People routinely ask how they can become certified as a TWI Trainer. The simple answer is that, in the US and most of the rest of the world, you can't. What they really want (I hope) is to be able to successfully deliver a TWI Program so that the Participants understand it, can use it, want to use it, and do use it.
A certification, of any sort, offers a shortcut and makes it easier for us to evaluate someone's capabilities. It is easier for us to evaluate someone because the certifying body has already done much of the work for us. Therefore, people want to be "certified" so that they are recognized as a qualified TWI Trainer without having to prove themselves.
Several points must be met in order for a certification to be valid:
The certifying body must be an independent agency and not engage in or profit from the activity which they are certifying. If Acme Training Company is both issuing the certification and doing the training, they are involved with a conflict of interest. If I am a competitor of Acme and want to be certified, it is doubtful that they would give me a fair evaluation. Also, since Acme is writing the certification requirements, there are no checks and balances on what should or should not be included. Therefore, a valid certification specification would be one created by experts across the field and not from just one organization. This need is usually supplied by societies and associations which obtain funding from membership dues and contributions as opposed to consulting fees.
The certifying body should publish the requirements for certification so that everyone knows what is expected.
There are no universally accepted standards for certifications, but it is generally accepted that a certification proves that an individual can do what the certification says. In order for that to be true, the person must have demonstrated the necessary knowledge and skills to those giving the certification. How that knowledge is demonstrated varies with the quality of the certification. In the case of the TWI Programs, one would see that the Trainer delivered the appropriate material so that the Participants understood the need for it, understood it and how to use it and had a desire to use it. The intent of the TWI Programs is not just to deliver the training or to have the participants know the material but to have the participants actually use it. An external TWI Trainer (consultant) should also leave the organization so that the participants are beginning to actually use the material, while an internal TWI Trainer should be involved in those objectives. Check specifically to see what the person or group who is offering the "certification" means. The "certification" could mean that he believes his "Master Trainer" delivering the material is "certified" and somehow all his knowledge will cascade down to your trainer candidate.
Other requirements have to do with maintaining a certification. How many sessions must a Trainer deliver in a given time period to maintain his certification? Does an Institute Conductor have to observe a Trainer periodically to see that s/he still meets the requirements of the certification? What are the frequencies of these observations? Is an audit required to see that the program is being used properly in the organization?
The people who developed the TWI Programs over 70 years ago recognized that the Programs should change to meet changing needs. Because of the strong competition among the contemporary consultants who offer these programs, there is no central clearinghouse for exchanging ideas and information about what changes should be made to the programs. As a result, each consulting firm delivers each program as it deems fit. These programs are so fundamental that if they are delivered as they were written in 1945, most organizations will receive some benefit from them. However, to gain the maximum benefit from each program, one must truly understand the basic concepts and it is often surprising to find "Certified Trainers" who do not. One way to determine this is to see if the trainer follows the TWI principles which are embedded in each program.
Caveats and Notes
The following are two quotes from a Training blog in response to a question about certification.
"...if you have to try to inflate your capabilities by telling me you're certified by a body with no credentialing authority whatsoever, you're probably not as good as you think you are."
"Now, I completely agree that there are bogus certifications out there and that some people make up certifications to pad their resumes. That falls on all of us to research the certification or ask the candidate to elaborate on HOW that certification enhances their skill set and performance. I know my company researches certificated programs before they will reimburse us for them."
Certifications are only as good as the certifying body. In fact, some reputable organizations will not attempt a certification process because they understand the time, effort and cost involved and do not see a payback for it.
The main points to remember when someone says something about a TWI Certification is to question what it means, who is the certifying body, and why it is the certifying body. A TWI Trainer should be hired, not because s/he is certified, but because the companies where this trainer has delivered the programs are gainfully using them.