Remote training is on the increase. There are a number of reasons for this recent phenomenon including the general economic downturn, the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano preventing air travel to attend training programmes and advances in technology which make remote training now a cost effective and viable option for geographically dispersed groups of employees.

Farnham Castle, has seen an increase in the delivery of their language training programmes over the internet. Language training by its very nature, is often applicable to staff who are located around the world, perhaps undertaking foreign assignments for example.

For companies that do work with different cultures, staff language skills are undeniably important. According to the UK Trade and Investment’s Springboard Journal, businesses that are proactive in their use of foreign languages achieve, on average, 45 per cent more export sales.

Technological advances now mean it is reasonably straight forward to deliver high quality training through web based programmes. Online tuition can be more flexible, tailored and even interactive as it can allow students one-to-one access to the very best trainers – even if they are based in a different country. There is also increased flexibility relating to the timing of sessions. For example a student based in Hong Kong, who is moving to Australia, needed to learn English. Through Farnham Castle’s remote language training programme she has access to a leading English language trainer based in the UK. By taking advantage of the time difference, lessons were scheduled before and after work or during lunch hours for maximum convenience.

In this way, remote delivery is potentially very efficient as it addresses the challenge of executives’ increasingly busy schedules which often prevent individuals taking time out of the office for residential study. Similarly, due to the widespread use of Wi-Fi, it is possible to undertake training wherever there is access to a computer – this could be at home, in the office, or taking advantage of downtime during a stay at a hotel for example.

In challenging economic times, the good news is that because of the reduced need to travel and elimination of the cost of venue hire, hotel and staff expenses, remote training will have far less impact on budgets, allowing larger numbers of staff to receive essential training. However, using technology in this way, not only eliminates the cost of travel and associated expenses of attending a residential, intensive, on-site study programme, but it also reduces the environmental impact related to unnecessary travel.

The delivery of internet training also removes the need for trainers to travel. This means they can also be more flexible with respect to availability – which is at a premium for leading trainers in any field.

However, despite these clear advantages in terms of time and flexibility, remote training has been slow to take off. The economic downturn has inevitably meant that training budgets have been cut. This combined with disruption of travel plans due to the ash cloud has resulted in training companies and clients looking towards implementing more innovative working practices. Once programme participants are over their initial reservations, they are very receptive to this approach. A number of companies we have trained using remote delivery, have indicated they will use this method of delivery, when appropriate, from now on as they have found it to be both cost effective and efficient.

Farnham Castle supplies training for every language in the world. Many of their programme participants fly in to study intensively at our 12th Century Castle in Surrey. However, we are now seeing an increase in take up for online delivery of programmes – particularly for language training. Clients who have traditionally only trained UK based personnel are increasingly using our remote capability to prepare and train overseas staff in region or those who are transferring within or between areas and who would not have received support in the past.

In the future, Franham Castle anticipates remote training will continue to grow, which will add further value, deliver more tailored content and enhance overall standards of training programmes allowing companies to become even more competitive. The positive news for client organisations is that as a result, standards will ultimately be pushed higher and return on investment will become more transparent, for the good of the industry as a whole.