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Should we put hamburgers into hot-dog buns?

If, by analogy, you accept that hamburgers are vocational trainers and hot-dog buns are academically based vocational trainer qualifications, this seemingly nonsensical question may lead you to consider a second question. Does academic methodology provide a vocational training qualification that is fit for purpose? My response is that it does not and that there is a need to offer a professional qualification appropriate to vocational training activities. I would like to open a discussion by setting out my view of training and suggesting the framework of how such a qualification may be achieved.

Training is a very diverse activity that takes place in all of areas of our society. Although we may think of further education colleges, along and employers, there are others who should also be included. For examples: the armed forces, the police, driving instructors, hobby classes along with many others. This diversity indicates the need for inclusivity and so while I see a need for a qualification, which is recognised throughout the training industry, different levels of qualification will be required. However this larger consideration is beyond the immediate scope of this article and what I first wish to propose is a training college and employer-based trainer qualification.

I’d like to start by offering a name for the qualification and I see ‘Certificate in Vocational Training’ as having a certain ring about it. Next, for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to all those involved as being either trainers or learners.

What follows are suggested modules, together with an outline of what they should include:

Module 1: FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR VOCATIONAL TRAINERS

  • Appropriate subject knowledge for the area of training.
  • Knowledge of safeguarding young people and vulnerable adults.
  • Respecting confidentiality and data protection.
  • Creating tasks and assessments that conform to industry standards.

Module 2: HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • The legal requirements that apply to the subject area.
  • Carrying out risk assessments.
  • Managing safely in the workplace.
  • First aid at work.

Module 3: MANAGING BEHAVIOUR

  • Evaluating learner needs and expectations.
  • Writing learner reports.
  • Reporting to employers.
  • Awareness of capability procedures.
  • Awareness of discipline procedures.

Module 4: DESIGN OF TRAINING

  • Recruiting of apprentices.
  • Recruiting for short courses.
  • Curriculum development.
  • Schemes of work.
  • Training session plans.
  • Arranging for facilities, equipment and consumable materials.

Module 5: TRAINING METHODS

  • Learning aids.
  • Delivering short lectures.
  • Demonstrations.
  • Coaching.
  • Syndicate work.
  • Question and answer techniques.

Module 6: ASSESSMENT METHODS

  • Creating appropriate task checklists.
  • Continual formative assessments.
  • Learner self assessments.
  • Peer group learner assessments.
  • Summative assessment.

Module 7: ENROLMENT AND CERTIFICATION

  • Familiarity with the training centre’s enrolment procedures.
  • Familiarity with the awarding body’s enrolment and certification procedures.

I have invented nothing new and, while I’ve tried to put everything under one roof, there will much more to put in place should such a qualification being seen as the way forward. I also hope to have put into words the thoughts, experience and expectations of my fellow vocational trainers as I believe that their professionalism will be better recognised and enhanced by the correct kind of qualification.

In finishing, I would like to see an alternative ‘three Rs’ for a trainer qualification, that it is:

  • Relevant
  • Realistic
  • Realisable

I trust you have found this article food for thought, and I look forward to a continuing debate.

Eric Baker is an author with 26 years of FE experience as a lecturer and NVQ assessor/verifier

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