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Seb Anthony

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Adding letters after your name


I have recently joined a company as an IT trainer and have been given the
task of re-evaluating the companies training, both to colleagues and
customers. We are looking to build a kind of university feeling where the
training is on par with that of Microsoft etc... and can supply
certificates whereby the delegates become Certified.
What I need to find out though is what gives us the right to add letters
after our names ie: BA Hons, MSc, Bsc etc... or the equivalent. Do we need
accreditation or can we 'go it alone'?

Beth Neill

4 Responses

  1. Getting your training accredited

    It is a big and emerging issue you raise and at Training Solutions I am involved in a session on just this subject on 20th June at 8.30 – book on via Stephanie Phillips at trainingZONE.

    1 – For business related programmes with a management dimension you may wish to make use of the accreditation structure in place via the CPD Business School which is a partnership between trainingZONE and the International Management Centres Association (go to to find out the details and see info on how the consultancy Clearworth have done this with their programmes).

    Here you are working with an accreditation structure that has already been set up and has various major links in place i.e.
    – Registration under Education Reform Act
    – British Accreditation Council
    – Distance Education and Training Council
    – ISO

    This will cost you in the region of £5,500 to link with and then you can integrate your programmes/course with the qualification structure for action learning based awards at Certificate, Diploma, Masters levels and can be denoted to fit your needs e.g. Masters of Management (IT). If this is of interest call me on 0117 9682299 and I will make the links to IMCA/CPD Business School for you.

    2 – You can pursue the route of setting up your own equivalent accreditation structure as IMCA did – but it has taken them 20 years to develop to its current state and several million £. You then have to be well resourced to stay on top of the accreditation standards and quality assurance process which the accrediting bodies will impose.

    3 – You can try going to a traditional university and form a link but the word of warning would be they will approach accreditation more from an academic perspective than business one and you may end up finding your programme becomes replaced by their programme. Accreditation would only really have value (in the eyes of your end customer – the student) in the country of origin unless it is a big internationally recognised brand like LBS, Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD etc.

    Hope this helps and no doubt others will think of other options beyond this – best of luck.

    Richard Hale

  2. Education Reform Act
    Further to my other response you may also be interested in this extract from the Education Reform Act 1988 to specifically answer the question about when can an organisation in the UK offer degrees and use of Bachelor Masters etc.

    214.—(1) Any person who, in the course of business, grants, offers to grant or issues any invitation relating to any award—
    (a) which may reasonably be taken to be an award granted or to be granted by a United Kingdom institution; and
    (b) which either—

    (i) is described as a degree; or
    (ii) purports to confer on its holder the right to the title of bachelor, master or doctor and may reasonably be taken to be a degree;

    shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
    (2) Subsection (1) above does not apply as respects anything done in relation to any recognised award; and for the purposes of this section a “recognised award” means—
    (a) any award granted or to be granted by a university, college or other body which is authorised by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament to grant degrees;
    (b) any award granted or to be granted by any body for the time being permitted by any body falling within paragraph (a) above to act on its behalf in the granting of degrees; or
    (c) such other award as the Secretary of State may by order designate as a recognised award for the purposes of this section.

  3. Just a little more clarification:
    Just adding to my question (and thank uou Richard for your replies), we are looking to give our customers the right to add FDCU after their names OR to call themselves FDCU certified users. We are not, at present, looking to supply a universtity style degree. Can we do this with or without accreditation?

  4. Some Thoughts
    If “FD” refers to your own organisation, then I am sure that it’s OK for you to give your own customers the designator of Certified User, etc.

    It could be difficult to award any qualification though that has an external benchmark, e.g. BSc or with a name that could be confused with another established qualification, without following the same accreditation routes as the other organisations/institutions. For instance, you could say your customers had a BSc in your industry area, but would it stand up against any other BSc in any subject?

    Perhaps a quick call to the QCA ( might provide some further advice, as they look after work-based qualifications too.


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