Language Guidance

Guidance for IPAF Training Centres: Training candidates that do not speak the instructor’s language fluently

IPAF recognises that some students may not be fully proficient in the language being spoken by their instructor. Measures can be taken to improve their ability to comprehend the course material and these are set out below. The instructor must satisfy him/herself that the candidates have understood the course and passed all relevant tests before passing a candidate.

Main Points:

  • It is the employers’ legal responsibility to train their staff.
  • Training must be conducted in accordance with the legal requirements of the country in which training is taking place. Other legislation can be referenced if appropriate.
  • The employer or their appointed person must conduct a risk assessment (names vary depending on country) for the work to be carried out and communicate it to their staff.
  • Machines should have documents and decals of the country in which they are working.
  • It is either illegal or nearly impossible to stop migrant workers crossing borders due to economic factors.
  • Communication on site is often a potential problem.

Effects of Main Points on IPAF Courses:

IPAF training centres and instructors must hold the IPAF courses in the language of the country they are in using local legislative course material. It will remain the employers’ responsibility to overcome the language barrier for their staff. The same will apply to familiarisations, understanding decals, referencing the machine manual and on site communication issues.

The risk assessment is a perfect format for looking into these issues and documents the manner in which any potential hazards will be overcome.

Training Centres and Instructors:

You have a duty to establish as far in advance as possible if there may be language problems for candidates attending your courses. If you become aware of a potential language barrier, ask the candidates’ employer of their steps to overcome any potential language issues.

If the employer proposes using a translator, then the instructor must satisfy him/herself that the translator has not helped the candidates answer the questions in any way (an independent translator is often useful). If the instructor believes any attempt to cheat has taken place, then he/she must fail the candidates involved and document the reasons on the course paperwork and notify the employer in writing.

Note that the use of a translator may double the amount of time required to complete the course.