Qualification Currency

Here’s a good one for discussion:

We are approaching the time of year when we review all instructors for currency and inclusion on Wing AT registers.

Given the context of the last 12 months, what do you think is reasonable to expect an instructor to have done in order to be classed as ‘current’?

For context (for those of us not fully versed) what would you usually expect?

It depends on the qualifications I would say. I have been out 3 times since March, twice taking new paddleboarders out and once for personal skills.

I don’t think that’s unreasonable (I even practiced a self rescue :grimacing:). I’ve done some online CPD recently which has been good.

I think that if you started looking at higher qualifications you would struggle. Unlikely many people have exercised their ML. We’ve managed 1 outdoor climbing session this year.

I think the simple answer is there (currently) is no written down expectation.

There is a proposed ACATI doing the rounds which suggests 20 sessions/days over 5 years spent in the activity/activities for which the CFAV / Cadet holds a leadership or coaching award plus a couple of units of CPD (what equates to CPD is in the detail really and not worth discussing in this question).

Clealry this policy doesn’t really account for the whole organisation literally doing nothing for a year so we can’t just apply it as is.

The CAA have had this problem too - they reduced currency criteria and matched that with time with an instructor for revalidation.

So for example 12 hours plus is reval by experience anyway (including 1 instructor hour)

If you had only flown 9 hours you could reval by doing a longer instructor flight (1.5hrs) so total time 10.5 hours, a reduction of 1.5 of the usual requirement.

If you had flown less than 8 hours you had to do a full proficiency check ride.

This is the only benchmark I would have to compete AT quals to…

So maybe something similar? The reduction might need to be more generous though, especially if the qualification is a lower grade.

The alternative could be something along the lines of:

Set out a bunch of safety critical items - such as Peps self rescue etc etc.

Have a full brief on Teams with an instructor/assessor, go out and practise your safety critical items on your own, de-brief with assessor who then signs you off for a further 12 or 18 months, giving you time to get your currency back properly?

I think you can tell a lot by someone’s efforts. They might not have been able to exercise their qualifications fully, but they could still show you an attempt to do something related to it.

Won’t that generate a postcode lottery depending on who’s doing the assessing though?

If the items to sign off are a set form, now I don’t know what you guys really do but if it was:

On briefing with assessor on Teams - show a SMS activity set up with RA’s etc, talk through your planning and considerations for the activity to the standard they would expect.

When on your own self practise - tick off all set items (obviously there is an element of trust here)

On debrief - tell the assessor you did it all, discuss any problems, areas to keep an eye on etc.

Get signed off. The assessor doesn’t even have to be local as they could do it over teams.

All you need to do is the set items on a check list and make the assessor feel confident in your abilities - I don’t know how long your quals work for, but instead of extending them by the full amount like a proper revalidation make it a percentage of activities that seems achievable in the coming months for revalidation then…?

I think it is a good point though, or we are going to bottle neck if everyone has to re-qualify for every qual… when a sensible and proportionate way of extending could be managed…

I think if I were signing someone off to go and run sessions for cadets who hadn’t done stuff in a long time, I’d want to physically see them do any safety critical stuff - not just be told they did it successfully.

But that is an argument for those who can’t demonstrate currency I guess, to do some form of practical CPD before leading sessions.

@GoodEgg qualifications don’t expire per se; you are required to keep them current and assessment is via a personal logbook of activity. The question is… how many sessions is reasonable?

We could just take the proposed ACATI and say on average you need to do 4 sessions a year, plus a bit of CPD. Is that sufficient? Could people meet it given the context of the last year?

Last year would depend on your region as well and length of lockdowns. I managed to complete a training course and log about 5 quality days, but was probably lucky with timings and other commitments. Some areas were in lockdown for most of 2020.

I would expect an instructor to have at least a couple of days of relevant experience last year and if they don’t, then log some time this year to refresh their skills before taking cadets out at their highest level qual. An experienced ML should be safe doing some simple lowland walking with cadets, even if they hadn’t logged anything last year.

i feel this is a critical point.
i can’t say i have heard of it in our wing, despite changes in WATTO - but i can imagine for some it could be a case of “does your face fit” - how “pally” is the WATTO with an individual to sign them off?

not seeing other people’s logbooks (or at least not searching them out) i can’t say how i compare to others, or know what is deemed “acceptable” or not.

in my mind this speaks volumes.

i think it was discussed elsewhere in the AT faff topic, but:
is someone getting an AT ticket to be able to hold the ticket and get kids out there (particularly on the lower end BEL/LLA awards) just to do the bare minimum on the local recreation ground or footpath that runs behind the unit?
or did they always have an interest in the AT and got a ticket to compliment their experience, skills and knowledge?

and based on the effort put in over lockdown could show (where the activity is practical - ie not ML given the lockdown restrictions, but local trekking would count) which side of the line someone sits.

I have a BEL and been walking far more this year I ever have before with my wife. Now I cannot claim to be exercising my “group management” but i have created some new routes for us to explore and event camped in the garden back in the summer for a night if only for a change!
these activities are marked down in my logbook for 2020, although appreciate not how I use the qualification when walking/camping with Cadets (spoiler alert i did not sleep separately from my wife in the tent) I did exercise the skills that i could achieve, such as designing a route and walking along it with suitable provisions for a days hike.

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Aren’t these all National Governing Body Qualifications and as such any policy we set as an organisation should be in line with them?

HSE extended all those qualified in FAW during Lockdown 1 - we adopted that policy?

Maybe not recreate wheels but see what the actual paid professionals are doing (no idea if you are a paid professional so not meant as a slur in any way at all)

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yes - and they don’t expire.

as an organisation we choose to authorise CFAVs/018s who hold them to use them…we do that by checking proficiency through regular experience - ie a “full” logbook of activity showing the skills are used, practised and repeated “regularly”

the trouble is, neither the NGB or anyone else indicates what is “regular”

it could be once a month, once a quarter or once a year…and comes down to the WATTOs feeling on are you using the skills often enough to remain competent

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They may not have an official expiry but the NGB should have a requirement around CPD to maintain the qualification and membership coverage

When I was heavily involved in football there was a requirement to attend a number of hours training per year, some was online and some had to be with local FA.

I would be very surprised if there was not some guidance on how to maintain the qualification and I am sure there was similar around first aid, safety courses and other development to maintain my level 1 kayak coach many years ago when I held that.

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i shall bow to your knowledge,

i hold BEL and don’t recall being told about any CPD - perhaps if i did i knew i’d able to achieve it so haven’t memorised it.

i accept however higher level/more impressive NGBs may well have more rigorous CPDs to consider

It’s generally MTA qualifications that you have to accrue CPD points. These points can be for attending webinars, first aid, safeguarding as well as skills based. It would be good to see what comes from the top in this regard.

CPD points are a thing for British Canoeing now as well. Also the Mounatin Training Association is not the qualification provider - they are an association of qualification holders which has a requirement to conduct a minimum amount of activity & CPD to remain a member.

Mountain Training (the qualification provider) does not mandate a minimum, only stating:

A current Mountain Leader will be regularly using the skill set required to lead groups in the mountains. They will also be up to date with good practice and this can come from attending workshops or peer-led events in order to discuss ideas and gain feedback. Mountain Leaders should also have a valid first aid certificate and should continue to log their personal and group days.

CPD does not necessarily equal currency; currency is the sum of recent relevant experience and continuous professional development.

There is for most NGBs; it is an amalgamation of various NGB/association policies which has driven the ACATI numbers I mentioned above. However, they operate on different cycles - e.g. British Canoeing is a 3 yr coach update, whereas Mountain Training Association (of which membership is not mandatory to maintain your ML) is on a 5yr cycle if I remember correctly.

However ultimately it is down to the deployer to confirm that an individual is current & competent to lead an activity - hence the currency checking process - the proposed new ACATI just formalises the expectation.

The point is that none of them take into account effectively not doing stuff for a year. So what is reasonable to expect people to have done without hobbling our return to activity by saying no-one is current?

I guess there will be no one size fits all approach.

I would imagine for something like lowland leader not having walked anywhere for a year might not be too bad… For an advance climbing instructor, where muscle memory and process is very important, you might decide that even 3 months is too long to go.