Accreditation scheme for DSA AT trainers gets the thumbs up

10 January 2019

Efforts to establish the first phase of a DSA accreditation scheme for AT trainers involving certificating trainers in core software have received positive feedback from the Department for Education.

BATA has outlined a proposal to officials for an accreditation scheme that would involve software publishers offering free courses to the up to 300 individual AT trainers providing DSA-funded AT training.

However, it is not clear at this stage how the proposal might be affected by the decision to put the supply of equipment and training under DSA out to tender to a single supplier or small group of suppliers.

At present the DSA-QAG quality body neither requires AT trainers to have any specific qualifications other than a thorough knowledge of assistive technologies, nor has any mechanism to measure the knowledge and experience of AT trainers, resulting in variations in the quality of support provided.

BATA has proposed that a professional membership for AT trainers is made mandatory from January 2020 in order to ensure appropriate quality and consistency of training of AT trainers.

The scheme, run by BATA will offer annual certification that can be checked by DSA-QAG auditors in parallel with professional memberships for other Band Four roles such as specialist one-to-one study skills support and specialist mentoring.

BATA also proposes to offer accessible and cost-effective support to individual AT trainers and training providers on routes to accreditation, with a phased approach planned to minimise disruption in the sector.

All individuals providing AT training (whether as a sole trader or through a training provider) would complete online or in-person Level Two training on the software products deemed as core, currently 14 products in total provided by 13 publishers.

In addition to this, each accredited trainer will be supplied with a free of charge copy of the software title on completion of the accredited course.

In phase two software publishers could opt to deliver Level Three training to enable third party AT training providers to deliver accredited training on their behalf to their own trainers.

BATA proposes to charge under £100 per trainer per annum to cover the cost of the scheme. BATA membership will not be a requirement for accreditation.