Interviews for accreditation

Applicants for Accredited Membership (adviser and/or trainer) of IOTA will be asked to attend an interview following approval of their written application.

The interview will be an opportunity for the applicant to provide further evidence in support of their application and for IOTA to assess the applicant’s expertise, particularly focusing on any issues raised in the written application and to ensure that the applicant has the necessary expertise in all the requested “areas of specialisation”.

Accredited members are expected to have and will be assessed on:

  1. A sound, general working knowledge of organic farming, including farming systems, practices, relevant national and international standards, business, relevant regulations, wildlife management and environmental impact.
  2. At least two specialist organic farming subjects in which they have in-depth knowledge, including: a) technical expertise, b) relevant standards, regulations and codes of practice (such as animal welfare and agri-environmental codes of practice), c) basic financial knowledge.
  3. Competence as an adviser and/or trainer, ability to demonstrate expertise in using appropriate advisory tools and techniques, possessing the necessary personal skills.

The aim of identifying “areas of specialisation” is of course to help potential clients identify specialists. For example all accredited advisers will need to have good basic knowledge of conservation management for their general work as an organic adviser.

However if you wish to be Accredited as a specialist in “Wildlife and Nature Conservation” you will also need to have specialist expertise, and evidence of this must be demonstrated in the form of attendance on training courses and documentary evidence in the form of your reports and management plans or demonstrable outcomes of your advice. If conversion business management is an important area of your work and if you wish to undertake government-funded work in this area, you should submit a conversion plan with financial budgeting as part of your application as a specialist in “Conversion, Financial”.

The interview will be carried out by one person nominated by IOTA from a small team of experienced people and will be conducted at a place to be identified by IOTA. The interviewer will be someone other than the person who assesses the written application.

The interview will last between one and two hours. Attendance is at the applicant’s expense.

The possible outcomes from the interview are:

  1. The applicant is approved as IOTA Accredited for 12 months, with areas of specialisation identified.
  2. Where some gaps have been identified, the applicant is Accredited and required to demonstrate that they have undertaken necessary training prior to the next annual renewal, or possibly within a set period in the case of a gap which is considered more urgent, but otherwise a very competent adviser.
  3. Where the applicant has the necessary expertise they may be approved in one or more of the requested areas of specialisation but not Accredited for others until the necessary training has been undertaken (eg they might be accredited for the provision of technical advice but not conversion planning).
  4. Where an applicant has the necessary knowledge but insufficient experience of working as an adviser (ie a minimum of 15 months), or it is considered that additional support or guidance is needed, then the applicant will be offered a mentor to support them (at the applicant’s expense). They will be Accredited but identified on the public register as being mentored.
  5. Where there are major gaps the applicant is refused Accreditation until training has been undertaken, which may require a second interview depending on the circumstances.
  6. The applicant is rejected with an explanation.

Please contact the interviewer prior to the interview if you would like to clarify any points.

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