Accredited vs In-House Training…What’s The Difference?

16 Mar 2023

When booking training for your staff, it can seem a little daunting – how do you know what they need? Which training course is the right one for them?

It’s tempting to make the assumption that all training is equal. And this is naturally followed by the question Where can I find it the cheapest?”. After all, if you can pay £1 for a bar of chocolate at your local supermarket, why would you buy the same bar for £2 from the petrol station?

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple when it comes to making sure your staff receive the right training. Not all chocolate bars (or training providers) are equal.

There is no set definition of “right” that we can give you – that is going to be determined by a number of factors, such as:

  • What type of equipment are your staff using?
  • Which industry are you in?
  • Where will your staff be operating equipment?
  • Do your clients, suppliers, insurance providers etc. have specific requirements that you need to meet?

All of these can be deciding factors when it comes to selecting the best training for your employees and for your business.

Something that we come across relatively regularly is uncertainty about accredited training – what is it and what difference does it make to your business?

Let’s start by answering the question of what it is.

What is accredited training?

There are several different accrediting bodies which exist, and, in summary, their aims are to set out and enforce the syllabus and minimum standards for the provision of training on various pieces of equipment.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) no longer give any formal approval or accreditation to industry schemes, but they are still involved with the committees and advisory boards of the schemes listed above. Additionally, all these schemes are run in line with the expectations set out by HSE in relation to workplace training. This includes things like maximum training ratios, instructor experience and qualifications, course content and so on.

Did you know?
The maximum number of candidates permitted per instructor for practical forklift truck training – and most, but not all, mobile plant – is three.

How the accrediting bodies meet their aims does vary.

For example, NPORS and ALLMI require providers to register all training and testing in advance so that they can conduct unannounced monitoring visits. This helps to ensure that providers are meeting the requirements of the scheme and, where they are not, they receive penalties or even lose their ability to deliver training through that scheme. AITT, ITSSAR and RTITB don’t require training to be registered in advance, but it does have to be registered after it has been completed and every scheme has an audit system in place where records are checked and, where appropriate, training facilities assessed for their suitability.

Instructors delivering training through the schemes also undergo regular auditing and/or refresher training to ensure they’re still meeting the scheme’s standard.

As an employer, if there were ever a question mark over whether you had met your legal obligations to provide suitable training, by using a provider who delivered the training through one of these accrediting bodies you would certainly stand in good stead.

What is in-house training?

In-house training is any training that is not delivered through a voluntary accreditation scheme. This could either be delivered by an employee of the company – literally in-house training – or by an external company that is contracted specifically for the task.

Because there is effectively no governance surrounding in-house training, the question of what you’ll get for your money is very difficult to answer, as this will vary significantly by provider.

We offer both options, as there may be perfectly legitimate reasons as to why an in-house certificate is the best choice for your organisation. When it comes to the delivery of our training, however, there is no difference. Training is delivered to the same standards as it would be if it was being done through one of the accrediting bodies. The content will be the same, as will records that we keep relating to the training. The only difference will be that it isn’t registered with one of the accrediting schemes, and that we are not necessarily bound by the minimum durations set by some bodies, although we will insist on the same standards being achieved by candidates before issuing any certificates.

It’s important to understand that not all providers take the same approach. Some may take advantage of the lack of oversight when it comes to in-house training. This can often be at the expense of the training that your staff receive.

We have heard tales of providers delivering courses in less than half of the time that accrediting bodies would say that they should; exceeding the permitted number of candidates on a course; failing to carry out a theory and/or practical test and any combination of the above!

What difference does it make to my business?

In reality, there can be anything from an almost no difference, through to a very significant difference between accredited and in-house training. We’ve set out the most common differences below.


As a general rule, in-house training is typically cheaper than accredited training – at least on the face of it (more on this later).

Because we deliver the same training in-house as we do for accredited training, still using qualified and accredited instructors with the same maximum candidate to instructor ratios, the only difference in the cost with us is the registration charges. Where the accrediting body would usually charge a per-person fee to cover the costs of running the scheme, this cost isn’t incurred with in-house training and so we pass that saving on to you.

As you can imagine, though, providers who are willing to cut corners with your training can also afford to slash their prices – but as the old saying goes, you tend to get what you pay for.


Where training is delivered through an accrediting scheme, you can have some certainty that it meets at least the minimum standard set out by that scheme.

There will obviously still be differences between providers. This can either be thanks to the schemes they are registered with and the measures that scheme(s) takes to maintain its standards, or simply the experience, attitude and ethos of the provider. Check out all our five-star reviews to see what people think of our training!

In-house training doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a sub-standard service, but it can be a bit more of a gamble and it makes choosing the right provider even more important.


Things aren’t a problem until there’s a problem. Unless your company receives a spot-check from HSE or an ISO-style audit, it’s unlikely that anyone would ever interrogate whether you had provided appropriate training for your staff. The moment there’s an accident in the workplace, however, that changes.

When it comes to matters of Health & Safety, the burden of proof is reversed and rather than the court having to prove that you didn’t meet your legal obligations, the onus is on you to evidence that you did.

This is where accredited training comes into its own. By having a certificate from a recognised accrediting body, you can easily demonstrate that you took steps to provide appropriate basic training for your employees. The scheme will have records verifying that the training took place and details of the course syllabus, training ratios, registration numbers, testing details and so on.

Produce an in-house certificate, and you’ll be reliant on your provider to do that for you. Are you confident that they could or would for you?


Investing in your employees makes them feel valued, and an employee who feels valued is typically more productive, efficient, loyal and reliable. Whilst there may be legitimate reasons for opting for in-house training, there’s also the risk that your employees might interpret it in a way that wasn’t intended.

Which one is right for me?

This is a question that only you can answer!

If you hadn’t already guessed, we would always recommend the accredited training route for the reasons we’ve discussed already.

You may have decided that accredited training is right for you, but you’re just not sure about the different options available. If you’re not heavily involved in training, then the options might seem overwhelming.

Whatever your situation, we’d love to chat to you about what would fit you best and how we can help you. For a no-obligation chat, contact us today!