Frequently Asked Questions

Technical, Commerial and Software Authorship

When can I enrol?

You can enrol at any time to suit yourself, because distance learning can be tailored to fit in with your individual requirements and personal circumstances. Simply complete the website Enrolment Form for the courses you wish to study, or insert your details into the website Contact Us form and we will send you a course brochure and an Enrolment Form by e-mail.

If I’m unemployed, can I get funding?

The situation regarding funding and sponsorship varies from county to county, and with new government initiatives. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus and ask about the various training incentives for which you may be eligible. You could also try local Training and Enterprise offices, or the Chamber of Commerce, for advice. Do be persistent and track down any leads you can find. We are happy to discuss our training courses with anyone who enquires on your behalf, so please ask them to contact ESTON Training.

What are my employment prospects as a qualified Technical, Commercial or Software Author?

Unlike so many other applications of technical or commercial expertise, Technical, Commercial and Software Authorship is an expanding field. There continues to be a demand for trained technical, commercial and software authors, both men and women, in industry and commerce. Usually the subject you are asked to write about is new to you. You can, for example, draw on your experience rather than an in-depth, detailed knowledge of a particular aircraft system, or computer program. After all, it is mainly new products that need documentation, so you are unlikely to have prior specialist knowledge.

Note also that age is not a barrier, especially if you are willing to consider contract work either in the UK, or overseas.

What does a Technical, Commercial or Software Author actually do?

A technical, commercial or software author establishes the documentation requirements for a project. The author researches the information by study, discussion, correspondence and so forth, and then verifies its accuracy and suitability for the reader. The technical, commercial or software author must also be a project manager, establishing contractual commitments, preparing synopses, estimating hours and costs, establishing a production programme, designing and planning publications, instructing illustrators, graphic designers, website administrators and printers. All this must be rolled together to produce either an on-line User Manual, a Maintenance Manual on DVD, or a printed manual or brochure, that the intended reader can easily understand. Oh, and yes, the author actually writes the manual or other document too!

What is the full range of ESTON’s Technical, Commercial and Software Authorship courses?

We offer a comprehensive range of competitively-priced courses designed to cover all aspects of Technical, Commercial and Software Authorship. The duration of the courses, and the amount of study involved, rather depends on the time and effort you put in when preparing responses to the course exercises.

What is the ISTC?

The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) is the independent voice of the technical, commercial and scientific writing community in the United Kingdom, and it is always seeking to provide new opportunities for membership participation and greater involvement with industry and commerce.

The main objective of the ISTC is to further the interests of all those involved in the business of communicating technical, commercial and scientific information. Although the institute has many members from a wide variety of industries with many technical disciplines, the membership predominantly comprises technical, commercial and software authors and publications managers and directors. The ISTC publishes a journal, “The Communicator”, and a quarterly newsletter (which is delivered by e-mail).

The institute offers membership to ESTON Training’s students at a reduced annual subscription, for the first year. If, as we hope, you apply for student membership, you will receive the institute’s journal (which often contains advertisements for technical and commercial publications jobs) and other literature, after you are elected to the institute.

To qualify for a reduced rate, student’s membership applications must be endorsed by ESTON Training. Therefore, you must return your completed ISTC Membership Application Form to us, if you wish to apply. Do not, however, send any money as the ISTC prefers to invoice students once their memberships have been approved.

For further information please contact the ISTC directly. Visit their website at:

What qualification can I obtain after completing the course?

For all distance learning courses ESTON Training will award you with a Diploma, provided that you have studied the course material effectively and completed the course exercises successfully.

Why is Technical, Commercial and Software Author training necessary?

Many of us have heard about, and probably voiced dissatisfaction with, the poor quality of operating instructions and pamphlets supplied with equipment, such as a new DVD player or washing machine. It is not that the equipment is intrinsically difficult to set up and program, it’s just that the muddled instructions that come with it make it seem far more complicated than it really is. Competent, well-trained technical, commercial and software authors know how to avoid these pitfalls, and can use their authorship skills to write simply and effectively about anything from computer software and aeroplanes, to banking systems and insurance products.

Distance Learning

Are ESTON Training’s distance learning courses only available in the UK?

Although ESTON Training has its offices in the United Kingdom, its distance learning training courses are available (via the Internet) to individuals and companies throughout the world. ESTON has associates throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, South Africa and other countries where English is the technical language.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning is a method of study that does not require you to attend any structured classroom sessions, or lectures. It is a flexible learning scheme, like the Open University, designed to overcome many of the traditional barriers to training, such as releasing people from work and having groups of students available at the same time. You can work in your own time at your own pace, wherever you choose.

Distance learning is the training method for the 21st century. Training on a major subject usually calls for lengthy, and often inconvenient, periods of work release. Courses can be expensive and accommodation costs are high. This means that traditional classroom courses tend to be too short to cover the subjects thoroughly. Additionally, the backlog that greets your return to work often means that you don’t get the chance to introduce innovative ideas while they are fresh in your mind. Many new initiatives never see the light of day.

Distance learning overcomes all of these barriers. It is now one of the main teaching techniques used in industry and higher education. Course participants do not need to be released from work, the cost of training is much cheaper, and there are no additional accommodation costs to pay. ESTON’s courses contain all the training materials required and they give you the freedom to learn at your own pace. You can implement new ideas as the course progresses. And, instead of being one in a class of many, the only participants in distance learning are you and your ESTON Training tutor!

What is Tutorial Support?

The best way to judge your performance and identify weaknesses is to have your work evaluated critically against objectives and acknowledged standards by expert and experienced tutors.

ESTON Training’s tutors are all knowledgeable, senior authors of various disciplines, with many years publications management experience gained from working in the United Kingdom and overseas. Each course exercise you submit is commented upon by your tutor, who will provide guidance, additional information and/or Tutorial Comments, as appropriate. Thoroughness of the personal tutorial is recognised by individuals and companies alike as a special feature of ESTON’s training courses.

Although your exercises are submitted and returned by e-mail, you are always welcome to telephone the ESTON Training office for additional help and advice if you need it (during office hours: from 9 am to 4.30 pm).

Where is ESTON Training?

ESTON Training is a British company that was set up by ESTON Limited (Derby) in 1982. ESTON’s head office is now in Nantwich, Cheshire.

Who purchases ESTON Training courses?

ESTON Training’s courses are purchased by both companies and individuals in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. Employers purchase ESTON Training courses for their employees to ensure that they are professionally trained and that they communicate at all levels, with quality information. Most activities rely on the quality of information and how well it is used.

Decisions are not usually made on facts alone, but on the information that the decision maker actually understands, which is a significant yet subtle distinction. Any individual who completes an ESTON Training course becomes more professional in dealing with information and people, both in writing and face-to-face, thereby improving the image presented to both potential employers and colleagues.