location of a training provider is suddenly much less important. As a result, there are many more options to choose from, and subsequently, more decisions to make. In this blog, we will attempt to create a guide by which you can use in order to make this decision much easier and less stressful.
As already mentioned, the vast majority of training providers now operate via distanced online learning through various platforms such as Zoom, Google Classrooms and Microsoft Teams. However, it is worth noting that many providers still require learners to attend some in-house components, such as skills demonstrations and presentations. This can be a major source of inconvenience to a learner if they have signed up with a provider who is located on the other side of the country. With the exception of some modules that have exams, learners should be fully aware of whether or not they will have to make in-house visits to their training provider. It is recommended that you should ask a number of questions, prior to completing your registration. Below, is a sample list of questions:
For Special Needs Assisting, Disability Awareness and other QQI accredited courses, Aspire Training offers 100% distanced learning. This is the same for childcare modules, such as Child Development barring the examination, which of course, must be attended in person.
In most cases, one tutor will have a number of learners under their umbrella and mentor each one individually. In other cases, the provider will offer weekly or on-demand support classes which accommodate a number of students at once. Prior to signing up with a training provider, learners should fully understand the delivery format for their course and if necessary, seek clarity from the provider. Due to the fact that some learners prefer a traditional class setting with a group of people together (on a shared screen at least), Aspire Training offers both delivery formats for their QQI Level 5 and 6 Special Needs Assisting modules. This is useful for those with an unpredictable work or family life who cannot commit to scheduled weekly classes. Additionally, the offer consistent support during office hours helping learners via e-mail, over the phone or on Zoom calls.
Each course requires a different amount of time to complete it. However, the same course across different providers shouldn’t necessarily have differing timeframes. Some providers have also added a ‘self-paced’ aspect to many of their courses, due to the fact that they are now online. This flexible approach has added a sense of relief to many learners, who also have to balance their work life and family life. Despite this, some training providers have not added this feature to their courses and still expect learners to complete their coursework within a certain length of time. Extensions must then be sought after by the learner which can create an extra sense of stress, which is not something a learner needs. Aspire Training conduct their group SNA support classes on one day a week, for 6 weeks. These support classes are not mandatory but assist the learners to complete their coursework in a timeframe that suits them best.
One might think that simply checking and comparing prices for courses across various training providers would be a simple task, however, it is not as straightforward as one might think. Of course, one course may cost €350 in one place and €295 in the next, but you have to consider what it is you are getting for your money. Yes, the qualification and certificate at the end of the course may be the same no matter what but the quality of your learning experience is what really matters. Would you prefer to have learned little but saved a small amount of money, or qualify as a competent, confident student who has paid just a small amount more?
This, of course, is only one way of looking at. You must also consider what is relevant to your needs. For example, for a QQI Level 5 and 6 Special Needs Assisting combined programme, certain providers also include the QQI Level 5 Children with Additional Needs (5N2396) module. Completing this module alongside the two SNA modules will add to your fees, and would therefore seem more expensive compared to providers who do not include it. Furthermore, you must consider different discounts that providers offer. For example, some providers offer each SNA Level at €295 each (€590 for both) whereas Aspire Training offer a discount of €575 for the combined programme.
Following from price comparisons, it is highly recommended that one should check the reviews of the training company before registering with them. All good providers should have numerous reviews either on their Facebook page or on Google. Missing review pages or lots of negative reviews might be your sign to stay away! Reviews offer an unbiased, honest insight into the provider from previous learners. Reviews can be found on a tab within the providers Facebook page or next to their name on Google.