Why Your Accreditation Consultant is Not Approved

Quality assurance bodies like SETAs in South Africa typically disapprove of education and training providers using accreditation consultants.

Why Your Accreditation Consultant is Never Approved!

Do You Want to Hire an Accreditation Consultant?

A Great Accreditation Consultant Will Show You How to Shine

Quality assurance bodies like SETAs in South Africa typically disapprove of education and training providers using accreditation consultants because it undermines the integrity and rigour of the accreditation process.

Additionally, reliance on consultants may indicate a lack of institutional capacity or commitment to maintaining high standards independently. This raises meaningful concerns about the sustainability of quality assurance efforts in the long term.

Accreditation Consultant is Persona non Grata

That’s why as an accreditation consultant I believe in teaching clients how to manage their quality council relationships as opposed to representing them. I coach my clients in what to say during calls, visits and emails. We talk through conflict and charm situations so that you are prepared for anything.

accreditation services south africa

The Quality Councils and SETAs are Important Assets

Their policy frameworks are developmental, which is why they resent meeting accreditation consultants as opposed to you. They appear to view consultants almost as “rent seekers” who exploit market fear of failure. For example, many accreditation applicants seem unaware that SETAs often offer a free 3 hour accreditation consultation.

I went through a Services SETA session when I worked in corporate. Because I wasn’t a consultant but a client, we had an amazing time. She called others into the session and they generously loaded me with information.

The Cape Town branch of the MICT SETA is another example of generosity. During the extension of scope visit they added qualifications to our list because they said we should do more!

So magic happens when you captain your ship and show a dep understanding of your environment.

An Accreditation Consultant Will Integrate NQF Rules and Market Needs

Accreditation consultants may prioritise shortcuts and quick fixes over genuine compliance with quality standards. This can lead to a dilution of educational standards, jeopardizing the credibility of qualifications and the overall quality of education and training provided.

For example, you may need to offer programmes in fewer notional hours than the required norm. While a 6 credit unit standard programme should be completed in 1 1/2 days, you may want to offer it in 1 day’s training.

Adapt Materials and Add Processes

The correct way to do this would be to repurpose your learning materials to meet the time requirement. I would look at the formative activities, reduce them while expanding on the outcomes for individual activities.

Then I would create a Prior Learning rubric for each participant to complete before they attend. This rubric will identify their current levels of skills, knowledge and values to justify an accelerated learning experience. It’s like a form of RPL. If candidates already have evidence to meet the course outcomes then they don’t need training for it.

qcto accreditation services construction ceta

Make Accreditation Strategic

In a study to probe the views of stakeholders on the quality assurance challenges they face, you can see that knowledge of accreditation is extending deeper into society.

Here is a sample of skills development provider views on accreditation:

I support the idea of accreditation.95.7%4.3%93
Accreditation adds value to my business.92.5%7.5%93
I use my accreditation status to market my courses.92.4%7.6%92
Accreditation is perceived with value by my clients.87.0%13.0%92
Accreditation has a beneficial effect on the overall competitiveness of training providers.78.5%21.5%93
Accreditation should be an option for private providers.51.1%48.9%90
Once a provider has been accredited, this should be sufficient unless there are complaints about the organization.67.0%33.0%91
Accreditation has helped us to improve our pass rates.34.8%65.2%89
Costs of accreditation should be borne by the government.56.2%43.8%89
Costs of accreditation should be charged on a sliding scale depending on the provider’s annual turnover.54.4%45.6%90

A. Overview of Quality Assurance Bodies in South Africa

In South Africa, quality assurance in education and training is overseen by three main bodies: Umalusi, CHE (Council on Higher Education), and the QCTO (Quality Council for Trades and Occupations).

  1. Umalusi focuses on general and further education, ensuring standards and quality in schooling and adult learning.
  2. CHE regulates higher education institutions, ensuring quality in degree programs and qualifications.
  3. The QCTO focuses on vocational education and training, ensuring standards in occupational qualifications. Additionally, SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authorities) operate within specific sectors, aligning skills development with industry needs and standards.
training accreditation process qcto seta che dhet

II. Understanding Accreditation Consultants

A. Accreditation Consultant Definition and Role

Accreditation consultants are experts hired by education and training providers to navigate the accreditation process effectively. They offer guidance on meeting quality standards and regulatory requirements, aiming to streamline the accreditation journey and ensure compliance with industry norms and benchmarks.

B. Common Accreditation Consultant Practices

Accreditation consultants typically conduct thorough assessments of educational programs and facilities to identify areas needing improvement. We assist in documentation preparation, quality assurance protocols, and staff training to align with accreditation standards. Consultants may also provide ongoing support, including mock audits and continuous monitoring, to maintain compliance and enhance the quality of education and training services.

I refer to this as the administrative approach which I believe is inherently limited because of a lack of economic analysis. Conventional accreditation consultants focus on one goal, getting you accredited. But the quality of accreditation plays a major part in your success.

For example, becoming accredited for three unit standards versus becoming accredited for 3 qualifications. Conventional consultants may simply give you what you request or you could become a liability to them.

nqf level 6 qualifications qcto

III. Why Quality Assurance Bodies Disapprove of Accreditation Consultants

A. Threat to Integrity

Quality assurance bodies view the involvement of accreditation consultants as a potential threat to the integrity of the accreditation process. Consultants may prioritize expediency over thoroughness, potentially compromising the robustness and reliability of the assessment.

Additionally, consultants may use their expertise to navigate the accreditation process in a way that prioritizes short-term gains for their clients. For example, such as obtaining accreditation quickly or with minimal effort, rather than focusing on long-term improvements in educational quality and sustainability.

B. Risk of Shortcut Methods

There’s a concern that accreditation consultants provide shortcut methods to expedite the accreditation service. This could result in you failing to learn about essential quality checks and standards to maintain your accreditation status.

Your accreditation consultant may have selected a qualification or unit standard based on the availability of resources to sell, such as learning materials. If you said want a speedy accreditation then there won’t be time to design and develop learning materials from scratch. Instead you’ll purchase and customise content. Unless your accreditation consultant informs you about the free SETA learning materials that are available. So you can save money and time by using SETA approved content.

rpl and other policies for accreditation consultation

If this sounds like you, drop Leonie an email.

Bad decisions undermine the credibility of the accreditation and the qualifications it represents. A good decision is a qualification that you efficiently sell to scale in the market. If your accredited status is dependant on a skills programme or qualification that you cannot sell, you will lose your accreditation.

C. Concerns Over Educational Standards

Quality assurance bodies are wary of the impact of accreditation consultants on educational standards. Consultants may focus solely on meeting minimum requirements rather than striving for excellence, leading to a decline in the overall quality of education and training provided by institutions.

D. Compromised Quality of Education

Accreditation consultants’ focus on meeting minimum standards may result in compromised quality of education. Institutions may prioritize compliance over excellence, neglecting opportunities for innovation and improvement in teaching and learning practices. Consequently, students may receive subpar education, impacting their skills development and future career prospects.

V. Institutional Capacity and Commitment

A. Indicators of Reliance on Consultants

The reliance on accreditation consultants may indicate certain weaknesses in institutional capacity and commitment to maintaining quality standards independently. Institutions that heavily rely on consultants often demonstrate a lack of internal expertise or resources necessary for navigating the accreditation process effectively. Signs of reliance may include frequent engagement of consultants for accreditation-related tasks, limited staff training on accreditation processes, and inadequate documentation or systems for quality assurance.

B. Sustainability Concerns

Concerns arise regarding the sustainability of quality assurance efforts when institutions heavily depend on accreditation consultants. Relying on external consultants for accreditation may lead to a short-term solution without building internal capacity for long-term compliance and improvement.

Without the development of in-house expertise and resources, institutions may struggle to adapt to evolving accreditation standards or changes in regulatory requirements. This lack of sustainability poses risks to the continuous quality improvement of educational programs and institutions, potentially undermining their long-term viability and reputation.

accreditation consultant learnerships

Holistic Accreditation Services: A Comprehensive Approach to Accreditation Success

I. Analyzing Your Proposed Business Model

In this initial phase, we delve into your institution’s proposed business model, conducting a thorough market analysis to inform the selection of qualifications. Our process involves identifying market trends, demands, and competition. By understanding these dynamics, we can tailor strategies that align with your institution’s specific goals and values.

It’s difficult to explain why I get a massive kick out of doing this. Someone once said I have a god complex because I want to find and connect each molecule to imagine a future for a range of potential outcomes. It’s an immersive process for each client.

Combining Education and Development Economics Adds Depth to decision-making

Economics is all about people’s behaviour and the choices they make. To me, the fields of education and economics are intricately connected to power your accreditation. Together they connect possibilities to each other. I am passionate about the occupational learning space delineated by the QCTO and SETAs because they bring dignity to our people.

marketing accredited training

II. Understanding Market Dynamics

Understanding the intricacies of the market is crucial for accreditation success. We identify emerging trends and demands, ensuring that your qualifications remain relevant and competitive. Additionally, we assess the competitive landscape, positioning your institution strategically within the market.

III. Quality Management System (QMS) Design and Implementation Training

Our comprehensive training programs equip your team with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and implement robust QMS protocols. Through practical guidance and hands-on training, we ensure seamless integration of QMS into your institution’s operations.

IV. Access to Free SETA Learning Materials

Access to SETA learning materials enriches your educational resources and enhances the quality of your offerings. These materials strengthen your qualifications, ensuring they meet industry standards and remain competitive in the market.

V. Building Strong Quality Council Relationships

Navigating the requirements of quality councils is essential for accreditation success. We provide guidance on establishing effective communication channels and building strong relationships with quality councils. This ensures smooth collaboration throughout the accreditation process, ultimately leading to success.

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