Qualified? Certified? Confused?
Recently we have seen quite a few adverts for training courses, which use various terms such as ‘certificated’, ‘approved’ and ‘recognised’. This can be rather confusing, as anybody can ‘certify’, ‘approve’ and ‘recognise’ anything they like. There is no protection for these terms so people selling dodgy products can use these descriptions as much as they like. You may as well have a piece of paper from your Mum! In the UK this has been partly addressed by the licensing of awarding bodies:
*Licensed awarding bodies*
In the UK, the government has set up the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) as the overseer of national qualifications. The QCA then licences awarding bodies to develop and oversee qualifications and awards in partnership with industry and academia. Licensed Awarding Bodies such as City & Guilds, and Open Awards, spend a lot of time and effort not only on developing and maintaining qualifications, they also oversee that assessments for their qualifications are carried out properly, typically by sending an independent External Verifier out to visit their approved training providers, witness practical assessments and check through paperwork. Checks and inspections of approved centres vary but are at least annual.
Any company, organisation, or indeed individual can issue a certificate, but unless they are an official awarding body licensed by the QCA, or a similar national authority in another country, their certificate is not a formal qualification. This does not necessarily mean that these certificates are worthless, since the reputation of some companies can mean that the value of a company certificate is widely recognised even though it’s not an official award.
But – if it’s a qualification or certification you’re interested in, then do check the status of the awarding body, and the relevance of the ‘award’ they offer.