Skills Development Providers (SDPs) & Training Providers

Policy for when a facilitator becomes ill

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    Kerrin Badham

    Hello fellow training providers

    I would like to ask advice for a scenario where you have contracted to provide a particular training session for a client booked at an external venue, and the facilitator who is scheduled to do the training takes violently ill and only notifies you on the morning of the training … what would most of you do?  Cancel the training? Try to find a substitute?  Do any of you have a reserve trainer on standby every time?  And do you have policies in place to deal with such a scenario?  What is fair and reasonable and what is industry practice and standard?



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    Hi Kerrin,

    From a trainer’s point of view, there are times when things happen and we really can’t prevent it…we are human too. If I have been unable to train, then I would not invoice the company for the training. Hopefully, the client would be understanding and reschedule. I once offered my clients a free lunch when my trainer did not pitch up and offered to train at their premises a week later, and they were very happy with this.

    One of the companies I freelance for does have other freelance trainers as backup. There isn’t a shortage of trainers out there. But I think it is important to note that the trainer themselves should have a standby in cases like this. If I am unable to perform due to circumstances beyond my control, it should be my duty to substitute an equally qualified trainer in my place.

    Tom Ventouris

    If you have a stand by Facilitator, you have the best option, but is this always possible? Most contract Facilitators would want to be paid to stand by, since they would not be working on the day. If you are lucky enough, you might find one. I think the real issue here is agreed Terms and Conditions to limit your liability as a Provider. While some clients may be understanding and accept the failure to provide the training service, some may be asking for the cost of venues, travel and accommodation for delegates and other related costs which would have been lost as a result of failure to provide the course. In the absence of some agreement on how to handle a no-show, you may have a hard time denying liability for costs incurred by the client. Google “terms and Conditions for Training Services”, you will find a whole lot that you can adapt and attach to agreements with clients. This will also protect you from the costs you would incur if clients did not show for training or cancelled all too late for you to avoid them. You can also loo at ours at – feel free to adapt or give me ny suggestions on the T’s and C’s we use.

    Kerrin Badham

    Thank you Shakira.

    The issue is around whose responsibility it is to have the backup: the training provider or the trainer?  I would think the training provider.

    What happens when a substitute is just not available at such short notice?

    And what if the client is simply not understanding of circumstances beyond your control and will not allow for a re-run or a suitable action to remedy the situation?  What if huge costs were involved to book the venue and fly in delegates?  Or if the training was for top management?

    I would like to know if other training providers always ensure a back up is on standby?  If so, under what circumstances?

    And if not, do your terms and conditions inform the customer of their options should unforeseen circumstances arise such as the sudden illness of the facilitator?  If so – could you share your clauses?


    Well said Tom

    Personally, When I was a Training Manager, the only facilitator’s that would use the “violently ill” excuse were the ones who just weren’t prepared. I found that with my biggest deals, I would then use my best and most reliable trainers, and very often myself… It helps to be a qualified trainer too 😉 This way, we eliminated excuses on the day of training.

    I completely agree with Tom. The “Terms and Conditions” are everything.

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