Pay it forward: supporting those who give so much  

Ask anybody how many teachers truly made a difference in their life, and you never come up with more than the fingers on one hand. You remember their names, you remember what they did, you remember how they moved in front of the classroom. You know why you remember them? Because they were passionate about the subject. You remember them because they lit a flame within you.

–Neil deGrasse Tyson

The best part of my job is the opportunity to work with inspiring people. Coming from a family of teachers, I know that teaching is a labor of love, undertaken because of passion for students and the subject matter, rather than expectations of status or great wealth. Similarly, it is no secret that the best curricula and training equipment won’t quite do the trick if you do not have an able instructor facilitating learning and “lighting a flame” in their students.

For these reasons, IREC has always viewed instructor certification as a key piece of the quality infrastructure needed to advance clean energy. With the advent of IREC’s new standards in 2013, there is a clearer distinction between instructor certification and organization accreditation, and we’ve been given an opportunity to focus on and further improve our support and services for instructors.

Thanks to your feedback and numerous candid conversations with you about the value you’ve realized from your credential, we have a number of initiatives underway to improve your experience and position instructor certification with stakeholders as crucial to the success of our industry.

First and most importantly, we’ve reorganized and deployed additional staff resources to provide more extensive hands-on support with the application process and annual reports. Although we’ve made efforts to put documentation and other support infrastructure in place, you’ve told us that a personal phone call or contact from IREC staff is sometimes just the touch needed to help finish that application form, or better understand a challenging requirement.

We’ve also heard that an increasing number of you are personally bearing the burden of application and maintenance fees, and that IREC should align our fee structure most closely with other industry certifications to keep the credential attainable for a broad range of instructors. We listened, and have increased operational efficiency to decrease your fees, without compromising the quality of the assessment process and the credential you hold.

Time is another precious resource that we can never have enough of. Based on your feedback, IREC has recently streamlined the annual maintenance report for Certified Instructors and Master Trainers, as well as the application you will use to renew your credential after its five-year term. Leveraging technology, we are able to ask you for less documentation, while still demonstrating that all our credential holders meet the rigorous IREC standards.

Even with these savings, you allocate valuable resources to obtaining and retaining your credential, and we want to make it easy for you to share this mark of distinction with students, employers and others. As a result, we’ve redesigned and re-launched the Instructor and Master Trainer marks and encourage you to use the mark on your business cards and other promotional materials. This is an important way to increase the public’s recognition of the role of credentials and that high quality instructors are increasingly those who bear the IREC mark.

We are hard at work identifying further support services IREC can provide to you, like learning events to enrich your instructional toolkit, tips videos and outreach with industry to bolster the value of your credential. Please keep the suggestions coming.

We’ll be in touch.

 

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