We get lots of enquiries about our training courses, and one of the questions that I am most regularly asked is, “If I train with UK Mediation will I be an accredited Mediator?”
Choosing a Mediation Training Course
In recent years, many new organisations have set themselves up as mediation training providers. If you are currently trying to choose the right training course for your own needs, we would understand if you were a little baffled by the various offers and technical terms that are being used and interchanged by training bodies. We hope this short guide might help you to make sense of it all.
- Course Accreditation – what is it?
Accreditation refers to the way that aspects of training courses are scrutinised and approved by an external body. All aspects of the course, from delivery to assessment, are monitored, regulated, and continually improved. The accrediting body defines standards, inspects what the training provider does, and matches the provider’s qualifications to a national standard.
Accrediting bodies, sometimes called ‘awarding bodies’, are overseen by Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications. Ofqual uses the rules of the Qualifications & Credit Framework (QCF), to determine a qualification’s level and credit value.
- The level of an accredited course tells you how complex or challenging the training is
- The credit value indicates how long the training is, and how much work is involved
External accreditation therefore allows you to see how complex and how long a course is, AND lets you compare one course with another. It is also REALLY valuable if you want to let prospective employers and clients know just what kind of training you have had, how long it was and what its level was.
Internal (self-) accreditation means…..well, we guess it means that a training provider is accrediting itself! So if a training provider is using the term ‘accredited’, check whether they mean real, external accreditation, or whether it is something that they have simply made up and applied to themselves.
- Provider ‘Approval’ – what does this mean?
Just to complicate matters, certain training providers (as opposed to their courses) might gain approval or authorisation by various professional bodies, meaning their courses then become valid for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) purposes. People attending courses who belong to those professional bodies, such as the Bar Council or Solicitor’s Regulation Authority, can therefore claim CPD points (or hours) for attending.
No problem with this, and if you are a member of one of the various bodies, most mediation training courses will allow you to claim CPD points (or hours) just for attending.
- ….and ‘Recognition’?
Course recognition refers to how certain courses might be viewed as meeting the standard required by a professional organisation or a particular mediation panel. There are lots of these, so if you see ‘recognised’ in a course description, just ask WHO is recognising the course, and for what purpose.
It would also appear that the terms ‘approval’ and ‘recognition’ have begun to be interchanged by training providers, so we suggest that if you only get to ask one question of your potential provider, simply ask, ‘What will the training allow me to do once I have completed it?
- So what does it all mean?
It means that at UK Mediation we can be entirely straight with you about how our courses are externally accredited: giving you an honest account of what you will receive when you train with us, and being clear about what you will be able to do with it.
It goes like this:
- All of our Mediation Practitioner’s Certificate courses are externally accredited by AIM Awards, an Ofqual awarding body. These courses award six credits at level four on the QCF.
- AIM Awards (it stands for Aspiration, Innovation, Motivation) are a national awarding organisation, offering Ofqual-regulated qualifications, and regulated by the QAA, the Quality Assurance agency for Higher Education.
- We chose to develop our qualifications with AIM Awards because with the qualification is then recognised and valued across all sectors (health & social, education, housing, commercial, manufacturing, service industry, etc). We used to do what a lot of other providers do, which is to deliver the Open College Network accredited course. This is an off-the shelf course that was developed in the early 90s, and seems to be everywhere. We have preferred to develop a much more up-to-date programme, and to base it around some of our own insights as practising mediators, especially with regard to the psychology of conflict resolution.
- So the whole thing means that you have an assurance of quality, and you can go out and start mediating straight after your qualification. Oh, and while we’re talking about quality assurance, we are unique in the field for holding the ISO 9001 quality standard and the Investors in People award.
- So will I be an accredited mediator if I train with UK Mediation?
Yes. You’ll be a mediator accredited by UK Mediation and the external awarding body, AIM Awards.
- So is that it? I just need to attend a training course?
Not quite. Our course is assessed at level four, which is the highest level training available, and there is an assessment, moderated by the external awarding body, that you have to pass.
Then, we would anticipate that any accredited mediator would:
- Be engaged in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of at least 6 hours per year
- Hold indemnity insurance
- Be undertaking case supervision
…and with these and all our other assurances, with the highest level of training that there is, and with our unique external accreditation, you can boldly go out into the world of mediation.
- And will I have to join some of these many councils, societies, or associations?
No, there is absolutely no need. With us, you will get all of the benefits of joining any or all of these things, but without the hassle. Once you are a UK Mediation Accredited Mediator, you will get:
- a certificate of accreditation
- a recognised code of practice
- your ‘UK Mediation Accredited Mediator’ logo
- templates for all the paperwork and systems that you will need in order to practise
- a regular e-newsletter
- discounted indemnity insurance
- discounts on ongoing training and CPD events
We recognise that mediators work in different ways, and in many different settings. You don’t have to be constrained by unnecessary membership of these ‘bodies’. Qualify with us and we give you everything to be able to assure your clients and purchasers that you are working with quality, professionalism and integrity. Being a UK Mediation Accredited Mediator is all you need.