Accreditation of Company Training Schemes Company Guidelines –

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Accreditation of Company Training Schemes
Company Guidelines – (January 2007)

Section 1


Section 2

Does your scheme cover the relevant areas for accreditation?

Section 3

Procedures to get your company training scheme accredited

Section 4

Application form and guidelines

Section 5

Sample programme for accreditation visit

Section 6

Contact Details


The Accreditation of Company Training Schemes (ACTS) is for companies who wish to have their training schemes validated by the Institute of Physics. Accreditation indicates that the training scheme has the appropriate criteria for working towards Chartered Status.

The Institute of Physics offers a clearly defined and structured route to accredit company training schemes for Chartered Physicist and are licensed to accredit schemes for Chartered Engineer by the Engineering Council UK.
ACTS ensures that in addition to accumulating the necessary technical skills, the trainees also acquire the necessary transferable skills (such as teamwork, oral and written communication and presentation skills), which have wide application in all working environments, and are vital attributes of the true professional. Such schemes direct graduates toward Chartered Status, as well as helping them plan and develop their careers.
It is recognised that company graduate training schemes may operate in their most intensive and structured form for periods shorter than that necessary to achieve Chartered Status. However, applications should outline specific provisions and support for structured development leading up to eligibility for Chartered Status.
The development of your employees is an important aspect of managing your business and the Institute of Physics aims to assist not only its members, but physicists everywhere, with their professional development.

Does your scheme cover the relevant areas for accreditation?

Below are the various aspects of the scheme which the visiting panel will be auditing.

The visiting panel will ensure that the trainees are comfortable with the running of the training scheme, their needs are met by the scheme, they are well aware of the schemes objectives and the opportunities and support available to them from the company. Specific requirements are as follows:

  • induction on to the scheme to give the trainees an understanding of what the scheme involves from the outset, including:

    • an overview of the company’s organisation, policies and objectives;

    • an introduction to relevant work colleagues;

    • a description of the trainee’s role, and professional standards expected;

    • the provision of a training manual (as above under Scheme Documentation);

    • an explanation of all health and safety procedures;

    • a clear outline of the aims of the training scheme, its operation in practice, and the methodology of recording the trainee’s progress;

    • a meeting with the trainee’s mentor.

  • scheme adapted for those trainees with different backgrounds;

  • all trainees should receive instruction on the practical skills relevant to their particular job, in particular there must be clear evidence of physics and/or engineering knowledge being acquired and exploited by the trainees;

  • the trainees’ attitude towards training – trainees should have a proactive attitude towards their training in planning and recording their professional development;

  • trainees relationship with mentor;

  • incentives for trainees to reach Chartered Status;

  • feedback mechanism on the scheme;

  • continued support once the trainees become Chartered;

Scheme Documentation
A training manual should be provided to all those involved in the scheme in a paper format, electronically or even on the company intranet. This should typically include:

  • the purpose and scope of the scheme;

  • the structure of scheme – description of the content and general pattern of the scheme;

  • company regulations including how the scheme fits in with the overall company culture;

  • the requirements for Chartered Status (these can be found on the Institute’s website;

  • the provisions to prove MPhys/MEng equivalence (if available);

  • a clear definition and mapping of the business objectives against the Institute specific Chartered competences;

  • the support and provision of directed objective training and opportunities to gain a suitable profile of competence for candidates aiming to become Chartered Physicist and/or Chartered Engineer – e.g. trainee project work / courses;

  • the importance of reviewing and assessing the competence and performance of candidates on the scheme periodically;

  • time map of duration on the training scheme to gain a suitable profile of competence in order to meet the Chartered requirements;

  • the trainees' time allocation towards training;

  • the roles trainees undertake on successful completion of the scheme;

  • the definition of the roles, responsibilities and relationships between the people involved in the training scheme and contact details – for example scheme administrators, mentors, trainees, line managers, trainers and those responsible for assessing the trainees' performance and signing off documentation;

  • the company’s point of contact – e.g. scheme administrator / the Institute of Physics’ representative / the Institute of Physics’ mentors;

  • the Institute’s contact details;

  • Plans, reports and assessments:

  • Career Development Plan;

  • Annual Development Plan – e.g. a training schedule;

  • Log book – the importance of keeping a development logbook and information on what the trainees should be recording;

  • Internal assessment reports between trainee and mentor (if available);

  • Annual Assessment Report – e.g. appraisal;

Scheme Co-ordination and Quality
The visiting panel will require evidence that robust procedures are in place in respect of the training scheme. It will also examine output measures in operation to quantify the value of the scheme, as related to the professional development and progress of trainees. It is vital that a training scheme is reviewed regularly to manage risk, to collate feedback from the participants, to keep abreast with changes to the business climate and also for quality assurance purposes. The following measures ought to be in place:

  • scheme administration procedures for:

  • monitoring the scheme;

  • the appraisal system governing graduate trainees – monitoring the trainees’ professional development and performance;

  • a feedback mechanism for all involved in the scheme;

  • grievance/appeals;

  • quality assurance – audit arrangements to ensure the quality of the training scheme and how they fit in with the company's formal quality system;

  • a process to measure the success of the scheme;

  • the extent of support from the senior management - this is to ensure that the trainees will receive maximum support, encouragement and guidance during the scheme;

  • details of the budget to support the scheme;

  • if applicable, definition of the link between the training department and the human resources department;

The visiting panel will particularly look at the company’s provision of training in both technical and soft skills to meet the competences and skills required to become Chartered through the Institute of Physics, the following are aspects which will be audited:

  • there must be clear evidence of physics and/or engineering knowledge being acquired and exploited by the trainees;

  • the training officers' qualifications;

  • the training given to the training officers;

  • in-house training facilities;

  • the use of outside resources – if training is delivered by off-site companies how is the quality of their training measured;

  • the companies support towards continuing professional development.

The importance of mentoring in a training scheme cannot be stressed enough; a mentor should lead their allocated trainee by example and help them to achieve their career aspirations, professional development and attain Chartered Status. The following are methods to ensure that a good mentoring scheme is in place alongside the training scheme:

  • procedures to identify mentors;

  • company policy for all mentors to be corporate members of the appropriate professional body, and hold Chartered Physicist and/or Engineer status;

  • mentors need to receive training and refresher training in order to guide the trainees through their professional development and Chartered Status and to keep abreast with current mentoring techniques and the Institute’s application guidelines towards getting Chartered;

  • a mentoring guidance booklet (and full access to the training manual as discussed above under Scheme Documentation), including:

  • definition of the relationship between mentor and trainee;

  • the mentors responsibilities - definition of the mentor's influence on the trainees professional development on the scheme and gaining Chartered Status;

  • the level of contact between line managers and mentors to discuss trainees’ development and achievements;

  • the mentors’ time allocated towards mentoring (optional);

  • formal recognition for the mentor's work (optional).

Procedures to get your company training scheme accredited

A panel from the Institute will visit your organisation, to see the training scheme in operation. Decisions regarding the scheme will be made after discussions with trainees and mentors – having due regard to the intrinsic merit of the scheme, mapped against the defined criteria. As the visitors’ findings are subject to ratification by a committee of the Institute, the panel is able only to outline intended recommendations, not a decision on the day of the visit.

Please find a step-by-step description and flowchart diagram of the application process below:

  1. Initial Contact – call and speak to the Institute’s professional development team to discuss the accreditation of your company training scheme;

  1. Request an information pack – we can send you the information pack through the post or alternatively email a copy directly to your desktop;

  1. Advisory Meeting offered – staff from the professional development team are happy to meet up with you and your colleagues to discuss the requirements for accreditation and to help with any queries you may have in meeting the criteria for accreditation;


  1. Application submitted – if the Institute is accrediting your scheme for the first time then we require 3 hard copies of your application submission, otherwise 2 copies is fine;

  1. Staff assessment – although assessments are not done by the Institute’s staff members, we still ensure that all administrative checks are made before the visiting panel read the submission and then invoice the company the application fee of £1200 if not already submitted;

  1. Team assessment – your application is distributed to the visiting team, which consists of member representatives from industry, they pre-assess the application prior to visiting the company;

  1. Questions referred to Company – if the visiting team have any complex questions regarding the application submission they must be answered before the visit is arranged;


  1. Accreditation Visit – a visiting team of 2/3 people will visit the company and will expect the company to follow the sample programme provided in this document, feedback is given to the company on the day along with the visiting team’s recommendation;

  1. Accreditation report written by Team – the visiting team write a report on the accreditation visit and provide the company with a recommendation only;


  1. Report seen by ACTS panel – this report then goes to an accreditation panel of assessors who have responsibility to make the final decision on the companies application;

  1. Accept / Conditional Acceptance / Reject – the first period of any scheme’s accreditation will be for 2 years, whereupon it may (at the end of this term) be renewed for a further period. Full accreditation is for a period of 3 years, conditional acceptances are given with deadlines for the company to action;

  1. Company and Professional Standards Committee notified – the Institute will contact you with the outcome of the assessment with structured feedback. The Professional Standards Committee govern and regulate the way in which staff in the professional development team conduct their day-to-day activities;

  1. Company added to the Institute Of Physics’ register – your company is profiled on the Institute’s website and publications.

ACTS – application process

Please note:

  • the application process can take up to 2-3 months from start to finish;

  • the Institute levies a fee of £1200, for the accreditation (or re-accreditation) process. This fee, which covers costs relating to the visit, is payable on submission of the formal application for accreditation;

  • should a break of more than 6 months elapse between the end of the period of accreditation and the re-accreditation visit, a new application must be submitted – and the accreditation period granted will revert to the initial term of 2 years;

  • the Institute reserves the right to implement a monitoring visit at any time after the granting of accreditation. A minimum of one month’s notice will be given prior to any such monitoring visit, and no fee is payable.

Application form and guidelines




Applying to a single institution

This form is for organisations seeking accreditation or re-accreditation of a professional development scheme and should be completed and returned to the institution selected. It is advisable to inform and to seek any further advice from the chosen institution prior to completing the form.

Applying to more than one institution

This form facilitates a multiple institution accreditation submission to any of the following Institutions: The Institution of Engineering and Technology, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Aeronautical Society, one of whom you should nominate as the “lead” institution to co-ordinate the accreditation process. You are advised to inform and to seek any further advice from the chosen institutions prior to submitting the completed form.

This same submission can be presented to each institution unless the scheme offers different solutions for different disciplines or different categories of registration. Where this is the case, it may be necessary for separate submissions to be made. Please consult with the selected institutions before attempting to submit a scheme.
Sending in the completed applications

Although this application may be sent electronically it is likely that supporting documentation will take the form of hard copy.

Please make sure that TWO copies of the full application and supporting documentation are supplied to EACH selected institution.
When applying for a single institution accreditation please post THREE hard copies of the full application and supporting documentation.
Accreditation Visit

Where accreditation is sought from more than one institution, a single joint accreditation visit can be arranged to avoid unnecessary disruption to your company and personnel. This will be co-ordinated by the “lead” institution.


Section 1 – Company Information

This section requests basic details about your organisation and contacts, as well as basic information on the scheme being submitted for assessment, including any relevant accreditation history (if any).

Section 2 – Accreditation Criteria:

This section requests information that indicates how the scheme addresses the accreditation criteria. Please provide as clear as possible descriptions in your responses to these. Further guidance on the type of information and the indicators you might consider including in your response is given below.

Section 3 – List of Attachments

Please list any appended supplementary information. This might include a Scheme Manual, Mentor Scheme Notes, examples of logs or records kept for monitoring progress and verified assessment of work completed.

Section 4 – Checklist and Declaration

Please check to ensure all sections have been completed. The application must be signed by an authorised or senior person, e.g. Chief Executive or other person who has the authority to allocate the company resources required to support the scheme.

Special Note: If your scheme uses the IMechE’s Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS) please indicate this in your response to IMechE. No further explanation is required where MPDS evidently satisfies the criterion concerned.

Section 2 Additional Guidance

The questions raised follow an agreed multi-institutional approach to scheme assessment. The first five cover the general operational aspects of the scheme whilst the second five relate to the processes employed.

Q2.1 Track Record

Those seeking accreditation for the first time should state this clearly.

Where possible, responses should show how your organisation has gained a good reputation for engineering training and development, perhaps from previously accredited schemes with a professional institution. In this case it is helpful to include information relating to the success of such a scheme, eg: the number of candidates achieving registration per year, as well as information on current scheme status, or reasons for discontinuing the scheme etc.
It is also helpful, where appropriate, that mention be made of your organisation’s involvement with other initiatives, such as Investors in People (IiP) as this may provide additional background on aspects of people development and quality systems to support your application.
Q2.2 Candidate Entry

Responses should indicate whether scheme entrants are at different ages and stages or have different academic qualifications and if so, what methods are used to establish their development needs. It should indicate the rationale behind whether individuals are given different or the same learning and development pathways. It is also helpful to show, where appropriate, how gaps in academic attainment might be tackled within the scheme and how prior knowledge and/or skills are taken into account.

Q2.3 Scheme Content

Responses should detail the scheme, its content and duration. Points that should also be covered include how the scheme develops competence, links to any competency framework and whether the competences required for registration have been allowed for, perhaps by mapping company to registration competences.

It is helpful to show how candidates become familiar with all aspects of any underlying business, process, project, contract, or product cycle, and what scope there is for increasing responsibility and rotational assignments.
Q2.4 Candidate Completion

Responses should indicate the roles that candidates may typically undertake on completing the scheme and stepping forward for registration. This includes sample job descriptions, levels of responsibility and whether progression is possible through similarly supported Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Q2.5 Learning Environment

Responses should indicate the level of commitment that exists to support the scheme. Where this is shown in the organisation’s business plan or mission statement this should be stated. It is important to show how support cascades down through management. Also, to indicate the facilities and infrastructures that are in place to support learning, such as intranet sites or learning centres and any current active involvement with the profession.

Any policies in place that relate to the payment of professional membership fees should also be mentioned.
Q2.6 Candidate Support

Responses should indicate the employer’s understanding of the desired outcomes, including satisfying the registration requirements. State who provides support to candidates and what their role is. This should include mentoring/coaching methods and the qualifications/experience/training of those involved. It is also important to show how this operates within the scheme, for example with the use of individual and flexible development plans.

Q2.7 Candidate Assessment

Responses should outline the methods and frequency of assessments employed to ensure candidates are performing. Also an indication of how they gain feedback to keep them on a development track. This may include Performance Reviews, Appraisals, Training and Development Action Plans as well as Competence Records.

Please indicate how competence is defined and assessed to be at a given level within the organisation’s performance management system and how this maps to the registration requirements in UK SPEC.
Q2.8 Candidate Records and Scheme Documentation

Responses should cover two aspects.

The first should show how the candidate can gather evidence relating to the registration competence criteria. This may follow a variety of formats that may be translated or put into portfolio format for the purposes of the Professional Review. This evidence should show how records are maintained and updated, and how they are appropriately annotated when verified or assessed by assessors/mentors/sponsors.
The second aspect relates to the scheme documentation including any manual that describes the scheme content and its operation, the roles and responsibilities of those involved, and details of any steering group, mentor or candidate forums aimed at maintaining and improving the scheme.
Q2.9 Scheme Co-ordination and Quality

Responses should outline the control mechanisms and quality systems that are in place to ensure the consistency and integrity of the scheme. This is particularly important where the scheme operates across other divisions or locations. Evidence of auditing processes and self-assessment reports might be included as well as how feedback from all those involved is used to improve the scheme. Registration to any formal quality standards should be stated where relevant.

Q2.10 Risks Factors

Responses should identify those actions or plans in place to address any key factors that might render the scheme ineffective during the 3-5 years a candidate may need to complete IPD. It is helpful to include such aspects as succession planning of key staff and what arrangements are in place to honour the learning contract.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Herts SG1 2AY

Tel: +44 (0) 1438 767669

Fax: +44 (0) 1438 765526



Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Birdcage Walk, London SW1 9JJ

Tel: 020 7973 1250

Fax: 020 7973 1292



The Institute of Physics

76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT

Tel: 020 7470 4800

Fax: 020 7470 4848



Royal Aeronautical Society

4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ

Tel: 020 7670 4300

Fax: 020 7670 4309



Application for the Assessment of

Professional Development Schemes

This form is for use by companies or organisations seeking accreditation or re-accreditation of their Professional Development schemes. An electronic version may be obtained from the PDP website at Please read carefully the accompanying GUIDELINES before completing the form and contact the selected institutions as required.

Please tick all boxes relevant to your application. If you are seeking joint accreditation, please put a cross for your chosen lead institution

This Application is made to:


Registration Categories

Scheme Type





Company Specific

Institution Monitored

The Institution of Engineering and Technology



The Institute of Physics

Section 1 – Applicant Information


Name of Organisation


Nature of Business


Title of Scheme


Purpose and scope of Scheme


Locations/Divisions where the Scheme is in operation

HQ address

Tel No: Fax No: Web:

Additional locations/divisions


Person with ultimate responsibility for the scheme
Name Position

Tel No: Fax No: E-mail:


Person responsible for day-to-day administration of the scheme
Name Position

Tel No: Fax No: E-mail:


Management and Staff - Please list on a separate sheet with the following details:
Name Job Title
Class / Grade Any designatory letters


Detail of Candidates on the Scheme
Total number currently on the Scheme If a new Scheme, how many now joining it?


History of the scheme
How long has the Scheme been operating? Years Months

Which PDP Institutions or others have previously assessed this scheme (please tick)

IET  IMechE  IoP  RAeS  None 
Other (please specify

Section 2 – Accreditation Criteria


Track Record: What evidence can you provide to show that your organisation/scheme Document/Ref

has a track record for training and development and that the standards for registration

can be consistently met?


Candidate Entry: What development plans do you put in place when candidates join Document/Ref

the scheme? How do these plans take into account the current academic and professional

attainment of candidates, the needs of the business and the requirements for registration?


Scheme Content: Please describe the content and general pattern of the scheme. Document/Ref

How long does it take candidates to gain a suitable profile of competence to meet

registration requirements?


Candidate Completion: What roles do candidates undertake on successful completion Document/Ref

of the scheme?


Learning Environment: What evidence can you provide to show that your organisation has Document/Ref

a learning environment that is generally conducive to professional development?



Candidate Support: What form of support do you provide for candidates aiming to become Document/Ref



Candidate Assessment: How (and how often) do you assess the competence and performance Document/Ref

of candidates on the scheme?


Candidate Records and Scheme Documentation: Please outline what kind of records Document/Ref

candidates must keep and how the scheme itself is documented.


Scheme Co-ordination and Quality: Please explain how the scheme is co-ordinated and what Document/Ref

monitoring, feedback, evaluation and quality assurance procedures are in place.


Risk Factors: How do you ensure that the scheme remains effective over time and that the Document/Ref

reasonable expectations of participants and other stakeholders continue to be met.

Section 3 – List of Attachments

This space is for listing any supplementary material attached to your application, e.g. scheme manual, training records etc, as supporting evidence for all aspects of Section 2.

Section 4 - Checklist and Declaration


Section 1 completed 

Section 2 completed 
Section 3 completed 


The institutions have different fee structures associated with accreditation and monitoring of candidates.

Fee information is detailed on a separate sheet available from each institution if not included with the Application Guidelines.

This must be signed by the Chief Executive or other person having the authority to allocate the resources required to support this scheme.
By submission of this application the Company agrees to honour its commitment for the professional development of candidates and pay the accreditation fees due to the relevant institutions. The Company is also giving assurance that qualified staff and resources are available to support the Scheme.
The Company is responsible for ensuring that all relevant personnel involved with the development of the candidates are fully aware of this application and the Partner institutions’ requirements. Accreditation is subject to review at any time and may in exceptional circumstances be withdrawn; this would only be implemented after extensive discussions between the Company and the accrediting professional bodies.
It is a condition of accreditation that any significant changes which could affect this scheme, must immediately be notified in writing to the accrediting institutions. This includes changes in key personnel. In addition, the accrediting institutions require an Annual Self-Assessment of the Scheme by the Company/Organisation, identifying any developments and providing targets for improvement.
On behalf of the named organisation, I apply for accreditation of the professional development scheme described in this document. I have read the notes above and understand and accept the implications of making this application.

Name Signature

Position Date

Office Use Only
Date received Visit Date Scheme Number
Multi Site Joint Visit Follow-up required
Committee Date Decision Audit Type
SAR due

Sample programme for accreditation visit

A typical programme for an accreditation visit might be as follows:

0900 hrs Arrival

0915 – 0930 Private discussion amongst the visiting panel

0930 – 0945 Brief presentation on the company by Chief Executive

0945 – 1015 Brief presentation and discussion of the training scheme by Scheme Coordinator

1015 – 1100 Private interview with a group of selected trainees1

1100 – 1115 Private discussion amongst visiting panel

1115 – 1145 Private interview with a group of selected mentors2

1145 – 1215 Private interview with (a group of) trainees’ Line Managers

1215 – 1230 Private discussion amongst visiting panel

1230 – 1330 Lunch

1330 – 1445 Tour of facilities – conducted by trainees

1445 – 1530 Private discussion amongst visiting panel

1530 – 1600 Feedback and discussion between visiting panel and hosts
Clearly timings will vary according to the size and complexity of the organisation visited and also the number of professional institutions represented by the visiting panel. You may wish to add or edit this agenda to suit your requirements.
The Institute will expect the tour of facilities to demonstrate the types of roles played within the company by Chartered Physicists and Engineers, as well as the working environment and facilities enjoyed by the scheme’s trainees. It is important that trainees themselves conduct this tour (possibly different from those met during the morning’s private session). The Institute itself may wish to suggest specific items or sites for inclusion in the tour.
It would help the visiting panel if the following topics were addressed during this site visit:

  • the nature of the organisation’s business;

  • the types and levels of jobs undertaken by Chartered Physicists and Engineers;

  • the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of Chartered Physicists and Engineers and how these particular professional attributes were determined;

  • how the training programme enables graduate recruits to acquire the said attributes;

  • the appraisal system governing graduate trainees;

  • the training regime for mentors;

  • systems in place for quality control and quality assurance of the training programme.

Note 1 – trainees should be chosen by company according to the Institute’s visiting on the day, so it would be highly preferable to interview trainees who are working towards Chartered status via the Institute of Physics.

Note 2 – mentors should normally be corporate members of the appropriate professional body, and hold Chartered Physicist and/or Engineer status.

Contact Details

Please contact the professional development team at or alternatively call +44 (0) 207 470 4800 so we can discuss the accreditation of your training scheme.

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