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Bespoke vs Off the Shelf Training: Which One You Should Choose

A lack of understanding of bespoke and off-the-shelf training can lead to low productivity, efficient work and low engagement. When choosing between buying off-the-shelf or bespoke training, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Learn critical questions you need to ask to get your head around the best choice for your business.

Introduction: Bespoke or Off-the-shelf Training?

Off-the-shelf training is a pre-created course that is ready to deliver. It is usually cheaper than a bespoke course and can be offered more readily.

Bespoke training is designed to meet an individual’s or group’s needs. Developing bespoke training is more expensive but more tailored to the specific needs of the learners.

The decision between bespoke and off-the-shelf training depends on your objectives. Off-the-shelf courses should work well for you if you need to provide short-term skills training. If you need long-term skills development, bespoke training may suit your needs better as it can be adapted over time to suit new requirements in your organisation or industry sector.

What is the Benefit of Off-the-Shelf Training for your employees?

Off-the-shelf training courses are pre-packaged, designed for a specific audience, and available for purchase. These courses can be a great advantage for companies because they do not have to spend time and resources developing them.

These off-the-shelf courses give employees the skills to perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently. However, these courses are not customised to an organisation’s needs, leading to lower engagement or less specific learning outcomes.

Benefits of off-the-shelf training for an organisation:

  • Faster than creating bespoke training
  • Lower costs to develop and deploy
  • Fewer risks as the training will have been used by others, so there is proof that the training works.

What are the Benefits of Bespoke Training for your employees?

Bespoke training is tailored to the learner’s needs and preferences. The course content is customised to suit the individual’s specific requirements and the organisation’s broader objectives.

This type of training has many benefits for both the learner and the company. For learners, it provides a sense of ownership over their learning and improves their motivation to learn. If companies take the time to create content specifically for their employees, their staff will be more productive and efficient.

Benefits of bespoke training for an organisation:

  • Being designed to focus on a specific skill or competency that an organisation needs to develop.
  • Tailoring for specific job roles can make it more relevant and helpful to participants in their day-to-day work.
  • Providing an opportunity for organisations to implement changes in their training programs.
  • An organisation can tailor their training programmes to meet its specific needs.
  • Trainees can be given more practical tasks to practice the skills they’ve learnt.

What are the Drawbacks to Off-the-Shelf Training for your organisation?

The drawback of off-the-shelf training courses is that they are not tailored to your organisation’s needs, they may be too general, and may not be specific enough to address a particular skills gap.

This means that it may not be effective for employees with different needs and might not be able to provide the organisation with what it needs.

The drawbacks of off-the-shelf training include:

  • The training does not fit the individual needs of the organisation
  • Training is generalised
  • Training is not tailored to the objectives of the organisation

What are the Drawbacks to Bespoke Training?

Some disadvantages to bespoke training courses include high costs, difficulty scaling the course, and lack of standardisation. These disadvantages may not be as significant for organisations with a small number of employees, but they can be more problematic for large organisations with many different departments.

The drawbacks of bespoke training include:

  • Bespoke training can be expensive.
  • The training is always tailored to the organisation, which means it might not be transferable to other organisations, and the expertise may not be available to provide training to other organisations.
  • If bespoke training is provided in-house, it will be challenging to offer a wide range of skills and expertise for all staff.
  • Bespoke training may not be available for staff who cannot attend the sessions because of their role or responsibilities.
  • Bespoke training would need to be updated to remain relevant.

How to choose between bespoke training and off-the-shelf training for your employees.

Training is one of the most important investments that a company makes. The key question for any business owner is whether to invest in bespoke or off-the-shelf training for their employees.

A few things to consider:

  • Do you have the budget for bespoke training? – If you have a limited budget to spend on training, purchasing off-the-shelf training for your organisation may be more cost-effective, as your budget will likely go further.
  • What is your timeline to deploy training? – Off-the-shelf training is quicker to deploy than bespoke training, so if time is not a factor, then it may be best to go with bespoke. Otherwise, Off-The-Shelf will  better benefit your business.
  • Do you have the resources to develop training? – If your organisation does not have many resources for training, it may be best to purchase off-the-shelf training. Whilst a training provider can handle most of the work, you will need to support with input, scoping and insight into your organisation as a minimum.
  • Does training exist for the needs you have? – If you have specific needs that you must address and can’t find off-the-shelf training that covers these skills, consider bespoke training.

At Future Fit, we can offer everything from Off-The-Shelf training that we have already created with our in-house expert curriculum designers to bespoke training for your organisation and a mid-way point of combining elements from different off-the-shelf training to create something more customised for you.

To discuss your requirements, why not book a call with our team to see how we can support your learning and development needs?