10 Signs Your Trainer Might Not Be 'Qualified' For the Job

Anyone can do training ... but, should it really be just anybody?


Insurance companies require (and Plan to Protect® recommends) that initial orientation training and annual refresher training is taught by qualified instructors. 


But what does it really mean to be ‘qualified’ for the job?


The dictionary defines qualified as “officially recognized as being trained to perform a particular job; certified”. 


While in an article by Competency International Ltd, the authors write that being qualified means that your “qualifications must be verifiable and trustworthy to have meaning, should be comparable to other bodies of knowledge and practice, must provide some understanding of the relevant knowledge area and can be formal or informal.”


Similarly, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) states,  “A Qualified Person must demonstrate extensive knowledge and have the ability to solve and resolve problems.”


But, why do they need to be qualified?


An unqualified (or under-qualified) trainer could put you at risk by training incorrect reporting laws, providing inadequate prevention guidelines, while failing to motivate and inspire volunteers and staff.  They may also come short of training insurance requirements and result in misleading declarations. 


Is the person doing training at your organization ‘qualified’?  Could they potentially be putting your organization at risk?

Here are 10 telltale warning signs your trainer might not be ‘qualified’ for the job:


1. They are not certified or have received no additional instruction. 

One of the main things that makes someone ‘qualified,’ is that they have received additional training and have special expertise to be able to do training. It’s also important to keep in mind, that they should be training on awareness, protection and prevention. For example, while a social worker or lawyer may be knowledgeable on reporting guidelines and the definitions and indicators of abuse, are they also knowledgeable on preventing abuse? Are they knowledgeable on how to be a good trainer and communicator?


2. They are not inspiring. 

One of the worst things an unqualified trainer can do is leave participants feeling disgruntled, frustrated or wanting to quit because their training lacks inspiration and motivation. Abuse prevention isn’t just something we have to do, it’s something we have the privilege of doing. Is your trainer able to communicate that heart?


3. They give incorrect reporting guidelines. 

Every state, province, and territory in Canada and the United States has mandatory reporting guidelines for professionals and some require everyone to report. If your trainer is telling people not to report abuse or to first report to leadership they could very likely be contradicting or impeding the law. In Canada, for example, every single person is a mandatory reporter of child abuse and it must be an immediate, direct and on-going report. In the United States, it varies based on state.


4. They act like a controlling drill Sergeant just giving a list of things you should and shouldn’t do. 

Maya Angelou once said, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” While abuse prevention typically does include a list of things volunteers and staff should and shouldn’t do, that shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be the focus of training. Training should focus on the big picture - love and hope. 


5. They act like training is a waste of time. 

Your trainer is the first line of defense for why we should do abuse prevention - they should communicate passionately the purpose of training.  Bad attitudes are highly contagious. 


6. The training is way too short or way too long. 

Your insurance company may require (and Plan to Protect® recommends) initial orientation trainings are about two hour long and annual refresher trainings are about one hour long. If you’re having drive-through trainings or long drawn out lectures, your trainer might not be ‘qualified’ for the job - either they’re not covering enough information or they’re unable to be concise.


7. They are oblivious to the prevalence of abuse. 

A trainer who is completely unaware of the prevalence of abuse and acts like it won’t happen or has never happened, is completely missing the point and could be unintentionally hurting or re-victimizing victims/survivors.

8. They are unable to problem solve or to come up with solutions to scenarios.

As OSHA alluded to, qualified trainers are able to solve and resolve problems. A trainer who raises more questions than they answer and who is unable to problem solve participant’s scenarios and questions, may not be considered ‘qualified.’


9. They are stuck in the 1990s. 

Adult learners thrive on relevant, applicable, up-to-date information. Trainings full of old, out-of-date statistics do absolutely nothing to inspire.  Trainings which disregard relevant societal changes also fail to prepare participants for the reality of their roles (for example: is your trainer still telling people only women can take children to the washroom?).


10. They are boring, fails to use creative methods, and engage participants. 

One of the main reasons participants often hate training is because it can seem boring. Just because we’re talking about abuse prevention and vulnerable sector protection doesn’t mean it needs to be dull and dry. Qualified trainers are able to engage through creative methods and have something for each type of learner (visual, auditory, hands-on). 


So with that in mind, how do you become ‘qualified’ for the job? 


If organizations, such as OSHA, agree that a qualified person needs to have received training and experience in that industry - both formal training and years of experience - training is obviously the key. 


Organizations, such as Plan to Protect®, provide certification training for Trainers, which provide both the training and the experience that would help someone become qualified. Individuals with certain degrees may also have the necessary qualifications. 


Qualified means that they are trained, mentored and competent! Someone has taken the time to assure them that they are up to the task and can vouch for them! 


When determining whether or not someone is 1) ‘qualified’ or 2) investing in certification training in order to qualify, look for programs that include some kind of practicum component or coaching.  This will demonstrate the person has received critical instruction on abuse awareness, protection and prevention; appropriate legal requirements; feedback to strengthen their training, and that they have demonstrated the necessary competency to be able to do training. 


It is also recommended that certification is renewed regularly and required to be kept up-to-date. This demonstrates that an individual continue to be qualified. 


So, while anyone can do training ... it really shouldn’t be just anybody. Let’s raise the bar on protection and abuse prevention training.  As Maya Angelou once said, “do the best you can, until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” - PP

*Previously published in PROTECT publication - Issue 2



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