Newly appointed chair of the Restoration Industry Association’s (RIA) Australian Training Subcommittee, Christine Boak, spoke to INCLEAN editor Claire Hibbit about the association’s local training and education plans for 2017 and beyond.
“Australians teaching Australians” is a key component of the RIA’s strategic five-year plan, according to the newly appointed chair of the RIA Australian Training Subcommittee, Christine Boak.
The local branch of the RIA is currently in the process of forming its education committee, headed by Boak, who is working with RIA USA to introduce training programs and online courses in Australia this year.
“We anticipate to start with four or five members, who can bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the committee and who will help RIA reach its objectives over the next few years,” Boak said. “Part of the longer term, international strategic plan is that we have Australians teaching Australians – that is a large focus of the education committee as we start to[recruit] suitable and qualified people.”
RIA’s overarching plan in Australia is to launch RIA run courses, conducted by Australian and international RIA qualified trainers, as well as to strengthen its online training system.
“There are some courses that will need to be localised which is why it is such an important part of the strategic plan that we have Australians teaching Australians. There are some terminology and international techniques not utilized locally that can make training and exams challenging so [courses] will require a bit of tweaking, but the foundation principles remain the same.”
The RIA Australian Steering Committee is also working to bring international trainers to Australia which will centered around offering training in the relevant bodies of knowledge required to be held by candidates for the designations Certified Restorer (CR), Water Loss Specialist (WLS) and Certified Mould Professional (CMP). New Zealand programs are also in the works, with training programs to be held in conjunction with the NZ Carpet Cleaning Conference. An annual restoration conference in Australia is also being considered.
Boak, who owns Elements Specialty Cleaning & Restoration with her husband Owen Boak, also a committee member and chairperson for RIA’s Vendor subcommittee, is the first person in Australia have achieved the designation of Certified Restorer.
Boak was one of a handful of Australians who travelled to the US last year to sit the five-hour, closed book exam, which she described as a “true test of 20 years of accumulated knowledge”.
“It certainly is a validation of the depth of knowledge that I have and domain of knowledge that is required to be a professional restorer. It is a very prestigious designation and very well regarded throughout the world so I’m very proud. It’s really exciting Australia is now being exposed to these advanced designations and that we’re being recognised globally.”