by Laure-Jeanne Davignon

business-mistakesMistakes. We all make them.  And if we’re lucky, we learn from them.  But they can also be costly, in both time and money.  If you’re applying for the IREC ISPQ Credential, do yourself a huge favor:  get real friendly with the IREC ISPQ Candidate Handbook.  This voluminous document contains all the information you need to know about eligibility, fees, annual maintenance of your award, timelines, and policies.  Paying attention to the requirements will save you, and your Assessor, time in reviewing your application.  And as we all know, time is money.

Here are some of the most common mistakes applicants – for both accreditation and certification – tend to make when applying for the IREC ISPQ credential:

1)    Forgetting to sign documents
This sounds like a no-brainer, but our Assessors see documents like the Code of Ethics, and (if you can believe it), the application itself, without a John Hancock.  Review the materials carefully and thoroughly before you submit. Have an extra pair of eyes go through the application.  Sometimes you spend so much time on the application, it’s easy to miss some of the most obvious parts.

2)    Not including the fee with the application
All applicable fees for the various applications are described in detail in Section 3 (pg. 17) of the Candidate Handbook.  Find the right one, and include a check for that with your application.

3)    Not replying to all sections of the application
Start one section and realize you need to assemble information to respond? Sometimes, applicants forget to go back and review sections that they were working on.  Not replying to all sections of the application results in delays when the Assessor reviews your application, which means she’ll need to contact you and request additional documentation.  Flag pages you’re working on to make sure you don’t forget to include or attach important information.

4)    Submitting classes that haven’t yet been taught
Thinking about new classes you’d like to offer?  That’s great, but they don’t count toward your application. Your application for accreditation should only include classes that are currently being taught.  One of the requirements of Standard 01022 is that you have experience in delivering every course that is accredited. If you do add courses later to an Accredited Training Program, no worries.  IREC provides a special short application form:  Application for Course Additions to Accredited Training Programs.

5)    Not understanding the difference between a policy and a procedure
They’re not the same.  A policy is a principle or rule that informs decisions.  A procedure is a set of instructions for a specific task. Procedures can be used to implement policies, and policies can inform procedures.  They’re distinct; make sure you understand the difference.

6)    Forgetting to provide Assessor access to online courses
If your application includes online courses, be sure and give your Assessor access (i.e., URL, login, password).  Without it, she won’t be able to review the courses you’re submitting for review and accreditation.

7)    Instructors listing more than the minimum experience but failing to document all of it.
We see this a lot, even though the Candidate Handbook cautions against this.  If you’re including any (and all) teaching experience, it must be documented with details like class rosters, letters from employers, syllabi.  If you want to include your experience, be sure you can verify with details.

8)  Not providing documentation from current (sponsoring) training provider
For Affiliated Master Trainers and Instructors, you’ll need to confirm the contact hours you’re submitting are correct.  Sometimes, applicants assume that since their organization is sponsoring their application, the teaching hours listed on the worksheet are considered substantiated.  IREC still needs a letter confirming these hours are indeed correct.

9)  Omitting or incorrectly mapping curriculum to corresponding JTA
If you are applying for Training Program Accreditation or Independent Master Trainer Certification, you must document how your curriculum covers the corresponding JTA.  This is typically done in a chart or by annotating the syllabus with the items from the JTA.  It’s a detailed process, but is vital to your successful candidacy.

10) Providing a policy manual or other large document and not giving clear instructions regarding where the germane policies/ information can be found
Again, sounds obvious, but the best IREC ISPQ applications are also the most organized. This includes directing your Assessor to the specific sections of larger documents provided, to fulfill a given requirement.