(18 DEC 2006 )
Thank you for your enquiry about ISSA. I am the new President, elected in november in Helsinki and i will try to answer your questions. Our new Executive Director should be able to complete and membership formalities shortly.
ISSA is not a regulatory body in nay way so in that sense we do not offer ISSA qualifications or specific course materials. What we do is recognise and support, where applicable, national qualifications and certification provided by national authorities. Situation such as your seems to be (where there may not be a national authority) are coming to our attention more and more and we are currently trying to formulate a response whereby we might be able to help. However, we do not currently have the resources, nor the legal right, to administer and enforce regulatory standards.
ISSA has an office in the UK run by the Ececutive Director, I am in Australia and the Administrative Council members are drawn currently from Austria, Poland, France, Poland and Japan. We also have senior members with many years experience in the USA, Finland, Italy and the UK.
Some time ago I wrote a response to a similar question from a potential member school, which I quote below.
...............ISSA is not a regulatory body laying down a syllabus which can be taught to. Rather it is a group of professionals who have come together to try and coordinate and assist the growing international nature of our industry. It is above all else, an industry body, comprised of practitioners of sail training - and that is its great asset. ......I have gained so much knowledge and advice just from mixing with colleagues from other countries and systems. Its not so much "what ISSA can do for us" its what we can all do together for each other. We have spent a great deal of time and effort putting together our international standards as a way of recognising at the coal-face level, qualifications and skills across international boundaries. We are now working on Instructor equivalencies so if you have ideas as to the skills and qualifications you require in your instructors, why not get involved. Your experience would be valued and welcome.
The RYA scheme (which I worked in for many years, with Rod Carr as my boss at the old British National Sailing Centre), the YA scheme, the French FFV scheme, US Sailing, the Canadian scheme etc - they all have basic similarities and some significant divergences. Through ISSA we are trying to get these bodies to recognise, just by weight of evidence and experience from those "doing it" that Australian instructors be recognised in the USA for example or that French instructors be given a start here if they can produce an "international qualification".
Sorry, this was not meant to be a policy speech. It’s always hard to explain what ISSA is without such detail. The job bank works well and I return to my first point that ISSA is the only international forum for those of us actually doing the business. So, we'd love to have you aboard but respect everyone’s right or wish to just do what they do in their own way.
We are delighted at your interest in ISSA and welcome you aboard. I can be of any further assistance please do email me and I will be happy to help in any way I can.
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Last updated 01.04.2010 .