For a number of years now I've been training IT topics to various organisations both direct and through IT Training companies. I've found that training falls distinctly into two categories; (a) where the training has been organised by a ‘sales-orientated’ training company and (b) where it has been organised by myself or a company that are themselves trainers. When the training has been organised by the latter; ie the training company is run by someone who is/has been a trainer, they invariably run a thorough skills assessment/training needs analysis on the course attendees before they join a course. That means my job is made much easier; I have attendees of similar skills level on the course, and they are made aware of the topics and level that will be covered. However, if the training organisation is run by sales people, they hardly ever check the skills levels of those attending the course. Therefore, as a trainer, my day is spent chivvying the slow learners along and trying to get them to catch up with what they should have covered on a previous course. This happened to me yet again last week, and when I explained to the training company that one particular learner was ‘very disappointed’ that I hadn’t shown her how to (amongst other basic tasks) ‘add two cells together’ on an Intermediate Excel course and that she had expected the course to be all about ‘Finance’, they gave me very strange feedback. They said that despite me having very good feedback from the attendees; “we [the training organisation] are all too well aware of the consequences of people being on the wrong course and it not being managed by the trainer”. So, what are they telling me? Should I have thrown this lady off the course? After all, they arranged the course, not me. I also asked them if they offered a skills assessment prior to attendees booking the course. I got no response; a shame as the other part of my job is to develop e-learning, including skills assessments.