I’ve been working in the training industry for a long while and am at a stage now where I feel I can dispense good advise to the point that I’ve included accreditation information sessions to our service offering.
It goes without saying that if you are looking to become an accredited training provider it is best to do your home work first. Research is crucial for planning otherwise you will have either fail or get your accreditation at very great cost. To help you with this step you can start with our website for information on our popular breakfast workshop. Each accrediting body will have its own set of criteria’s that you will have to comply with prior to your company being accepted. In South Africa your options of accreditation bodies to name a few are: UMelusi, the industry specific SETA ETQA’s and the Council for Higher Education. Once you are accredited with one or more of these bodies, you will also have regular reviews or annual re accreditation meetings to assess your compliance and management of your Quality Management System so that you can keep your accredited status.
There are 27 SETA’s ETQA’s in SA, all of which offer training providers the option to become accredited and once accredited you will be able to offer accredited qualifications that are recognized in the various areas and related industry fields.
IMPORTANT things to remember
Check out what you competitors are doing as well as which accrediting bodies are leaders of the pack within your field. I cannot stress how important this step is because not all awarding agencies have expedient process. You don’t want to be told about backlogs six months after submitting your application. The wheels can turn that slowly. So compare apples with apples and make sure you pick the best of the bunch.
Even if you will have a consultant facilitating the accreditation for you, I would recommend setting up an action plan to match the criteria you will be expected to maintain. This should essentially be a bullet point summary of your Quality Management System (QMS).
Start as you mean to go on prepare and set up robust systems, data collection processes, paper work, qualifications, teaching plans, schemes of work etc doing this in detail at the beginning is crucial for you to maintain the criteria and keeping your accredited status easily. Not doing so is detrimental to not only the operation and success of your business in the long term but also to your reputation which is dependent on your clients from the onset.
Once the awarding body receives your application and confirmation of receipt has been given to you, they will review your details. At this point they will send you notification of a site visit and if all the relevant criteria is met and approved (i.e venue, learning program, QMS, ETD staff, etc) then you will most probably be granted Provisional Accreditation status. This means you are given a specified amount of time to apply everything you declared you would in your QMS and upon a verification visit (normally at the end of your first year as an accredited provider from SETA’s) you would receive your full accreditation status.
Marketing your new accreditation
When you achieve your Provisional status make you need to make sure you shout it from the roof tops. Write newsletters and press articles, email, call and visit your existing customers and your potential customers, tell everyone you know use your social media.
Try offering a free taster / breakfast or lunch so that you can launch your new courses and generate early interest. Invite your key customers and new customers you are trying to engage with. Ask your customers to bring one of their customers along that may find the courses of interest
Now you have promoted your initial launch make sure you add your new courses to your marketing plan and carry out consistent marketing to maintain interest.
Make sure that your marketing material includes a strong purposeful call to action.
That is my two cents worth with regards to accreditation at the moment. For more information feel free to visit our Accreditation Page , where you will see the services on offer, leave a comment here or contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org