Why: We like to think “out of the box” and to captivate people in our training courses. The best feedback from participants? “We didn’t see the time fly by!”
How “blended”: we bring creative and innovative solutions, which fit the working environment and objectives of the client.
What: we offer a platform with the expertise* of multiple trainers and consultants with business experience.
BUSINESS COURSE :
- Initial training : A1 nurse and license in biomedical sciences
- 1979-1989 : 10 years as head nurse in the ICU & emergency departments
- 1989-2008: medical representative, training manager, various managerial positions in multinationals (Byk, Glaxo, Sanofi-Synthelabo, Quintiles-Innovex), Benelux director at Cyberonics
- 2008-2016: Freelance Trainer, Coach & Consultant
- 2016 : Founding www.opleidingsmakelaar.be
INTERVIEW WITH JEAN-CLAUDE
Once a senior nurse in intensive care and emergency rooms, Jean-Claude Laurent (born ’57) now lifts companies to a higher level by finding and providing quality training. He is perhaps Belgium’s first ’training broker’: a partner who guides companies to strong training courses from which employees and managers can reap the benefits.
Head nurse, medical delegate, training manager, sales manager: these are just a few of the different positions Jean-Claude has filled during his rich career. From healthcare to sales and training, it’s not always the most obvious move, but that’s what characterises Jean-Claude: a wide range of interests and a desire to make his mark on the companies he works for. Yet there is a clear thread running through his career: communication.
I started out in healthcare, and for ten years I worked as a head nurse in a hospital, he says. “There you have to communicate with all kinds of people in difficult circumstances. You learn to find the right tone in life-threatening situations and to deal with families in an empathetic way, from the director to the tramp. The experience I gained there has been a great asset to my further professional life.”
An exciting career change
After ten years in the healthcare sector, Jean-Claude decided to make a career change. “I had always been fascinated by sales, and wanted to use my experience in the medical sector. I started with a commercial position in the pharmaceutical industry and became a medical representative in Brussels. I am a real Zinneke: I have a Walloon father, a Flemish mother and I was born in Brussels. I soon became a Training Manager and followed ’train the trainer’ courses, with the intention of giving the courses myself afterwards.”
Jean-Claude held senior positions in various companies, managing teams of dozens of people in different projects. “I have always enjoyed working with people, brainstorming and networking. Through that variety of environments and collaborations, he quickly knew how to find experts in different fields. He now uses these connections in his job as a training broker.
Tailor-made training courses
Companies do not always find the right people for their training courses, or do not have enough manpower to organise them themselves. This is where Jean-Claude wants to help. “There are so many training courses that entrepreneurs often can’t see the wood for the trees,” Jean-Claude continues. “Which ones are worthwhile? Which coaches know what they are talking about? And what if I need very specific training for my employees?” Jean-Claude sits down with business owners to discuss their company’s specific needs. “If you need training, you don’t have to go to the whole market. I’ll come to you, listen to your needs and then put together an à la carte training with the best trainers. Or I can give the training myself. Because as a certified trainer/coach, I also give training courses 120 days a year myself.
Interested in investing in crucial skills for the employees in your company, or interested in other valuable training? Then be sure to contact Jean-Claude via his website or give us a heads up on 0478 999 629.
My business career path:
After obtaining an A1 Secretarial Management (Modern Languages: N-F-E-D), I immediately started working in wonderful companies, where both the business leaders and each business strategy in itself gave me insights and shaped me into who I am today:
a ‘happy’ motivated coach – trainer.
- 1993-2001: Management Assistant at Exxon, Chemicals, Lidl Belgium, Kömmerling GmbH, MCI/Worldcom International, Playmobil
- 2004-2006: Training Consultant at Syntra Midden-Vlaanderen
- 2006-2011: Training Manager at EDUCAM (national sector fund automotive)
- 2011-2016: Coordinator at INOM workers (now MTech+) (national career fund for metal)
- 2016-2017: Agency director Accent Technical
- 2017-2020: Training coordinator and consultant at GEALAN Fenster Systeme GmbH
- 2020: Right and left hand of Jean-Claude Laurent and trainer/coach/consultant at ZA Training Agency
Let me introduce myself: Ingrid Vossen, married to Jean-Claude Michiels (not Jean-Claude Laurent ;-)), mother of two beautiful children, Moon (care worker) and Menno (Audio visual technician), animal lover of Max (our faithful four-legged friend) and Beauty (our cat).
I consider myself “your bounty hunter”. It may sound silly in name, but I consider it a duty, a vocation, to put my knowledge and expertise at the service of company managers. To listen to their concerns, their plans for the future and then to guide them in terms of training and subsidies.
The term “well-being at work” is often used as if it were a “moral obligation”. I see it more as a “virtuous gift” and as an aspect of doing business.
Your team – with whom you build your past, present and future – is worth its weight in gold. If, as a trainer and coach, you gradually guide your team to that gold medal, then, as a business leader, you yourself are also worth gold. And that is what I want to guide you in.
By being that listening ear and building together on the Olympic Business Games that kick off every year.
Ingrid’s character traits
- Seeker of opportunities (including premiums)
Both Jean-Claude and Ingrid believe in the Japanese concept of Ikigai to give meaning to life and entrepreneurship. That is how they found each other, business-wise, and decided to further develop ZA Opleidingsmakelaar together.
“Let's have a cup of coffee/tea together and get to know each other. A good conversation is always a good investment in your future"
Jean-Claude and Ingrid
With the right help, any company can survive 2020
Jean-Claude Laurent has been the inspirer of Z-A Opleidingsmakelaar for years. With his company he organizes B2B training. His customers know they can count on him, because he always looks for the most appropriate training and trainer.
Since mid-March 2020, everything has changed, also for his company, but he did not throw in the towel.
With a few partners, he studied the current situation in the business world and devised solutions to help companies that are currently experiencing difficulties to emerge from this crisis period.
During a pleasant conversation, he tells us all about it.
According to you, the companies today can be divided into three categories.
Could you elaborate a little bit more on that?
Yes, when I look around me, I see companies that were not affected by the corona crisis. Some even did so well that their business figures skyrocketed.
But this was not the case for everyone.
Some companies remained more or less stable, but are now on their guard. They are paying very close attention to what they are doing and certainly do not intend to incur many costs.
And then you have the companies that are really struggling to keep their heads above water… They will be happy if they can close 2020 with as little loss as possible.
How did you experience this period?
We too came to a sudden standstill with Z-A Opleidingsmakelaar.. So we had to ‘reinvent’ ourselves.
For the first category of companies, we can continue to organize our training – obviously often online. They have a budget and are happy to invest it in their employees.
For the other categories of companies, we realize that training is not a priority right now. Certainly not for the companies for which the crisis is enormously severe.
These companies have no budget to spend on training or even on new recruits. They focus on turnover to keep their heads above water.
What can you do for them?
Companies that are struggling often do not know where their bottlenecks lie. We have developed an analysis tool to locate the company’s ‘entropy’ or inhibitions. When companies know where their bottlenecks lie, only then can they be eliminated.
With Z-A Opleidingsmakelaar, I do not work alone. I can count on a wide range of consultants and coaches, people with a lot of business experience, who advise these companies. They work with the company for a certain period of time and transfer their know-how.
I coordinate everything as a ‘multiple contractor’. You enter into a contract with me (from 3 months onwards) and I provide the right expertise.
For this analysis and guidance, companies can appeal to interesting subventions. We can help with the application of these.
I am convinced that in this way you open the eyes of companies and give them the courage to continue, once they know where they have to make changes.
But what about the companies that seem to be surviving the crisis, but are putting training on hold because they would rather tighten their belts?
From experience, I know that these companies do want to invest in training, but it must not take up too much time, cost too much and it must save the company money in the long run.
We developed shorter training courses for such companies. The company manager does not lose his employee for several days, but only for one day, for example. The trainee has already familiarised himself with the course through an online preliminary course and, after the training, can count on follow-up sessions where he will receive further personal coaching.
This investment does not have to hurt financially. We help the company look for subventions to ‘sponsor’ the training courses. Many company managers often do not know what they can do.
We also help them to identify the inhibiting factors in their management: getting rid of bad attitudes, learning new skills, coaching managers, etc.
To show what a training course should yield, we use the Kirkpatrick/Philips evaluation model. This way, the companies have a good idea in advance of what the new knowledge and the behavioural change can bring about in terms of ROI. After the training, assessment or consulting assignment, we look at whether we have achieved the intended goal.
A clear vision, if you ask me, but how do you pour this into a ’training form’?
We developed a number of new services outside our standard training programmes.
For example, there is the ‘B-Plan‘, where the B stands for boost.
This is where we, with a multi-headed contractor, temporarily give extra competence to the company to put it back on the map.
The ‘Sales and Marketing Assessment and Improvement Plan‘ is a way of training in which companies ask their own customers to participate during the customised training sessions. During role-plays with the customer, the (sales) employees learn new skills. Experience teaches us that customers are very receptive to this.
With the ‘Speed training for managers’ we teach managers a well-defined competence in three hours. This is done through personal coaching and a helpdesk afterwards.
And then we can also take a close look at the current skills and business competences in order to upgrade them to the desired level.
Obviously, we also have to give working from home the attention it deserves. To this end, we have meanwhile developed training courses such as time management for home workers, online meetings, approaching prospects online, etc.
And there are subsidies for all of this?
More than people think.
Most companies are familiar with the KMO-portefeuille, but not the workability cheques, for example. These have even been extended by corona. We work together with a ‘premium hunter’ who selects the appropriate subventions for our clients.
I am sure that with Z-A Opleidingsmakelaar, you can signifie a lot for companies that are having a hard time at the moment.
What should interested parties do?
They can call me at 0478 999 629 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment, where I can explain all this in more detail. Without any obligation, of course.