Captain Sensible Blog #2 – You Know What Makes Me Mad?…………

and ANOTHER thing……….

(Takes off “mad hat” and throws it on the floor, – which is a bit like “throwing toys out of my pram”, but more American… lol)

Following on from my blog post, “Common sense isn’t”, I keep seeing the same discussions, requests for information and general commentary appearing on JC (and elsewhere), which highlights a couple more “blind spots” which we often don’t think to check out the facts on, or where we simply rely on what someone tells us to be true, (“well Johnny xyz told me this, so it MUST be true”…) – Remember what I was saying last time about CHECKING the facts/laws/reality of a situation? My bugbears this post are the following recurring “chestnuts”: –

Training Courses on offer in Spain, their validity and authorising bodies

This should be a “no brainer”, there is EU or International certification, etc, etc, right? – WRONG. Remember the EU adage which is generally applied, LOCAL LAW AND REQUIREMENTS TAKES PRECENDENCE. We have to swap our still valid English/German/other EU country driving licenses in for a Spanish issued EU driving license after 6 months residency here after all, – so that should give us all a clue………………………..

(although I know a huge number of people who “duck and weave” even on that subject, – just remember 1000 Euro fine first offense people!), In almost every single case I can think of, (after a certain period of time at least), a “license” or official “certification” issued in another country for just about anything, has to be swapped for a Spanish version, or at least be re-certified by an accredited Spanish organisation, (usually by taking a test and obtaining the Spanish legal version of the certification). Why of why then do so many people see exotic or apparently “easy and cheap” training courses on offer in Spain, (usually run by foreign nationals of one sort or another, not Spaniards), and think that the piece of paper they will receive at the end of it is useful for anything other than lighting the BBQ with? (they are often shiny pieces of paper, so the other alternative use for them that springs to mind would be painful!).

Over the years we have seen literally DOZENS of such “training course” companies come, set up, then disappear rapidly, sometimes overnight or midway through a course, leaving the students attending out of pocket and with nothing to show for it, and leaving the slowly dawning (with a sick and sinking feeling) realisation in the minds of people who have already completed the courses and obtained their “licenses/certifications” that they in fact, have nothing legally recognised or accredited in Spain to show for their investment of time and money, (and if they have gone on to run businesses based on using these “certificates” the realisation that they may also in fact be operating illegally under Spanish law…).

Simple but VERY important rules of thumb to apply here if thinking about such a course is the following to ask the company and checks to perform:

  1. Ask the training company to prove their training is recognised in Spain and accepted / accredited (normally by them giving the Spanish body who regulates it, together with a reference link or contact for that body and any registration/recognition number). Also ask and check that the “trainer” who will do the course is certified to perform this training in Spain. – Check their license and that it IS valid in Spain.
  2. Ask which accreditation body or organisation is the one “standing behind” / formally issuing the license or certificate you are interested in obtaining, (e.g. City and Guilds, ISO, ITO, RYA, MOT, DOT, etc, etc), THEN check with that body, (normally on their website, and if not by email), which governments around the World recognise that certification. – If you are lucky, you will see Spain on that list, – if it isn’t, run a mile (or 1.6KM, thank-you, Napoleon), if you are resident, – this course isn’t for you!
  3. OR, get the training company to state that it is for non-Spanish residents, not Spanish residents and have them list the countries or a website link that lists the countries, where it IS valid. – If you are a non-resident here in Spain, this course may STILL work for you, (if where you eventually want to use the certification IS on the list provided, just remember that e.g. Montgolia / Gobi Desert isn’t a particularly good place to recognise a yacht masters license…).

Remember what I said last time about “if something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true”? Well, if I see “certification” courses for e.g. beauty technicians, personal trainers, boat skipper licenses, etc taking a fraction of the time they do elsewhere, at half the cost, and “guaranteeing” the license after x time/cost, (who ever heard of a training course which required tests and competence to “guarantee” a favourable result elsewhere?), then personally, I would ask some very pointed questions, and unless they were answered to 110% would run like the wind in the other direction!