IAEA Safety Report Series 93 – National training strategy

A Methodology for Establishing a National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety. IAEA Safety Report Series No. 93.

This document discusses how a country developing its nuclear capabilities should consider the needs for education and training to deliver a sufficient number of competent people in each discipline required giving the range of facilities and activities in the country. It recognises the potential need for various levels and fields of qualification including qualified expert, radiation protection officer, operator, health professional.

The guidance is stated as “describing good practices [which] represents expert opinion but does not constitute recommendations made on the basis of a consensus of Member States”.

It recommends a fairly standard training needs analysis methodology consisting of an assessment phase, a design phase, a develop and implement phase and an evaluation phase. As is usual these are arranged in a cycle to ensure the provision reacts to changes in needs and progress.

The assessment phase looks at the range of facilities in the country and the education and training requirements specified in the legal and regulatory framework, plus any requirements associated with professional qualifications.

The design phase lists the range of courses and their capacity required to meet the national needs and considers who is able to provide the training (including foreign expertise for those in the early phases of development). This can include existing universities and training colleges, national facilities and private providers.

The consideration of formal qualifications, overseen by suitable organisations, and experience leading to recognition by professional bodies is required to ensure proof of adequate knowledge and experience for some roles. This process will identify career routes and pipelines providing the required personnel.

The IAEA’s EduTA methodology is also mentioned as a way of focussing peer review on the nation’s educational and training system.

The meeting of the identified training needs may require capability development or the purchase of capability from other countries. Shortfalls in capability should be analysed and managed. Train the trainer (TTT) is mentioned as a powerful technique to develop capability.

The development and implementation of the programme requires that every identified education and training need should be matched with an appropriate methodology, such as attendance at a structured course, on the job training or distance learning and that opportunities to undertake such training are provided. These training services should be carefully specified and designed and delivered by suitable qualified and experience people.

The IAEA suggests that “the development and implementation of a national strategy for education and training will require government support and the long term commitment of all relevant stakeholders (e.g. regulatory body, governmental and other authorities and organizations in the field of radiation protection and safety, education and training providers, professional organizations). In this respect, the establishment of a high level steering committee of stakeholders will greatly facilitate the development of a policy document that outlines the rationales for the national strategy for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety. The same committee could also oversee the development and implementation of the national strategy”. In fact, in countries with mature industries this organisation may not be needed. Legal requirements for professional qualifications for some roles, regulatory expectations of the training and experience of personnel and commercial drivers for a safe and competent workforce can achieve the same ends. Issues of supply and demand of skilled workers may occur if significant changes in the structure of the industry occur such as extensive new build programmes or decommissioning activities start.

Evaluation consists of continuous evaluation – the comparison of progress against programme, and long term evaluation of the overall efficiency and effectiveness of delivering the needs of the nuclear industry.

The remainder of the document is taken up with appendices giving examples.

It shows how the nation’s needs can be assessed by listing the facilities that use nuclear knowledge and assessing their needs for qualified people.

It provides example syllabi for courses for RPO in nuclear medicine.

It provides an appendix giving an overview of actions for establishing a National strategy for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety. This provides a table detailing how 20 actions, distributed across 7 organisations in 5 phases leads to the outcome “The national education and training programme continues to be effective and up to date”.

I do wonder if the world really needs IAEA Safety Report Series 93. It is a fine piece of work but of limited imagination and limited application.

Author: Keith Pearce

Emergency Planning and Health Physics consultant and author

Leave a Reply