Demystifying the work of the CIH awarding organisation
Sarah Pallet joined CIH in September 2016 as education manager for our awarding organisation, CIH AO. She has worked for several other awarding organisations, a sector skills council and most recently crossed over to the other side of the fence, heading up a private training organisation. In this guest blog, Sarah provides an insight into what it means to work for an awarding organisation.
Over the years I have come to dread the awkward silence which follows my response to that age-old dinner party question: "So, what do you do for a living?". I have trialled many responses, from "I work for an awarding organisation" to "I develop accredited qualifications" but sadly what often follows is a deafening silence and then frantic small talk by myself to try and get the conversation back onto familiar territory!
So what does it actually mean to work for an awarding organisation and why am I so passionate about my job?
I have worked for, and with, awarding organisations for almost fifteen years now and what keeps me within the sector is the ability, and responsibility, to identify skills gaps within the industry and then to develop fit for purpose, compliant qualifications. Qualifications which will allow the end user to either do well in their existing job or, more often, to secure their ideal job and progress their career within their chosen sector. The future of the housing industry’s workforce is essentially in our hands.
Our role, however, is not to be the omniscient creator and keeper of housing qualifications. Instead, it is to work collaboratively with regulators, stakeholders, end users and professionals to develop qualifications which bring value to the industry and, most importantly, will provide the learners with the skills, knowledge and understanding that employers require of them.
At CIH AO we piece together all the information we have about the current requirements of the housing sector to develop and offer qualifications, which meet skills gaps within the sector and ensure the future of the industry through a highly skilled and forward-thinking workforce. Our approved centres, in-house housing experts and employer stakeholders are an essential part of this development process, as they provide the housing expertise and feedback from end users to ensure our qualifications are fully responsive.
So, next time I’m asked the question "What do you do for a living?" you’ll forgive my thoughtful pause whilst I think of an appropriate answer!