When it comes to health and safety training, one of the issues that needs to be considered is whether you and/or your employees require an accredited or non-accredited training course. As with most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages of each.
Course syllabus content
Accredited health and safety training courses such as the NEBOSH Certificates (General, Construction, Fire and Environmental), ConstructionSkills (SMSTS and SSSTS), IOSH (Managing, Working, Directing Safely) etc all have specific syllabuses which need to be followed in order to satisfy the assessment criteria. This means that there may be large sections which are irrelevant for different people on the course and their particular job role, which could lead to delegates becoming bored and “switching off”. This might not be a problem for the part that isn’t relevant to them, but if they do not “re-engage” when relevant information is being taught, they run the risk of potentially missing crucial information. There is also a danger of distracting others on the course who do need to understand what is being taught.
Unlike accredited courses which, as mentioned above have to follow specific syllabuses, those that are not accredited can be tailored to an organisation’s specific workplace hazards and working practices. This means that the subject matter is likely to be much more relevant to those attending. A non-accredited course can even incorporate the organisation’s health and safety policy and emergency procedures into the taught subject matter.
They may not be tailored, but don’t forget the status
An advantage of an accredited health and safety training course is that only the providers who have been pre-approved by the relevant awarding body are allowed to deliver their respective courses. This allows for greater peace of mind (extremely important when parting with a large amount of money!), as teaching standards have been assessed as meeting a certain standard and pass rates are consistently good.
The fact that syllabuses are consistent and exams the same across providers, it means that those who have acquired the qualification can be regarded as having a high level of competency and health and safety knowledge as they have passed the required assessment, whereas a non-accredited qualification could have been awarded to somebody after attending a course which is far too easy and, more pertinently, does not provide the knowledge necessary for working safely or managing others back in the workplace. Just because somebody has a nice looking certificate does not mean they could perform their role to the necessary requirement back in the workplace if they do not have the sufficient knowledge to go with it. Those with a genuine certificate from a recognised and well-respected awarding body can prove to others that they have this knowledge just by showing the certificate.
But this status can come at a price. For those undertaking accredited health and safety training, there is often a large amount of course material and hefty textbooks which are incorporated into the course price or have to be bought as an added extra, as well as exam registration and official certification fees. There can also be long waits to receive exam results and certificates after completing an accredited course, which can be particularly frustrating for those who require the qualification before starting or applying for jobs.
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So in conclusion, neither accredited or non-accredited training can be defined as “better”, as it’s suitability will depend not only on the requirements of the person or company requiring the training, but also on the quality of the training provider who is delivering the course.