How Do You Know It’s Time to Upgrade?

OK, I’m going to say something that some of you may not like. Here goes – “Many of our students who come to us aren’t ready to upgrade their certification.” Whew, tough words but it had to be said. I’ll pause here for comments. Just add them to the bottom of the page.

Let’s dive deeper into this theme. There are many reasons why a student may be upgrading their certification; they have the necessary time and experience, their employer needs them to upgrade, they’ll get a raise, or they want the prestige that comes with an upgraded certification. These and other such motivations may not produce a successful upgrade attempt. So, how do we know when it’s time to make the move?

I think the first indication that you’re ready for an upgrade is when you understand what the additional responsibilities of the certification may bring. You can do this by reading the documents that describe these responsibilities. SPRAT’s guidance can be found in the Safe Practices for Rope Access Work and IRATA’s guidance can be found in the International Code of Practice. I’m not talking about what exercises you will have to complete during the Certification Session. We’ll talk about the exercises in a bit. 

You should also have a discussion with your employer about their expectations. Remember, SPRAT and IRATA issue guidance which is helpful for managers and technicians to work safely, and these guidelines may differ from your employer’s policies. You are obligated to implement your employer’s procedures while you work. 

Now that you understand and accept your added responsibilities, you need to understand where the gaps in your abilities are. A good place to start is by reviewing what you already know. Find a place where you can do a bit of rope access while being observed by a knowledgeable trainer. If only there were a place in New Orleans, Houston, or Corpus Christi…

All kidding aside, if you are considering an upgrade, give us a call. We might be able to fit you into an ongoing course where you can sharpen the saw. We won’t be able to train you during this time, but we can identify the deficiencies and point you in the right direction. We’ll schedule you for a few days of refresher training if you find you need it. You’ll need to be proficient in the skills needed at your current certification level. 

Lastly, once you are confident in your current abilities you can focus on the future. Plan your training experience. Choose a week that is clear of the expected distractions from work and home. You shouldn’t choose a week where you’re moving or preparing for a big job to start the next week. You need to focus on your education. Ask us for preparation materials. We’ll give you some preparation material which can be helpful.

Make sure you’re in top physical shape before you come to class. I’m not suggesting you hit the gym hard for a week. The activity will be good for you, but you might do more harm than good. Eat healthy foods that will provide additional energy your body will need to conduct the exercises, hydrate your body by drinking plenty of water, sometimes introducing electrolytes. Get plenty of rest. Treat your body and mind well and they’ll return the favor. 

Doing these simple things will greatly improve your ability to successfully achieve your goal. Remember, we are always here for you. We want you to be successful because we care about you and the industry. Good luck, we look forward to your call. 


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