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Funeral Services ITO Confirmed

Funeral Services ITO Confirmed

24 June 2014

The organisation responsible for training embalmers and funeral directors has had its status confirmed for a further five years.

The Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce, has approved the Funeral Service Training Trust (FSTT) to continue to be the industry’s official training organisation (ITO).

The full recognition, which was approved under the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992, takes effect today. It will be next due for renewal in 2019.

Mr Joyce said his decision was based on advice received from the Tertiary Education Commission and information supplied by FSTT and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

FSTT is responsible for overseeing the national qualifications in funeral services. It does this by registering unit standards on the national framework and by arranging the delivery of the qualifications. It is also responsible for the ongoing training of funeral directors and embalmers. This is mainly carried out by way of seminars run on behalf of different groups and the awarding of training-hour credits towards their practising certificates.

FSTT was among the first to be accredited when ITOs were created in 1991. Its predecessor, the Funeral Service Training Council, was established in 1981. In 1984, training courses began at the Central Institute of Technology in Wellington, and this has continued since under the Weltec banner.

FSTT Chairman Mike Marfell-Jones says he is delighted FSTT has been recognised by the Government as an ITO for a further five years. “This is great news for the industry and for the public, who will continue to benefit from the best possible service provided by highly trained embalmers and funeral directors.”

Funeral Directors Association Chief Executive Katrina Shanks said that with the ITO confirmed for a further five years, the industry is now looking at the next step – that of requiring all funeral directors to be qualified or working under the supervision of a suitably qualified person.

“We are currently talking to the Law Commission about this as it conducts its review of the funeral services sector.”

“Requiring all funeral directors to be qualified or under supervision is a situation the Funeral Directors Association aspires to, as it would give the public even greater assurances that their loved ones are in expert hands.”

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