TrainingZone: How it All Began

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SunriseTim Pickles, founder and first editor of TrainingZone, sent out the first 50 copies of the newswire from home. His 'hobby' was to be the start of the TrainingZone success story.

The original aim of TrainingZone was to create an online forum through which training professionals could network with each other, share resources, and stay up to date with all the latest thinking in the field.

"10 years ago there were very few online resources for training professionals. Most of the print-publishers had yet to develop a web presence. Online learning had not really been heard of. Downloadable and pay-per-view resources were almost non-existent."

Tim Pickles, founder and first editor of TrainingZone

TrainingZone began as an email newsletter, several months before the site itself was actually built and launched in May. In those days, the newsletter was called a 'LearningWire' as we wanted to reinforce the notion that training should always be an active process of learning. That very first issue is still available to view in the TrainingZone archive.

This first issue was distributed to 50 of my personal colleagues, many of whom continue to receive it. A year later, after the launch of the site, the number of subscribers had climbed to 500. After two years it was around 5,000. In 2008, they hope to reach 50,000.

10 years ago there were very few online sites and resources available for training professionals, and almost none in the UK. Most of the print-publishers had yet to develop a web presence. Online learning had not really been heard of. Downloadable and pay-per-view resources were almost non-existent.

In 1998 only around 15% of the population had internet access, and the vast majority were using 32 kbps dial-up connections over their telephone line. For the first year I ran TrainingZone as a spare-time hobby using a ludicrously slow connection from home, whilst still running a training and consulting business. Each new subscriber received a personal acknowledgement and welcome.

"This first issue was distributed to 50 of my personal colleagues, many of whom continue to receive it. After two years it was around 5,000. In 2008, they soon hope to reach 50,000."

How things have changed. In the past decade, TrainingZone has had five editors. Two years after launch, its sister site HR Zone was launched. At various times dedicated areas of the site have been created for IT trainers, PowerPoint users, training jobs, resources, publishers and others. In 2000, TrainingZone was highly commended in the Yell UK Web Awards for business to business websites, presented by Jonathon Ross.

So, congratulations, and good luck to all at TrainingZone for the next 10 years.

TrainingZone began in the early days of Sift, of which it still forms a part along with other Sift Media websites: HRZone, AccountingWEB, MyCustomer, BusinessZone, UK Business Forums and Knowledgeboard.

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