Richard Reeves

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Advice for buyers of in-house courses

  • A company usually buys a course to achieve a particular purpose in the development of the organisation.
  • Bringing people together for a course is a considerable commitment on the part of the initiator in the company.
  • The participants' time is usually worth more than the cost of the course.
For these reasons I will always want to discuss with you what your objectives are, and the backgrounds and roles of the intended participants. I will probably then adapt the course in some degree from the standard syllabus published on this website. Phone 01234 767726.

Substantial adaptation
Often a visit is advisable in order to work with you on the course design. I charge £150 plus travel costs for a half day visit. If substantial adaptation of a course is needed, I will propose an increased fee.

Once the arrangements have been agreed, please fill in my Course Confirmation Form and email, post or fax it to me.

This is all the formality I need. I do not need a purchase order, and I do not have a standard set of terms and conditions.

The form serves also as a checklist and record for some practical matters such as the contact person in your company, and venue.

Explanation of some of the questions on the Course Confirmation Form.

Approximate number of attenders
Most companies have quite small numbers needing training, typically six to eight. The smaller the numbers the more attention can be given to individuals. If you have in mind to have a course for more than about twelve, discuss it with the me. I would probably ask for a small extra fee per delegate.

Will the attenders be well known to each other?
yes / no
One benefit of holding an in-house course is that people who normally come into contact with each other only briefly and formally, get to know each other better and have a chance to understand each others' roles. If participants are not well known to each other I will start the course with an Introductions session, and make sure to have a group working session early on. If participants are well known to each other I will do it differently.

A debriefing form will be supplied by you/by me
Some companies have their own standard form which they use to evaluate courses, and standard arrangements for the forms to be issued, collected and analysed. Others prefer to leave it to the tutor. At the end of a course, I ask participants to fill out a feedback form before leaving the room. Afterwards I analyse the comments and send both the analysis and the originals of the forms to the person commissioning the course. To examine my form click debrief form. If you like, you can edit this form and ask me to use the modified version.

Course attenders' details
Do not delay sending in the first sheet of the form because you have not finalised the list of names. The names can be sent a few days before the course.


We are often asked to quote for courses outside the UK. There is no difficulty in principle, but the costs tend to be high because of the time involved in travel and recovery from jet lag. We can travel to Europe quite easily as we are close to good airports.

We do not deal with intermediaries, only with organisations buying for their own staff.


We do not do tenders. The cost of tendering is large compared to the purchase value, and tendering is inefficient.

Getting the people together
I have found over the years that the most difficult thing for companies arranging an in-house course is finding a time slot when all intended participants will be available in the same place. My advice is to start on this at the earliest possible stage in the process. It always takes longer than you think, even when you know this.

Joining instructions
For some courses I will ask you to circulate preparatory information a few days beforehand.

Timing and socialising
Although a 9 to 5 format is most common, there can be considerable benefit in the participants getting together over an evening meal. When people have travelled to a central location for the course it may be a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity by having the course in a format involving evening work, based on the timing of our open courses. Alternatively a separate social event in the evening can be arranged.

Companies normally arrange for the course to take lunch together, either brought to a dining area near the venue, or at a table set aside in the staff restaurant.

Team formation
Most courses include exercises, and these are best done in teams. For example negotiation and project management are natural team activities, and even though finance is not, exercises on finance are best done by pairs or threes of people working together. I may ask for your help in assembling teams according to skills and experience.

Course notes
I always provide a bound set of course notes for each participant. Increasingly some notes consist of the tutor's Powerpoint slides - this seems to be a satisfactory arrangement for participants, who like to write their own notes on the same pages.

The notes are for the personal use of the participants on the course. If you would like to use any of my material for other purposes please ask me first.

I can get the notes produced professionally at Cranfield Press, and pass on the cost, typically £100. Some clients receive the files from me and do the printing themselves.

'On a course' is 'out of the office'
Impress on people that they cannot do the course and do other work at the same time. Diaries fully cleared please; no just checking the emails at teatime; mobile phones switched off.

I regard myself as bound by normal business confidence not to disclose anything I have learnt about a company through providing a course for it.

I would feel free to disclose that I have done a certain course for a certain company, and to give the course commissioner as a reference, unless asked not to. The same goes for including a company in a published client list.

Companies occasionally ask me to sign a confidentiality agreement. I am happy to sign something simple. An agreement should be for a limited term, such as three years.

Notwithstanding any clause in a company's purchasing conditions or confidentiality agreements, copyright in my course materials remains my property.

Powerpoint slides
People often ask tutors for electronic copies of their slides. Sadly, we find that this sometimes leads to our material appearing in other people's presentations. My present policy to to provide only pdf''d powepoints, for a small charge.

For clients within Europe, I will send an invoice to the person commissioning the course immediately after it has been delivered. For clients outside Europe, an invoice will be sent once a course is confirmed, and payment is required two weeks before the start of the course.

© Richard Reeves, 2003-5

B u s i n e s s   S k i l l s   f o r   S c i e n c e   a n d   T e c h n o l o g y