Tuesday 28 February 2012

What are the Benefits of Certification?

Certification programs support many changes occurring in today’s workplace. For example, in a context of rapid technological innovation, individuals face exponential increases in knowledge requirements. Certification provides a means to demonstrate that employees meet these shifting demands. Consider the increased professionalization of the workplace in which academic degrees have a shorter life. While a degree might be a prerequisite to a given profession, certification helps advance careers. Moreover, there is increasing public demand for certification in order to ensure safety. Certification, in turn, is a means to avoid the heightened regulation that often befalls unmonitored activities.

For Employers
An employer that embraces, supports, and facilitates certification reaps considerable rewards. Certification helps define and differentiate organizations, resulting in a recognizable and reputable, best-in-class organization. Employees participating in certification programs form a higher skilled workforce and, in turn, operational quality is improved. Implementing certification programs elevates the given profession and establishes standards of professional practice, which heighten real and perceived credibility.

For Individuals and Internationally Trained Workers
Certification recognizes individuals’ existing skills and fosters a sense of pride and achievement in their work. Individuals are empowered to better understand advancement requirements and the learning pathways to achieve them. Certification benefits individuals by providing them with a competitive advantage in the labour market, heightened employability and a resource for inter-jurisdictional labour mobility. This can be particularly effective tool to enable foreign trained workers to demonstrate their capacity to work in a particular job, where validating past experience and credentials can be a challenge.

This post is based on content from 'ABC's of Certification' by Human Resource Systems Group, Ltd.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

How Does Certification Differ from Apprenticeship and Certificate-based Programs?

Organizations representing trades often struggle with understanding the differences between apprenticeship, certificate-based programs and certification.

An apprenticeship program is designed to recognize skilled crafts workers who have achieved a specified standard by undergoing various components of a training system. Apprenticeship is mandatory and based on a combination of formal in-class training and on-the-job training, and workers are often paid during the training in “earn as you learn” arrangements. At the end of an apprenticeship program, an individual is deemed competent to conduct activities without supervision and progresses from the role of apprentice to that of journey person.

Certificate-Based Programs, on the other hand, designate that participants completed the required education and/or training and demonstrated the intended learning outcomes, often through a test based on the curriculum.

Both of the above contrast with Certification Credentials, which designate that candidates must demonstrate the requisite work-related knowledge, skills, competencies, and other pre-requisites. Certification credentials can also be used to differentiate between basic skills and knowledge, and more advanced knowledge and or specializations.

This post is based on content from 'ABC's of Certification' by Human Resource Systems Group, Ltd.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

ABC's of Certification - What is Certification?

Certification is the recognition of individuals who meet predetermined standards as defined in terms of skills, abilities and knowledge. It is a voluntary process and, as such, the value of the program must be established in order to ensure that individuals desire the certification and that employers, in turn, value the credential. To maintain the credibility of a certification credential, there must be a third party assessment of an individual’s skills, knowledge and abilities. Recertification, a periodic renewal requirement, is another integral part of the certification process where an individual must demonstrate continued competence in their profession, often with a combination of set practice hours and continuous learning.

Unlike certification, licensure is a mandatory requirement for regulated professionals. Licensing structures exist to ensure that those practicing an often high-stakes occupation possess the knowledge and skills to do so safely and effectively. Certification plays a similar role for occupations not regulated by governments and often functions as a necessary qualification for professional advancement.

This post is based on content from 'ABC's of Certification' by Human Resource Systems Group, Ltd.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Competency-based Management for Internationally Trained Individuals

Revisiting your competency initiative may be just what your organization needs for an effective means to recruit and integrate Internationally Trained Individuals in your workplace. Not only does a competency based approach allow you to use existing tools for a new population, continuing with your initiative benefits all current and future employees due to their universal applicability.

If your organization has yet to start your initiative, diving in slowly can still be effective if funding is short. Start with purchasing and customizing a competency dictionary and creating competency-based interview questions. IT can be an affordable way to start your initiative. When more funding is available bring other components online such as performance management. Ideally, restructuring your human resources operations through a competency-based approach is the most efficient means of starting an initiative. Conservative financial times call for conservative approaches, and starting small will help you go big in the future.

This post is based on content from 'Integrating Internationally Trained Individuals without Reinventing the Wheel' by Shaun Vollick.