Boosting Standards in Funeral Industry

Cape Times (South Africa), February 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

Boosting Standards in Funeral Industry


BYLINE: sarah-jane bosch

The establishment of the Funeral Academy for Africa (FAfA) is a major step forward for the industry, says Services Sector Educational and Training Authority (Services Seta) CE Ivor Blumenthal.

"The funeral industry is one enterprise that every one of us will encounter. And it's at this time of often-intense grief that we could encounter a service provider who has had no formal training. In spite of its necessity and pervasiveness, the sector has never had an industry-wide, formally-recognised, tertiary-level training institution; this is about to change with FAfA."

He says the immediate goal is to take 500 experienced workers and put them through a Recognition of Prior Learning programme (RPL).

They will be the first recipients of a National Certificate in Funeral Services at NQF Level Three: a new benchmark for the industry. Starting date is the third week of March.

The local funeral industry comprises a select number of large operators, many of whom have provided in-house training with various levels of sophistication. At the same time, there are likely hundreds more informal operators performing services from less-than-adequate premises and utilising staff with little or no formal training. This disregard for acceptable working standards could prove fatal.

According to FAfA principal Bruce Riley, the curriculum has been developed in consultation with some of the world's leading colleges of mortuary science.

"We have taken international best-practice and adapted it for SA conditions, and every programme on offer is accredited by the Services Seta. Our immediate goal is to certificate existing workers in the industry but we plan to introduce one-, two- and three-year programmes shortly," says Riley. …

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