eBay UK has announced that its Education Specialist Program is to end as of next week. Members were told in an email:
You are receiving this message as a registered tutor of the UK & Ireland eBay Education Specialist Programme. Unfortunately, the interest in this programme has been very low. As a result it has been decided to close the programme in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 17 April 2010. … As a current eBay Education specialist registered on the programme you will no longer be eligible to use the title “Education Specialist trained by eBay” and the associated logo and curriculum from 17 April 2010. You can, of course, continue to offer your own independent training courses, however;they will not be officially endorsed by eBay.
The ESP was rather a well-kept secret by eBay, under-publicised, under-utilised and really not rigorous enough in either membership criteria or course materials. Most ESPs I’ve spoken to say (and certainly my own feeling for the single year I was a member of the program was) that the “trained by eBay” logo was the really useful part of the program: course materials supplied were horribly basic *and* out of date, so anyone really making a go of eBay training was using materials they developed themselves.
I spoke to Simon from Robin Hood Direct, who’s been a member of the UK ESP program: he told me “the material was soooo outdated, but it was handy for leads for training/consultancy work.” Simon’s biggest gripe – and again, this is reflected by other members of the program – is the short notice period for closure. For those who have to remove the ESP logo from printed materials, or even PowerPoints or website – a week is really very little time to do it.
There’s no indication at the moment that other Education Specialist Programs outside the UK are to be closed down.