Trainer Development

A quality health workforce relies on training systems that can rapidly select proficient health care providers and prepare them as trainers. Effective training systems need an adequate number of trainers to train and support providers for additional competency development in new tasks or continuing education programs.

A qualified trainer is a proficient provider (in the clinical area in which she/he is training) who is also competent in training other providers in skills courses. These trainers should have mastered the following core competencies:

  • Trains learners in new competencies, or reinforces existing ones
  • Coordinates training in collaboration with other staff
  • Implements group-based training, using a “blended learning approach” when indicated
  • Documents and reports training activities conducted
  • Provides post-training transfer-of-learning support

Candidate trainers, providers who would become qualified trainers, must be: proficient in the relevant clinical area, motivated to train others and afforded the opportunity to use their new training competencies. To become a qualified a trainer, candidate trainers should:

  • Acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be a competent trainer (can be through a variety of learning approaches);
  • Practice what she/he has learned by “co-training” a skills course with a master trainer; and
  • Receive passing scores on appropriate assessments.


Competency standardization in the target clinical area (e.g., counseling, male circumcision, emergency obstetrical skills, etc.) is the first step required for trainer development. Although standardization can be implemented in a variety of ways, its goal is always the same—to ensure that candidate trainers teach the desired tasks or competencies in the same way.


To support and help ensure the ongoing responsiveness and sustainability of a training system, a smaller number of trainers will need additional training skills to mentor and develop new trainers. An even smaller number of training experts are needed for scale-up and sustainability of these training systems.