Training dollars are one of the rarest forms of currency in the world. More elusive than grant funds, harder to get than a pay raise and about as predictable as the Mega Millions lottery!
So, how can one stretch this rare and valuable resource? Have you considered hosting and/or sponsoring training at your department/office?
First, let’s take a look at the numbers for attending out of the office training that requires travel. At DME Forensics, we try to get each and every Examiner at least 40 hours of training related to their forensic discipline every year. Over time, we have tracked the cost of sending one person out of the office for a week-long training event and here is what we have found:
Rental car/cabs $300
Per diem $300
This can vary depending on the location, but we have found it is at least $2,000 to send one person to training and that does not include the cost of tuition. So, is there a way to reduce or even eliminate this cost? Yes, there is - have the training come to you!
What will it take to host training at your facility? The actual requirements will vary depending on who you hire to conduct the training and what type of training you’d like to receive, but here are a few of the things we look for when we go on-site to teach:
- People to be trained. There is typically a minimum number of people attending the training for the provider to ‘break even’ on the cost of putting on the training. This can be as few as 5 and as many as 20, depending on the type of class, the equipment required, and the cost of traveling and staying in your area.
- A large enough room to accommodate the attendees (and all equipment comfortably) is crucial.
- Furniture in the room for the attendees to fit comfortably. Typically, 2-3 people will fit comfortably at a 6-foot table. If the class will need computers or other equipment, count on 2 people per desk.
- Computers, if needed. If needed, it could be 1-2 students per computer. Typically, if you provide the computer, the cost of the class is less (computers are expensive to ship!). If you provide the computers:
- The attendees using the computers must have administrator rights to install and run programs. Even if your IT department offers to install all the programs, you’ll still need to ensure they will grant administrator rights during the class.
Must have a USB 3 port to download and save files. You might be able to get by with USB 2, but in that situation plan on being at the facility the day before to load all the class content to computers.
- For most classes, attendees will need to have an internet connection
- Usually, you’ll want to have a 64-bit operating system. This isn’t always a must as it depends on the software you’ll be using, but if you have a 64-bit operating system, you’ll always be fine.
- Power to run computers and other equipment. Plan on at least 4 outlets per desk – more if equipment other than computers will be used.
- Something to display content such as a projector of some type and a screen or wall to view it on. You could also use a large screen TV. Like computers, this can be provided by the trainer, but will likely add to the overall cost.
- A white board or large pad with easel. Many instructors will use a white board during training.
- Proper heating and cooling will keep everyone happy - it is amazing how much heat 20 people in a small room with computers running will generate! If it is too hot or cold, training becomes no fun for all parties involved.
- A way to secure the room when at lunch and overnight to protect equipment.
- Typically, the instructor will want to have access to the training room the day before the class to set up equipment, install software and test computers. If the class starts on Monday, the host will typically need to be present to allow the instructor to have access to the training room on Sunday.
- Easy access to coffee, drinks, and snacks near the training room.
- Easily accessible bathrooms, there should be sufficient facilities to accommodate the amount of coffee being drunk per hour.
Hosting a class can be a huge cost savings! Only one person has to travel to train many people, saving money. Trainees get to be close to work and family, which lessens the impact on them. As long as you can round up enough attendees, hosting training can provide top shelf training at bargain prices!