IOIA's Apprenticeship Program
IOIA, in its role as the International professional association for organic inspectors, recognizes the obstacles to recruitment and retention of quality inspectors. IOIA plans to address these concerns with a robust on-site apprenticeship training program covering crops, livestock, and processing operations. The IOIA Mentorship Committee has been working for months to birth this program, developing a funding strategy, job descriptions, and promotional materials. IOIA committees are seeking broad sponsorship and funding from organic industry stakeholders who recognize the value inspectors bring to the whole supply chain, including their own brand’s reputation.
IOIA envisions a new continuum, where potential inspectors who have completed basic training will work with an approved mentor to complete an intensive week-long course of inspections, followed by a year-long support component whereby the mentor acts as a resource for the apprentice as he/she gains experience. This can remedy current inconsistencies in inspector preparation and competencies, ensure that mentors are appropriately compensated, and fill the missing rung in the ladder that onboards new inspectors.
CROPP/Organic Valley has joined as an early Supporter of the IOIA Apprenticeship Program. “Organic inspectors play a vital role in the organic certification framework and are largely responsible for verifying the integrity of organic standards. The community can support the retention of well-qualified professionals by working to elevate the status of organic inspectors and reviewers as professionals.” – Mary Capehart, CROPP/Organic Valley
For more info or to sponsor an intensive – contact Margaret Scoles, IOIA Executive Director