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First ever state-sanctioned professional
qualification for spiritualistic services
For the first time in the history of Spiritualism, national education regulators have approved a professional qualification for those providing spiritualistic services on a paid basis, writes Sue Farrow.
The brand new BTEC level 3 Advanced Award in Business Management of Spiritualistic Services is the brainchild of Simon Curwood, Operations Manager of the Spiritual Workers Association.
“It has taken two years for us to reach this point, and our first thought was – do we really have this? This was because we came very close to it a while ago, but it was withdrawn at the last minute. Now, we have it in writing from Edexcel [the UK’s largest educational awarding body] and we are extremely happy. It’s the first benchmark for the spiritualistic industry and as such is a massive responsibility, which scares me ever so slightly.”
It’s certainly a massive (and ground-breaking) responsibility, being the first ever state-sanctioned professional qualification for spiritual workers. Students will study a range of topics relating to the historical, legal and ethical aspects of providing spiritualistic services to the public. The repeal of the 1951 Fraudulent Mediums Act and the subsequent bringing of spiritualistic services under the general umbrella of Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs) will also be covered.
As Simon explains: “All sections of the course touch on issues of staying within the law. Unit 1 deals with the legal and social contexts of spiritualistic services, the history of the Spiritualist movement, and the historical background to being a medium and functioning in a paid way.
“Units 2 and 3 are primarily more business-focused, particularly in relation to running a spiritualistic business, of which there are many different variants.
“Unit 2 is entitled Providing Spiritualistic Services and focuses on the responsibility of running a spiritual business in the market place, the importance of professional behaviour and how to provide the services legally.
“Unit 3 is entitled Organising and Managing a Spiritual Business and goes into more detail than the previous unit. It approaches the topics of self-employment, record keeping, health and safety issues and reporting obligations. The general rules of running a business are covered, including functional aspects such as online tax forms, National Insurance, being self-employed and employed at the same time, marketing and interaction with customers and clients.
“This is just a brief overview. Of course, there are a lot more specifics to the qualification.”
For Simon and his colleagues the hard work is just beginning. They will have to produce all the necessary paperwork, generate the coursework book and organise distribution around the country.
“It’s a massive amount of work,” says Simon. “We will have an initial induction day, followed by distance learning with follow-on support from tutors around the UK.
“The Edexcel certificate will be granted to those students who have passed the qualification – much like a GCSE or other qualification certificate. The certificates only pass through our hands to be posted out to the successful students. Edexcel likes to save money on postage, I think!”
Simon hopes that the new BTEC will be up and running sometime in June and estimates that, allowing for the minimum number of guided hours, it will take students around three months to complete.
And what will it cost? Qualifications of this type and level can cost up to £1000 to achieve, but Simon explains: “We are trying to keep the cost as low as possible. Initially it will be £699.99. We also hope that, as with other BTECs, grants may be available to assist people who have been made redundant or are unemployed.
“We’re anticipating that demand for this course will be high, and in due course we’ll be looking for more tutors. To be considered, applicants will have to be SWA members with proven teaching ability, and good social and interpersonal skills.”
Anyone interested in training as a tutor for the SWA’s BTEC qualification in the Management of Spiritualistic Services should email Simon or Miranda at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon anticipates another possible benefit from the creation of the new BTEC, in that it will at last give Trading Standards officials a benchmark from which to assess consumer issues and complaints relating to spiritual services.
“I would suggest that this qualification will help set a minimum standard within the industry that will help various bodies. In particular, bodies such as Trading Standards will have an organisation like the SWA and a qualification they can refer to when investigating potential cases. This will help them better understand any possible infringements of the CPR law, whereas before there was no benchmark.”
We congratulate the SWA on achieving such an important milestone for dedicated spiritual workers of all types. A legally recognised qualification for those involved in the provision of spiritual services is long overdue, and can only help to drive up standards in an area where the public are entitled to expect the very best in good practice, integrity and accountability.
• For further information about the Spiritual Workers Association and the new BTEC qualification, visit: www.spiritualworkersassociation.org