First Published FE News 18th April 2016

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 another question.  Is education the same as training and are the options available for those seeking a professional vocational trainer qualification fit for purpose?  As part of drive to increase the apprenticeships, I believe the time is right to ask ourselves one further question.  Should there be a professional qualification specifically designed to be appropriate for vocational trainers?  My answer is most emphatically yes!

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 society and although at first we may think of further education colleges, along with employers, there are others who should also be included.  For examples: the armed forces, the police, driving instructors, hobby classes and many others.  This diversity indicates the requirement for inclusivity and while I see a need for a qualification, which is recognised throughout the training industry, different levels of qualification may be necessary.  However this larger consideration is beyond the immediate scope of my proposition and what I wish to first propose is a training college and employer-based trainer qualification.

A good starting point is to offer a name for the qualification.  I see something like ‘Certificate in Vocational Training’ as having a certain ring about it and, for the sake of simplicity; I will refer to all those involved as being either trainers or learners.

What follows are my suggested modules, together with a description 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.
  • Keeping tasks and assessment in line with 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 qualification.
  • First aid at work qualification.

Module 3: Managing Behaviour

  • Evaluating learner needs and expectations.
  • Making learner reports
  • Reporting to employers
  • Experience of the training centre’s capability procedure.
  • Experience of the training centre’s discipline procedure.

Module 4: Design of Training

  • Schemes of work.
  • Training session plans.
  • Arranging for facilities, equipment and consumable materials.

Module 5: Training Methods

  • Learning aids.
  • Delivering short lectures.
  • Demonstrations.
  • Coaching methods.
  • 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 centre’s enrolment procedures.
  • Familiarity with the awarding body’s enrolment and certification procedures.

In my experience, trainers are familiar with these techniques and are committed to passing on their expertise in the best possible way.  I believe that their professionalism will be better recognised and enhanced by the correct kind of qualification.

Of course I have invented nothing new and there will much more to put in place should the idea be taken up.  However, I hope to have put into words the thoughts, experience and expectations of my fellow vocational trainers and put everything under one roof.

In finishing, I would like to see an alternative ‘three Rs’ for a trainer qualification.  It should be:

  • Relevant
  • Realistic
  • Realisable


“I think it is an excellent article – eye-catching, knowledge-based, a clear, logical structure and very inform ative.”


An interesting article by Susan Bassnett.


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