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Choosing the right learning certification is important if you want genuine credibility and career progression.
Certification is one of the key indicators for employers and clients that an individual genuinely possesses the skills and experience needed to perform their role. The challenge, however, is that unlike the qualifications of a Teacher or a Doctor, certifications in more specialist areas such as Lean Competency are less recognisable and comparable. The credibility of a certification is heavily influenced by the quality of accreditation the learning provider has had to adhere to.
So what determines ‘good’ accreditation? Over the past five years, as the number of training providers offering Lean Competency training has grown, the vast difference in quality may have become obvious to experts but it remains an elusive area for professionals trying to select the best course. While opting for the quickest or cheapest route will always be tempting, it could result in wasted effort and a qualification that doesn’t hold up in the workplace.
Your 5 point checklist when seeking reputable certification:
In today’s market accreditation needs to be widely recognised across borders. Large businesses are typically multi-national and therefore if a qualification only holds weight in one country, you are potentially missing employment opportunities even in your home country. Try to pick qualifications which are understood internationally to maximise your creditability to more organisations, both in your home country and abroad.
A rigid learning and assessment process can be very restrictive for the learner. If coaching and training can be requested when required, this is much more beneficial and manageable for your employer also. Flexible accreditation bodies allow learning to be delivered in a variety of mediums, from eLearning to remote coaching through Skype. A credible training provider will understand and accommodate these needs and therefore offer a wide variety of solutions such as classroom based training, eLearning, work-based coaching, online testing and email support.
Qualifications which appear complex and difficult to understand for employers will always appear less credible. If only one institution or private organisation is offering the certification, this can also be viewed as less desirable. I have found that when multiple organisations are granted the right to be accredited bodies, this not only offers more choice to learners but also promotes the certification much more rapidly.
Ideally an accredited body will offer multiple levels of certification enabling individuals to progress as they develop their skills. Certification can act as the milestones within a career road map. Reinvigoration have used this concept when designing our training and coaching offerings to the extent of offering training courses for complete beginners to leading industry thinkers.
We all remember that fellow student at school who always achieved A star grades but had very poor inter-personal skills. Knowledge is important but application is what really makes the difference in the workplace and illustrates professional competence. Accreditation should be given when both of these are proven. Flexibility of assessment is key and may include online testing, workbook marking, structured interviews or workplace observations. In our case, we even have learners who have filmed the workshops they have delivered. This footage has been used for official assessment as well as for their own self-assessment of their delivery style.
Effective training offerings should be as strongly focussed on ‘how’ subjects are taught as they are on the ‘what’ to ensure the required skills are acquired alongside the required knowledge. This has enabled individuals to go back to their workplace and implement our approaches and tools for lean and operational excellence and bring real benefit to their employers.
The time required to write up the reports to prove competence is the number one reason why individuals do not complete professional qualifications. Writing 40,000 word assignments and sitting 3 hours exams might not be the optimum method to assess skills and competence in the workplace. These write-ups are typically seen as extra work to the day job and often have to be done in the learner’s precious evenings and weekends. A sacrifice which shouldn’t need to be required if the individual is using these skills in the workplace, which could be assessed in a different way. Competence should be assessed with evidence of the work done in the workplace and not just exams sat or theoretical essays written.
Although these five considerations are not an exhaustive list, they do provide a general guideline that should be applied to when choosing any professional certification for you or for your employees, based on real feedback received from partner accreditation organisations, learners and employers.
If you have any questions regarding the points raised in this blog, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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