The IREC ISPQ onsite visit: don’t sweat it (but do be prepared)
Imagine this: you (or your organization) are seeking IREC ISPQ Independent Master Trainer Certification or Training Program Accreditation. You have submitted an organized and thorough application, and have successfully navigated the desk assessment process with your IREC Assessor. You know the next step in your journey is the onsite assessment but don’t know quite what to expect or how to prepare.
All applications for IREC ISPQ accreditation or certification are not created equal.
Many have traveled the path you’re now on, and IREC has a lot of resources and knowledge to ensure a smooth onsite assessment experience. Here are four things that will keep you as cool as a cucumber and make your onsite assessment run smoothly.
1) Have a clear agenda.
Typically, your desk assessor will also serve as your onsite assessor. Once your Desk Assessment is complete, you and your Assessor will set a date and agenda for the onsite assessment. Since most onsite assessments are completed in a day, having a clear and concise agenda will ensure an efficient use of everyone’s time. Your Assessor will discuss estimated travel costs, and she’ll let you know who and what she’ll need to see when she’s there. Reserve a location at your facility for the assessor to use for meetings and to complete reports while she’s onsite. Consider scheduling the visit while a class is in session can be a great way to display your organization in action. When the happy day arrives, expect to hold an introductory/planning meeting between you, your Assessor and key staff. The agenda for the day will be discussed, so everyone is clear on their roles and what your assessor needs to accomplish.
2) Verify, verify, verify.
One of the most important goals of the onsite assessment is to verify that the facilities and resources you described in your application materials actually exist and are maintained. To accomplish this, your Assessor will review these, so make sure they’re ready:
- Policies and procedures
- Curriculum and training materials
- Informational materials
- Surveys and course evaluations
- Exams and assessments
- Record keeping and documentation systems
- Management system documentation
- Safety practices, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Training facilities, tools, equipment and hardware
- Library, job board and other resources
3) Connection with your staff
Looking over reports, checking out equipment, reviewing policies are important, but so is one-on-one time with your staff. Expect your Assessor to schedule some time with your staff, instructors and students, either in a formal interview or informal conversation. It’s also possible that your Assessor will attend a class or hands-on lab in progress, assuming it’s been arranged before her arrival. And don’t be surprised if she takes photographs, records interviews or copies any documentation (with your permission, of course). It’s all part of the process. And because there’s always an element of surprise, make sure key staff is on hand during the onsite assessment, just in case some unexpected issues pop up.
4) The exit strategy
It’s been a busy day. The Assessor has been on site all day, has gone through files, taken pictures, interviewed key staff, maybe even sat in on a class. Now it’s time to sit with each other and discuss her findings. You’ll learn what you’re doing especially well, and those areas that need improvement. Your assessor may have found some nonconformities (failure to comply with the IREC ISPQ Standard). But don’t worry. Even if there are nonconformities, you’ll have an opportunity to address them in a Corrective Action Plan in the two weeks following the onsite assessment. How effectively and quickly you address nonconformities will have an impact on the outcome of your application.
As always, your Assessor will work with you. The IREC ISPQ application process, while rigorous and detailed, isn’t punitive. IREC and your Assessor are here to maintain an exemplary credential and keep the process fair and efficient. Let us know how we can help.