New education partnership

words: Mark Binnersley

Education standards in the funeral profession are set to receive a boost thanks to a new strategic partnership between the Independent Funeral Directors’ (IFD) College and the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD).

The partnership will provide both aspiring and experienced funeral directors with a bespoke education pathway and a programme of continuous vocational and academic learning.

It means that people entering the profession will be able to take advantage of the College’s Level 2 and Level 3 courses before progressing on to deeper learning through the Institute’s Level 4 Diploma in Funeral Service.

Diploma holders are awarded a licence by the Institute to practice as a member of the BIFD, providing reassurance to clients that they are being served by the best in the sector.

Chris Parker, Director of Curriculum Development at the IFD College, is thrilled by the strategic partnership, which she said would raise standards among the profession. “At a time when regulation is coming to funeral profession colleagues in Scotland and the Competition and Markets Authority is scrutinising the funeral market, there has never been a greater need for funeral directors to demonstrate an adherence to high standards. One of the best ways to do this is with education.

“Through this partnership, we will be offering both new entrants and experienced hands a comprehensive set of qualifications that promote personal development at all levels, whether they’re a driver bearer or a senior manager responsible for the smooth running of several funeral homes,” she said.

BIFD Director and Tutor Clive Pearson added that the formalisation of the strategic partnership would benefit bereaved families and funeral directors alike.

He said: “This partnership is good news for the families that funeral directors care for, as it will mean more funeral directors will be in possession of the best possible skills and qualifications.

“For example, in our diverse society it’s incredibly important that funeral directors are able to support families of all cultural backgrounds, and they can only do that if they are equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge provided by an accredited training course. If funeral directors are without this kind of knowledge then families are at risk of receiving a poor service, which could cause immense distress at a difficult time.”

Fellow BIFD Director Geoff Evans added that the learning opportunities provided by the strategic partnership would allow students to progress to the most senior positions in funeral directing.

He said: “Together the Certificate in Funeral Service and the Diploma in Funeral Service result in 60 university credits, which paves the way for students to take the Higher Education Certificate in Funeral Management, offered by Birkbeck, University of London. This is the highest possible qualification in the funeral profession and is ideal for anyone looking to lead a funeral business.”

He added: “We’re very excited by the strategic partnership with the IFD College which is the fruit of 18 months of discussions and development work. We are confident that the funeral profession will benefit immensely from this co-operation.”

The Independent Funeral Directors’ College offers four One Awards-accredited courses, namely: Health & Safety for Funeral Staff, Funeral Foundation Practitioner, Funeral Operative, and Funeral Administrator. Upon completion, students can apply for a Certificate in Funeral Practice (Cert FP) and Fellowship, which can be upgraded to the BIFD’s Certificate in Funeral Service. Successful completion of this course opens the door to a Diploma in Funeral Service, accredited by the University of Greenwich at Level 4.

Further information about the partnership will be given at the upcoming BIFD Conference and SAIF Education Day, which take place on 19-21 October and 31 October respectively. Full details are available through the BIFD and SAIF’s booking form.

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