Key Points to Remember
- CPD courses are a great way to build upon your existing experience
- Qualification courses are a great foundation for those who are new to the industry.
- Qualifications are regulated by awarding bodies and inspected by Ofqual to ensure the training is correct, fair and students are deemed competent through a series of assessments.
Let’s get into the Interview:
Dawn: Here today, we have guest Molly Kelly, head of Quality Assurance at the Institute of Aesthetics. So, could you tell me a bit more about yourself and your background?
Molly: Okay, so I’ve been teaching since 2002. I went to Hounsfield Uni and initially started teaching, or I set up to liquor, licensing, customer service, that kind of thing. It was always going to be business-to-business teaching rather than, you know, going into schools or anything like that.
And I went immediately on qualifying. I went into, Training for licensing, for security which was an interesting time. And that’s kind of what I bring to the aesthetics industry, my knowledge of the way that the government rolls out Licensing. I’ve been involved in the security rollout, I was involved in the Taxi driver rollout on licensing, and I was involved in pharmacy rollout.
Molly: So a lot of what I’ve done is teacher training, assessor training, and IQA training. So I’ve seen a lot of legislation being introduced, and I personally think the rollout will be fairly quick now that the qualifications exist.
Dawn: Definitely. And that’s for aesthetics as well, isn’t it?
Molly: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, where we’re at right now is that we have a couple of providers for Level Five and Level Seven Aesthetic practice. When I say providers, I mean awarding bodies that we work with, like Qualifi. I’ve opened that up to all aesthetic practitioners.
The other one, awarding Body, VTCT, has made their Level Seven medic only. They’re very closely aligned with J C C P, and, you know, they’re very strong in that medic camp. Qualifi, on the other hand, who we are working with, they’re very, very strict. And, yeah, I think it’s, uh, it’s about to shake the industry up.
Dawn: Oh, definitely. We actually did a, a previous episode with, uh, some of the head people of Qualifi, I think it was our third episode of the podcast. So, uh, it is been interesting to see how, over a year since we’ve done that now, how things have been changing relatively, quite rapidly as well.
Molly: Yeah, I think when we got approval, we were one of the first. Half a dozen or so to get that approval. And basically, the challenge that academies have got at, at the moment is that they are not qualified to deliver qualifications. So many, many, many academies have got either a CPD teaching certificate which is just an attendance only, it’s CPD, it doesn’t qualify them to teach qualifications.
And, I’ve currently got maybe 12, 15 academy owners that are doing their level five diploma in education and training, which is equivalent to what we did at Uni twenty years ago sort of thing. So there are a lot of academy owners that really need to step up their game and, and get themselves to Level Five Teaching.
What are the main differences between having a CPD certificate and an actual Qualification?
Molly: The beauty in the aesthetics industry is really quite different. Anything I’ve been involved in before, 90% of what I saw going on maybe four or five years ago was totally, totally all CPD.
I’m quite interested in machines and technology and, and there were no qualifications when I started. So we offer a CDP course around body sculpting and HIFU and that type of thing. Now, the difference between CPD and Qualification is the standards. Basically, you write your course material, as often happens, pinch somebody else’s, send it to the CPD company, and they approve it for CPD certification.
Molly: Now, that’s all it is literally, Continuing Professional Development, it’s an attendance certificate. There are no real requirements for assessment, and that’s been my biggest challenge working with academy owners for them to get their heads round the fact that for a qualification, they’ve got to formally assess the student, and there’s got to be a number of assessments.
So, for example, on Level Four qualifications, we do four case study observations. On Level Five, we’ve qualified; there are 12 case study observations. On Level Seven, there are 20 case study observations. By the end of it, as an assessor, I can say that person is competent and, and knowledgeable cuz there are written assessments, as well.
Molly: So the other thing about qualifications that are quite different from CPD is that that qualification has a specification and is registered with AQA. AQA are the Award Office of Qualifications. They’re a government body, and AQA regulates awarding organizations like Qualifi, VTCT, and Focus Awards; that’s the other awarding organization that we, work with a lot.
Our industry doesn’t really understand the relationship between me as a training provider or any training provider, the awarding organization. And Ofqual. So Ofqual regulates the organization, and the awarding organization like Qualifi regulate us, all right?
And make sure we have standards, and the process of assessment is that my student will come in, and they will do their 12 client models, and 12 consultations. Our assessor will assess them, okay? And our internal quality assurance will observe the assessor giving feedback to the student and, and ensure that all students are treated the same, all fairly, they’re all being assessed to the same standard.
Molly: And then once I’ve got a student completed, and we’ve got all their evidence in a portfolio, we claim a certificate from the awarding body, our rewarding organization, and then and only then will the external quality assurance team at the awarding organization. They will look at that evidence, agree on the evidence before certification, and if they feel there’s anything missing from the portfolio that we’ve not evidenced, then they’ll request us to do it and, and put it in.
So our end game is to make sure that everything’s in, all the observations, all the evidence that the students have written. The other thing that we are required to do is a plagiarism check and ensure that they’ve not copied and pasted answers off a website. So a Qualification is very different.
CPDs are currently Attendance-based, Not Assessment based.
Molly: To rocking up and doing a date course and getting a CPD certification that the training provider has already printed out this morning, because they knew you were coming. But how do they know you are gonna pass? You know, how do you know that they’re gonna be able to do it? And that’s the main difference is with CPD, there are no real requirements for assessment. It is down to the integrity of the training provider, or in this industry, they like to call themselves academies. It’s purely down to that academy, that school, and that training provider’s integrity to make sure that their students are competent when they leave.
And as we all know, a lot of them are not, but they’ll still get a certificate cuz they turned up on the day. So what we do that’s a little bit different, and I’m a teacher, I don’t agree with Fast Track. That isn’t actually what we offer. We offer a pathway. Now that pathway looks like a Level Three qualification, a Level Four qualification, Anatomy and Physiology at Level Four, and then a skin needling qualification so that they can get that needling experience.
Molly: And then they’ll come back when they’ve got the needling experience, and they’ll do the Botox, and then they’ll come back, then they’ll do the Fillers. So it’s not all done in five days or six days, or nine days. And basically, at that point, if a student is not deemed confident, they’re not deemed competent.
Then we’ll do another three days and, basically, we’ll bring them in. They’ll work once, one on their own. There are a lot of good training providers out there, academies that do that. We’ll work with only one or two students. But my first experience of training with filler was there were six students.
We did an Apple, Peach and, then, we got a certificate. So it’s very, very different. The other thing about CPD, and this is my MythBuster thing, is a lot of people say fast track, and, there’s level three and level four anatomy and physiology within fast track. That is a complete utter crock of rubbish.
All right? Cause levels do not apply within a CPD course, because they’re not assessing it. How can someone say that they are level three then? Level four anatomy and physiology. If it’s not been assessed . So we do a level four and it’s quite regulated. It’s certified through focus awards or another awarding organization, and we do that within our pathway.
With levels, you’re building up your experience over a period of time…
Molly: And in total, my average student is from signing up, and doing a Level three in Anaphylaxis to walking out the door with advanced Botox and fillers. In eight months, nine months.
The other thing is about, I mean, I’ve been teaching for a long time, so I understand how people learn, and if you get information on 20 different things, B12, anatomy, physiology, vitamin D, vit drips, d cleaning microneedling, chemical peels, Botox, fillers in five days, your brain can’t process it. And it’s as simple as that. So small-sized chunks are the way forward. So I’m pretty excited for Levels Five and Seven being rolled out properly.
Dawn: That’s brilliant. And obviously, when applying for insurance, it varies to individual circumstances, so we can’t always guarantee it, but you must also meet certain prerequisites, like having been on a UK-accredited course; having a level five or seven qualifications is a great advantage, but it’s not a requirement for insurance.
Molly: And the other thing is, I do CPD certifying my Botox and my Fillers, but I do that up to advance because I know that my students, I’m basically preparing them to go on to Level Seven. All right, so Level Seven would be very, very difficult to do with no prior Injectable experience.
CPD Courses still have a place in your Learning
Molly: So there is a place for it still in the middle of this process. And, that’s basically what my students who are currently studying Levels Five and Seven have been through. They’ve done a Level Three, they’ve done a Level Four, and they’re CPD certified in Mesotherapy, Fat dissolving, and Skin boosters. Then they’ve finished a Level Four skin needling when they’ve got insured for that.
And then they’ve moved on and done the CPD Botox and Fillers. And when they come to do Level Seven, they’ll have had lots of practice. So I don’t think the academic part of Level Seven is as scary because they’ve been prepared for that with the written part of Level Five. So, I honestly think aesthetic practitioners, regardless of the background, will find Level Five more challenging only because they’ve not had at that academic level before unless, of course, they’ve done a different degree.
Molly: But you know, we’ve currently got nurses, we’ve got people that have come from a beauty aesthetics background, we’ve got people that have come from a teaching background, like me, and we’ve even got doctors and pharmacists that are doing teaching quals right now with us, and they’re also doing the level seven, although technically they don’t need to cause there are already level seven, but if they’re gonna teach it, they need to understand the content of the qualification. So that’s their way of doing best practice.
So what kind of courses does the Institute of Aesthetics offer that could be useful for our audience to know or possibly sign up for?
Molly: Okay, so my background is in teacher training. So we offer Level Three awards in Education and Training. We offer Level Three assessing Vocational Achievement that there are your core teaching quals. There is a Level Four, but you can miss that out if you go in into Level Five, cuz there’s a lot of duplication in Four and Five. So a Level Five Diploma in Education and Training is a big qualification. It’s quite challenging.
More challenging than the Level Five Aesthetics, in my opinion. I’ve done a lot of First Aid Training and Health and Safety stuff. So the first qualification that my students do is a Level Three in the immediate management of Anaphylaxis. We feel that’s important because the first thing that they are doing is introduce products into people’s skins.
Molly: And if it’ll be products that they, they may not have had before. So anaphylaxis is a real risk. Then we’ve got a whole suite of level four qualifications for chemical peels, microneedling, micro-pigmentation, and semi-permanent makeup. And we then go onto level five and level seven, as well as the CPD stuff that we kind of mix in between it all.
But essentially, the important thing for anybody new coming into the industry is that if you’re brand new, you can’t go on to Level Five without having a Level Three and Level Four, you can’t go onto Level Five if your CPR and immediate management of Anaphylaxis is not in date. So my particular expertise is preparing people for licensing and having seen quite a few other industries being licensed.
There are certain entry requirements…
Molly: And I’m also seeing right now the, for level four stuff like micro-pigmentation and laser in particular, a lot of councils are not, are no longer accepting CPD certificates. So we are quite busy with those Level Fours. As well, but if they’ve got a Four, they can go onto five, and if they’ve got Five, they can go onto Seven.
There’s rules within Ofqual regulated qualifications as well that are not just key to Aesthetics. There are entry requirements to certain qualifications, and that’s the thing that anyone knew right now needs to understand, what are those entry requirements? And make sure you go with a training provider that is not gonna leave you out in the cold that in you meeting those requirements.
Molly: And there are some great providers out there, quite a few qualified centres now, and I can say of all the awarding bodies that I’ve worked with, they are the strict; premises inspections, you know, not just the quality of the teaching, but the environment and, and everything else as well.
Dawn: No, they’re very, very good, and we’re so happy to partner with them as well from Insync Insurance. Cause we know that, they’d leave no stone unturned essentially.
Molly: As a training provider, you always wanna do the absolute best, but as I say, more scrutiny than I’ve experienced in 20 years of teaching from Qualifi. But that’s a good thing. That’s what the industry needs. I feel it’s insurers like yourself need it because you will know without a shadow of a doubt. If someone has a Level Five or a Level Seven qualification, they’ve been observed doing that treatment 12 times or 20 times.
And that is what we need to know is that we’re going somewhere that has got competent injectors, you know, so I’m excited about the future of the industry. I think there will be quite a few that fall off you that are currently doing ‘backstreet treatments’, ‘unsanitary mobile treatments’ and that sort of thing. I think we will quite literally get to the point where the customer is going for quality rather than price.
Dawn: No, definitely. Uh, so is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up this episode?
Molly: Oh, not really. I’ve done a blog about CPDs and Qualifications. And if anybody wants and wants any more information, then we can attach that link, or they can ring me and ask me for it.