Yes. CFE, on behalf of the Learning and Skills Council, ran a pilot with small training providers throughout 2008 to:
The majority of the participants, when asked, said yes, the Training Quality Standard is appropriate for small training providers.
The additional Guidance is now available and can be found here.
The short answer is ‘no’.
CFE, on behalf of the Learning and Skills Council, ran a pilot with small training providers throughout 2008. One of the major concerns of those involved in the pilot was that the creation of a different ‘version’ of the Standard for small training providers would devalue the badge.
The perception could be that it was perhaps an ‘easier’ version of the Standard to achieve and therefore would not be as prestigious as the ‘main’ badge. This would mean attainment of the small provider badge would not be as beneficial and would not provide the competitive edge that it should.
In fact, the TQS framework – which looks at the employer journey in its entirety – is just as applicable to small training providers as it is to large ones. Throughout the pilot, Assessors found that they were able to assess against this framework at every stage.
This does not mean that every provider, regardless of size and set-up, is treated the same when assessed against the Standard. Every training provider is different, and has their own story to tell – there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to training provision – and the Standard recognises this by not being prescriptive.
Rather than setting in stone what a provider must do, the Standard invites applicants to explain what it is they do and demonstrate that it works.
There are some things that Assessors still look for in particular; documentation, for example, to evidence that a process is in place – but the Assessor would not expect to see the same level of documentation in a small training provider as in a large college. It is all about the level of appropriateness. Is what you’ve got appropriate for the job? If a key member of staff left tomorrow, would everything be in place for someone to step in and pick up the role?
By allowing small training providers to achieve the same Standard as a very large college, we aim to help these small companies compete in today’s difficult market, and demonstrate that they provide excellent services to employers.
The Training Quality Standard sets out to assess and, where appropriate, certificate organisations engaged in the provision and delivery of training and development for their responsiveness to employers' needs and their expertise in particular industry sectors. To do this, the Training Quality Standard posts a non-prescriptive framework of criteria and indicators which are designed to test providers on each critical point in their ability to deliver successfully to employers.
We ask providers to tell their story - their own market, strategy, resources, way of doing things, and achievements - and what we aim to do is offer the opportunity for them to tell it in a structured way, which an independent assessor can use to compare the provider with the best in the field.
The aims of the Training Quality Standard are to create an assessment framework and process through which the best organisations providing and delivering training and development solutions to employers can be recognised and marked out.
Any organisation providing and delivering training and development solutions can use the Training Quality Standard as an assessment framework, regardless of its size, ownership, governance or funding arrangement. The Training Quality Standard has been designed to be neutral with respect to these factors, and to be non-prescriptive as to delivery model. There are however some basic eligibility criteria if you wish to be assessed against the Standard; please click here for more details.
If you are interested in seeking Training Quality Standard Certification, the first step is to register with a licensed Certification Body. This will usually involve filling in a registration form or registering online; the steps you take though will depend on which Certification Body you choose. For details of the Certification Bodies and their contact details, please click here.
For information on costs, please contact one of the Certification Bodies, who will be able to run you through their pricing policy.
You can find out Certification Body contact details by clicking here.
Over 100 training providers now hold the Training Quality Standard. A list of Certificated providers can be found here.
After completing an application form, a lead Assessor will be appointed to manage your case. They will make contact with you and begin a review of your application, scoring it against the assessment framework and identifying issues they would like to check.
Following that, a verification visit will be arranged where the lead Assessor, accompanied by a Support Assessor, will visit you and verify the details of your application.
After concluding the visit, the Assessors will agree a score and recommendation for your application. Unless the score is significantly below the hurdle necessary to pass, a Validation Survey will be conducted, telephoning a representative sample of your employer customers to see if a sufficient number will recommend your services.
The outcomes of all of these steps will then go to a panel review to make the final decision on Certification. Their decision will be forwarded to you once it is made, and followed up by a return visit from your lead Assessor, to present a Feedback Report.
You can see more detail of the assessment process here.
Your Certification Body will discuss timescales with you. Timely conclusion of an assessment will be helped where an application is submitted for the deadline agreed with your Certification Body, and will partly depend upon the dates you can offer to the Assessor team in arranging the Verification Visit.
The Training Quality Standard emphasises two linked but ultimately very different competencies in the performance of delivering services to employers:
For Part A, all of your organisation as it is presented to an employer will be in scope, that is to say all of your organisation that is employer facing and has contact with your employer customer.
For Part B, the critical question is whether the part of the organisation you propose is (1) within the scope of that for which you are seeking assessment (or have been Certificated) for Part A, and (2) represents a coherent delivery unit for the area of expertise for which you are applying.
This might be appropriate if you have no particular specialism, or if you wish to achieve certification for general responsiveness before seeking assessment for any expertise you feel you might have.
Part B certification can only be given where an organisation is certificated for Part A; this can happen at the same time, or sequentially (see below), but not with Part B first.
The following sources of support are available to help you with your application:
The Assessment Guide & Evidence Framework sets out detailed guidance on the Training Quality Standard and what it looks for, and all of the steps involved in assessment.
Applicant Training Courses will assist you in understanding what an Assessor will look for in an application. A list of these can be found here.
Other options for further support are availbale including workshops and consultancy to assist providers to work successfully with employers and deliver flexible, responsive and high-quality training. For more information please contact the TSQ helpline on 0845 225 1310 or click here to Email.
Certification typically lasts for three years, and will be specified in the Certification Agreement you sign.
The Training Quality Standard has the potential to make an impact through:
This website contains a range of background information – to find out more about any aspect of the Standard, a good place to start is ‘About the TQS’.