Five reasons why high-stakes education has a role in safety
High-stakes education refers to learning and development that results in attaining a credential. This credential may come in many forms, including:
- Traditional degrees and certificates from a higher education or professional institute (i.e., Masters, PHD, or Professional Certificate Programs, etc.)
- Professional licenses or qualifications that allow holders to perform specific tasks and/or roles (i.e., driver license, licensed electrician, or qualified electrical worker, etc.)
- Contemporary micro-credentials that signify an educational or performance achievement (i.e., digital badges that can be found on BADGR or Credly and shared online)
- Internal or external professional certification programs and designations with qualification requirements, rigorous examination, and continuing education and renewal requirements (i.e., NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialists, Scrum masters, Society of HR Management or Project Management Institute Certifications, etc.)
Credentials can be used to prequalify candidates for jobs, projects, and promotions; bolster a company’s qualification for bidding on client projects; and in marketing campaigns to prove the company’s commitment to quality. Regulators and employers have also used credentials to set the baseline for competency to improve performance and safety.
High-stakes education and credentials help ensure that facilities, fire protection and life safety systems, and work safety programs are well designed, managed, and maintained. This in turn keeps productivity disruption- and incident-free; lives and property safe; and operator and employer reputations free of citations, fines, and bad press.
Here are five more reasons why high-stakes education are helpful within the NFPA Fire and Life safety Ecosystem™:
- Vigilance: Vigilance is the opposite of complacency, and complacency is the enemy of a safety culture. As workplaces and communities evolve, companies must be vigilant in their pursuit of best practices and emerging codes and standards related to safety. Training aligned with certifications developed by subject matter experts that require continuing education help to ensure that their people are getting the right training to pass a rigorous certification exam and maintaining that high bar through continuous professional development.
- Investing in people: The retirement of the baby boomer generation and the great resignation from the workforce have left many organizations with deep experience gaps. However, organizations can make up for some of this gap by investing in high-stakes education to consistently set and raise the baseline of knowledge and skills for less experienced professionals. An investment in high-stakes education is also an investment in the workforce, which leads to higher employee engagement, loyalty, and quality of their work. When organizations and individuals spend time and energy on high-stakes education, they become more invested in its outcome. There is a direct correlation between pride and performance for having achieved a credential through high-stakes education.
- Raising the bar: Employers do not want to suffer financially and reputationally for avoidable incidents. Clients do not want disruptions or rework caused by failed inspections. Code enforcers do not want to waste limited resources and time reviewing recurring non-compliant designs and installations. Credentials earned through high-stakes education and certification help skilled professionals to stand out among their competition and provide peace of mind to key stakeholders. Companies investing in high-stakes education for their workforce are signaling to internal and external stakeholders that safety is part of their brand promise and that they intend to get the work done right the first time.
- Compliance: Regulators demand formal training as part of safety programs. High-stakes education signals to regulators that the organization is serious about its compliance with regulatory requirements. While organizations should always complement external programs with internal education on policies and procedures, externally managed credential and high-stakes education help to alleviate internal resources for program development, maintenance, and management.
- Safety culture – Credentials that have regular recertification or renewal periods and continuing education requirements help to keep workforce knowledge and skills relevant. Professionals who maintain their credentials are keeping up with emerging issues, changes in codes and standards, and the latest best practices in their respective fields. These requirements promote ongoing learning and curiosity as part of an effective safety culture in today’s disruptive environment.
Competent and skilled professionals are critical for any business providing services or operating with fire, life, and electrical hazards. By incorporating high-stakes education into the workforce safety curriculum, an organization is investing in its people, results, and future.
Find out more on how NFPA training and certifications can deliver high-stakes education to your business and workforce.