Interview with Niall Kennedy of Preferred Training Networks

Q: How did you get started in this business?
Fell into the L&D industry about 11 years ago. Previously knew very little about learning and development. Most of the main players had too much ego so we decided that we’d offer a lighter and more engaging training service delivery.
Our first account was BHP Billiton and we’ve never looked backwards. We’ve now got 48 trainers, instructional designers and facilitators dotted around Australasia

Q: Can you describe your customers / what type of customers do you have?
The mining sector is our biggest segment. It makes sense for very rural mines to fly in the trainers. Nowhere is too remote for us. We also do a lot of work with Government. For example “Breaking down communication silos” is a very popular training course within Government at the moment.

Q: What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?
Referrals are our main source. Setting clear expectations with the customer and then delivering on time and on budget is very important. We also tailor our courses. We include scenarios in the training materials to reflect the challenges du jour.

Q: Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?
We run about 5 courses a day in Australasia. The logistics are intense and we very seldom ever make a mistake. So the trainer is always in the right spot 30 mins before the training delivery. Some places in remote Australia and Asia can take 2-3 days just to get there. But we always make it. That makes us feel special.

Q: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?
Learning technology is making some good advances. Interesting webinars are now part and parcel of what we offer and will be even better in the next couple of years. If it’s not interesting and engaging then it’s a waste of time. We designed short learning videos in Liberia. These were short 12 minute “How tos”.

Within 10 years it will probably be training by some sort of hologram or virtual reality. For all intents and purposes the learner will be at the training (even though they are not).

Niall Kennedy

Australia Wide
Tel: 1300 323 752