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Old 19.05.2014, 14:26
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'The Knowledge Academy'

A while back I started a thread about project management course advice. After some advice I booked my self onto the PRINCE2 Project management course in Lausanne run by The Knowledge Academy with an upfront payment of 1795 CHF. For the past 3 months I have had some terrible service and some of the most glancing of apologies

So I can get this off my chest:
  • First course is cancelled with 3 days notice by email, apology issued and told I could go to Geneva, next available in Lausanne or online course, no refund
  • I choose to reschedule next available in Lausanne
  • second course is cancelled, no email. I have to call them to find out what is going on. They insist they have sent me emails and phoned me and left messages. Nothing in voicemail, inbox, spam.
  • told I could go to Geneva, next available in Lausanne or online course.
  • I ask if it is likely that the next Lausanne course is cancelled. Told that it is not likely to be cancelled.
  • I choose to reschedule next available in Lausanne
  • Feeling in my bones that they are going to cancel, I call and email a week before the course is going to start to find out if it is still happening. No reply to emails, when I call I am told my rep is on lunch and will call me right back. I explain my issues and how frustrated I am, told that they will call me right back
  • Nothing
  • Email from a new person 3 days before the course is supposed to start saying the course has been cancelled and told I could go to Geneva, next available in Lausanne or online course, no refund
  • I reply with why this is not good enough, set out three options; Garentee of next cource in Lausanne not being cancelled. Travel expenses payed to Geniva or a refund and the online course.
  • No reply for a week
  • Send email explaining my frustration to the Managing director of company.
  • This gets their attention and I get a reply from a rep, with another apology but not addressing my three options I have given them to resolve the issue. They also chose not admit to cancelling three courses just two, start to think they are doing this to wind me up.
  • I give them the options again
  • They say they can pay my travel expenses or give me the online course with a refund.

I have opted for the e learning and a refund in the difference between the classroom course and e learning course, as I do not trust them to not cancel the Geneva course now and I have wasted too much time on preparing and being cancelled on.

TL;DR
I would not recommend using the The Knowledge Academy. I know a teacher can cancel or a course can be under sold, but if that happens sort it out and if it happens three times sort it out quick... with, perhaps, a good will gesture somewhere.
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  #2  
Old 19.05.2014, 14:56
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

Is the company you speak of based in Lausanne? I used a company of the same name who are UK based and had a really good experience with them so much so that they now supply all the training for Prince2 at the company where I work.
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Old 19.05.2014, 15:03
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

Yes it is a UK based company, I'm sure there are happy customers out there. I would also guess that their large contracts, like supplying training for a whole whole business, gets a lot better customer service as there is more money involved.
I have found their customer service at a personal level hugely lacking.
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Old 19.05.2014, 15:09
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

I did a Prince 2 with these guys in Birmingham, UK was an interesting course and I collected the foundation + practitioner in one shot.

It wasn't cheap I might add. I applied Swiss logic, I'd rather pay more and pass than be in a farm environment with 50 others and take a 50/50. Group size was about 20.

I can only describe the teaching on this course as excellent. Perhaps I got lucky?

This is not the experience I had of this company, then again I didn't have to evoke the complaints procedure.
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Old 19.05.2014, 15:20
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

I think if the first course had not been cancelled the I would also have a glowing review. It has been their resolving of the three cancellations that has left me wanting.
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Old 19.05.2014, 15:44
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

The good customer service when arranging my course and the excellent trainer is what got them more work from us. Without that there would have been no subsequent courses. Maybe I got lucky or you got very unlucky.

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Yes it is a UK based company, I'm sure there are happy customers out there. I would also guess that their large contracts, like supplying training for a whole whole business, gets a lot better customer service as there is more money involved.
I have found their customer service at a personal level hugely lacking.
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Old 10.04.2015, 19:32
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

I have just had the same experience. I booked a course in Lausanne. I got a confirmation three days before the course then twenty minutes later they cancelled the course. It cost CHF3450 They offered virtual course instead, which I am sure does not cost that much or a course in London which I cannot do. I am now trying to get my money back. The worst service I have ever come across. Totally unprofessional way of dealing with clients. I am wondering whether the courses in Switzerland actually take place or is just a money making scheme because they refuse to pay refund.

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Old 10.04.2015, 20:03
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

Why do you need to take a course to get the Prince 2 certificate? Isnt self-studies more than enough?
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Old 22.05.2015, 14:01
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

Yeah I realise now that you don't really need a course to achieve the qualification but that is hindsight for you.

If any one feels like they need to write a review of their experiences you can do so here. The aggregated score appears on theknowledgeacademy.com
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  #10  
Old 02.03.2016, 11:31
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

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I have just had the same experience. I booked a course in Lausanne. I got a confirmation three days before the course then twenty minutes later they cancelled the course. It cost CHF3450 They offered virtual course instead, which I am sure does not cost that much or a course in London which I cannot do. I am now trying to get my money back. The worst service I have ever come across. Totally unprofessional way of dealing with clients. I am wondering whether the courses in Switzerland actually take place or is just a money making scheme because they refuse to pay refund.

I have just been contacted by someone who is trying to appease their disgruntled clients. email Customer-First@TheKnowledgeAcademy.com with your booking reference number to perhaps get some appology...
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Old 28.11.2017, 14:31
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

Bump up. Same thing after signing up for a deeply discounted course. Cancellation notice 4 days after the money went through, but still 8 days before the course would start (so it can't be sickness).

The whole company looks like a scam...

Quote:
Dear Adam,

I am contacting you regarding the course you are due to attend on 4 December. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have regrettably cancelled the course.

I apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused. However, I have looked into other options for you.

The course is looking to confirm in Geneva on 11 December.

Alternatively, the course is scheduled to run in Zurich on the following dates;

Ø 29th Jan 18
Ø 23rd Apr 18
Ø 27th Aug 18
Ø 26th Nov 18

Would any of the above dates be suitable for you to attend?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
Ben Sweetman
The Customer Experience Team
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Old 28.11.2017, 15:18
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

I might be able to offer some insight...

Said company contacted me a few weeks ago. They were looking for a trainer for one of their courses, and offered 300euros a day (31 an hour) if I agreed to run the course. The notice period was 5 days (i.e. they wanted me to run the course the week after). No payments for meals and transport.

So my gut feel is that they organize courses, then try to find trainers for the dates on a freelance basis. Potentially not knowing the Swiss market, they think it's easy to find a trainer for 300euro a day on a freelance basis...

M.
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Old 28.11.2017, 15:36
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

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I might be able to offer some insight...

Said company contacted me a few weeks ago. They were looking for a trainer for one of their courses, and offered 300euros a day (31 an hour) if I agreed to run the course. The notice period was 5 days (i.e. they wanted me to run the course the week after). No payments for meals and transport.

So my gut feel is that they organize courses, then try to find trainers for the dates on a freelance basis. Potentially not knowing the Swiss market, they think it's easy to find a trainer for 300euro a day on a freelance basis...

M.
I know they do this. But then again, by now they should be knowing the pricing. Nevertheless I stayed away and asked for a full confirmation before committing myself.

Just look at this email from my Inbox from September:

Quote:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: A.G. <****@theknowledgeacademy.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 2:34 PM
Subject: RE: The Knowledge Academy

Dear Adam,

With the people confirmed the course already and with your confirmation it will absolutely be scheduled to run.
...
After asking what the real reason for the cancellation was, they told me that they couldn't get enough interest (BS!) and of course offered me the virtual course for the same price.

I've now asked twice to re-transfer my fees to my back account to get my money back. Will keep this thread updated accordingly.
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Old 05.12.2017, 19:56
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

update on my case above:
- after asking 3 times in a row and declining offers to have a course in GVA (instead of ZRH), have the course online for the same fee (no thanks) or have the course in April 2018 (way too late), I got a promise that a refund is indeed underway to my account. It takes them 20 days(!) for a refund.

- got pissed on this whole proceeding so I wrote to cancel my other course that I booked previously for January 2018. They then gently reminded me of their terms and conditions that say cancellations are only free T-50 days or before. This was T-48 days, so I'm due 25% (600CHF) for a cancellation. I asked to reschedule the course then, the same fee applies.

I asked them to revisit my case in due fairness as I'm still willing to pay the second course, but not the penalties for re-scheduling 48 days in advance, when they cancelled the course on me T-10 days and I still had to fight for a refund (that is still yet to arrive).

Even if on paper they are right, this whole company seems like a giant financial scam to me. I'd not recommend anyone to get sucked in by the good prices.
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Old 07.01.2018, 00:31
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

I was planning to enroll for a course with this academy but looking at this thread I wonder if any course ever run in Switzerland at all! Anyone out there actually had any training and can comment on it ?
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Old 07.01.2018, 01:04
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

update on my case
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update on my case above:
- after asking 3 times in a row and declining offers to have a course in GVA (instead of ZRH), have the course online for the same fee (no thanks) or have the course in April 2018 (way too late), I got a promise that a refund is indeed underway to my account. It takes them 20 days(!) for a refund.
The refund arrived on the 20th December. Lost about 90 CHF worth of CHF-EUR currency conversion in the process.

Quote:
I asked them to revisit my case in due fairness as I'm still willing to pay the second course, but not the penalties for re-scheduling 48 days in advance, when they cancelled the course on me T-10 days and I still had to fight for a refund (that is still yet to arrive).
They approved me paying the full course price without the re-scheduling fee in the end. The more ridiculous part is, I never had a date where the course would run and I asked 3 times already in email when these course would be scheduled, to no response yet.
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Old 07.01.2018, 11:01
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

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I might be able to offer some insight...

Said company contacted me a few weeks ago. They were looking for a trainer for one of their courses, and offered 300euros a day (31 an hour) if I agreed to run the course. The notice period was 5 days (i.e. they wanted me to run the course the week after). No payments for meals and transport.

So my gut feel is that they organize courses, then try to find trainers for the dates on a freelance basis. Potentially not knowing the Swiss market, they think it's easy to find a trainer for 300euro a day on a freelance basis...

M.
CHF 31 per hour payment for a trainer of business qualifications - wow! Most inhouse courses we’ve run have had external trainers costing more than 3 times that.
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Old 07.01.2018, 11:21
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

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CHF 31 per hour payment for a trainer of business qualifications - wow! Most inhouse courses we’ve run have had external trainers costing more than 3 times that.
it's actually a rate for a cleaner.
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Old 09.01.2018, 13:43
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

"Good prices" and "300 euros a day for the trainer" - could there perchance be the teensiest correlation?

However, from the provision point of view, cancellation a week to 10 days in advance for lack of take-up is common and sensible because the host venue may have cancellation terms of that sort of period otherwise the room hire fee is incurred regardless. You then make damn sure you cancel the course before it costs you the penalty.

Or the students could pay more to make sure the provider can pay a rate that will attract any trainer, cover its costs and make some money itself?

(That's not to defend the provider in this case, of whom I have zero knowledge)
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Old 09.01.2018, 14:10
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Re: 'The Knowledge Academy'

what I don't get is: the courses start from let's say 3-4 people. These courses usually cost around 4k for a week, discounted to 2000-2500 Francs per person.

So out of 8-10k revenue, why do they need someone to hold a 5-day course at 300.- a day? They could easily pay 1k per day for the trainer, pay the room and still have 30% profit for nothing but some emails organizing...
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