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With 2023 fast approaching, one of the many things we will be deciding in the coming months is where to spend our hard-earned money and sparsely available free time regarding career development for the Private Service Professional. Therefore, I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit this post from early 2019 with a few updates.

While there are many profoundly negative things that Covid brought us, there are also a few positive things that it did that we can directly benefit from. One of those things is the widespread availability and comfort of online education and video conferencing. Modernization to online education quickly identified resources that could adjust their curriculum and demonstrate that they understand the new environment, and expose those who couldn’t.

This brings us to our first warning about seeking PSP education. If the PSP training agency doesn’t have recent publications or interactions. Or they can’t show they’re adapting their material and delivery methods; it’s a big red flag! How can you trust their content is up to date and evolving with our rapidly changing industry if their delivery methods aren’t keeping up with the times?

I continue to get calls and emails asking about educational options for Private Service, and the great news is that far more options are available these days. With social media, our industry has become smaller, and

 commonalities are starting to be discovered. We are finding out that there are myriad options for us; some are more involved schools with full certification tracks, and others, like EMS, are focused on delivering micro-education. Whatever your preference is, my advice remains the same, DO YOUR RESEARCH AND KNOW YOUR PATH! 

Know What Type of Professional You Want To BeKnow what type of professional you want to be.

You can be management oriented, where you spend most of your time behind a desk (these positions that are few and far between). Or you can follow the industry’s current trend and likely future and learn more service-oriented skills. While most Household Manager & Estate Manager positions will require a good amount of management and administration, most Principals want to see you with your sleeves rolled up. Purely administrative jobs are out there, but they often ask for a 4-year degree or relevant industry experience. Think of it like a goalie on a soccer team. The competition for one position can be plentiful and fierce. If I’m a defender, midfielder, or forward, there are more open spots to compete for. The competition will still be stiff, but your odds are much better.

Beware Of High Placement Rate Claims or Promises!!!

Don't fall for No agency or school can guarantee a placement; the hiring process is about chemistry and skill set, but chemistry and a dynamic attitude will trump everything. While a great education and proper resume will get you an interview, the responsibility rests solely on your shoulders to get the job. You know when you’re being sold to, and any hard selling on why you need their training deserves a harder, more skeptical view. If they say that they place 90+% of their students but cannot verify their claim, you can safely draw your own doubtful conclusion. An additional observation made by Donna Shannon of Personal Touch Career Services is: “Another consideration is what kind of placement do they offer. Do they only place their candidates, or do they work collaboratively with other agencies to expose their students to as many opportunities as possible?”

Check Their References

Don’t bother asking for references from the school/company you are considering. Would you give your future employer a reference that would speak neutrally or negatively about you? Well, neither would they. Instead, look for references on social media sites such as LinkedIn, EaseMakers, or any of the several associations available to Private Service Professionals. Search for, or post, a discussion on one of the many LinkedIn groups catering to Private Service Professionals. Donna Shannon of Personal Touch Career Services recommends, “I would suggest checking them out on Google as well as social media. Remember, when it comes to placement after the training, the school’s reputation will be reflected onto the student.

How Current or Applicable is the Information they are Teaching?

If they aren't up to date, their material will fail you.When did they last update their curriculum? Ask and check to see when they last updated their course material. The Private Service industry has changed dramatically in the last ten years, and it’s only getting more dynamic with every passing year, generation, and tidbit of new technology introduced. If the course offers publications or books, check to see when they were last updated. If it is a published book, check the ISBN. Again, be careful what you read in advertisements. They’re designed to convince you to buy. Also, ensure that the information they teach doesn’t pigeonhole you into a certain system or methodology. Every home and every Principal is different. Can their material be adapted into any household management software?

How Long Will You be Away from Work or Off the Job Market?

I don’t know about you, but when working in the industry full-time, I found it very hard to get away from work for more than a week. There were times when even that was impossible. I have yet to meet a Principal willing to go without their employee for four weeks. And when employed, the cost of leaving work to train. If an agency hasn’t adapted its training to accommodate your schedule, where do you think its focus is? Again, a lack of online training options casts suspicion on the relevance of their curriculum. Times have changed. The industry has changed. It’s time to look for an agency that keeps up with the times. Certainly, some things are best taught hands-on. But a majority of classroom work can be adapted to be delivered online. A good resource will adapt to improve the experience and access for their customer, YOU. In this same vein, I’m not a fan of 100% correspondence courses either; you need someone to answer your questions and provide examples of how to utilize the information based on your specific needs.

How Much Work Will You Be Doing in Addition To Class?

Some schools tell you that you will be coordinating and serving a formal dinner as a part of your training. While this isn’t a bad idea, it can be taken advantage of. There are stories of students organizing as many as four dinners in a four-week training course. Yes, while you may have this in a home you work in, you will be well compensated for your time – not so while you are training. While hands-on planning and execution of a formal dinner is a valuable experience, it shouldn’t take away from your other education and should never be taken advantage of.

Hold Your Instructors and Owners AccountableIf they insist you treat them like a Principal, they are driven by their ego. Same for those who give themselves important sounding titles.

Like any vendor that you spend money with, the ownership and educators should treat you as a student/client; they should be teaching you skills and techniques and provide mentorship and guidance. They should evaluate you on your skillset, execution of information, understanding of the concepts, and interaction with other students and teachers. As soon as they expect you to treat them like a Principal or as a superior, they have failed you. It is common knowledge that EVERY Principal is different, and judging you on how you treat them is merely an ego trip.  And using it as their excuse to mistreat students under the guise of “Evaluation” is simply narcissistic behavior.

Our Recommendation?

  • For a comprehensive training course that balances household administration and formal service, we highly recommend you look at The Charles MacPherson Academy.  They check all the boxes above, the material is current, and they are adapting the academy to allow easier access.  They also treat you with respect and courtesy.  Others choose to yell at you if you disagree with them.
  • The International Butler Academy in the Netherlands has the most consistently positive reviews for more formal-service-focused training.
  • The Essentials of Household & Estate Management is the most comprehensive two-day course that is easy to access and won’t break the bank. It gives you all the tools you need to write a household manual, set up an operational system, or collect all the information you need to input into a program of your choice…..Yes, that’s a shameless self-plug.
  • LinkedIn Learning, Udemy & Coursera.com for any subject you want to learn about.

Remember, the more questions you ask, the more informed your decision will be. We are very familiar with most of the offerings out there and welcome your call to discuss your options. You can Click Here to book time directly on our calendar.  But don’t only take our word for it. Ask others and listen to your gut!

Investing in a career you love is always a good investment when invested wisely!

You have an amazing career in front of you. YOU are in the driver's seat.  Make educated choices.