IITR Training Overhaul

The International Institute of Towing and Recovery (IITR) is in the process of revising its training curriculum to provide education for the towing professional in the 21st Century. Originally the IITR "Towing and Recovery with Light Duty Equipment" course was offered through the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Georgia (UGA). When UGA elected to discontinue their continuing education programs, the IITR Board sought ways to continue the program.

TRAA Executive Director, Harriet Cooley stated, "The University of Georgia found there wasn't the interest any longer in the self study type of courses as compared to the instructor led classes that included some hands on experience. The original IITR course was designed by top towing trainers in the industry and has been through two revisions since 1990. Industry people and those on the IITR Board believe that this is a very valuable training course written for towers by towers." Initially this new course will be an instructor led course instead of a self- study correspondence course first designed in the early '90s.

According to Peter Fuerst, Chairman of the Board of the IITR, the California State Automobile Association has taken the lead working with the IITR to redesign the training program converting it from a paperback manual format into multi-media instruction program that can be instructor led. The new IITR curriculum will in a CD-ROM format including video, computer graphics and animation as well as photos and slides. The program also includes the student and instructor manuals and support materials. IITR holds a copyright for the program materials and instructors or organizations across the country wishing to use the IITR curriculum would be licensed by the IITR for its use. Licensed instructors will be able to use the complete program or select modules for specific training purposes. The traditional self-paced manual will also be revised and updated but the IITR wanted to first complete the instructor-led training program.

For example, an instructor in Wisconsin could have 15 students enrolled for the program. The instructor would receive the complete training program including instructor's manual, CD-ROM and the student study guides. The instructor would use the curriculum as written as well as incorporate addition information. Executive Director, H. Cooley clarified, "The IITR training program will be a complete set of materials which instructors can license. There are other materials available as well through some state associations, individual trainers and companies like Wreckmaster." Upon completion of the two or three-day course, if the instructor wished, the TRAA National Certification Exam could be administered for national certification. Currently 25 states have signed up to give the TRAA exam following training programs. Passing the TRAA national certification indicates the tower has attained a level of skill that is standard nationwide in regard to tower safety and professionalism in light, medium and heavy duty.

Another point she explained, "TRAA doesn't do training. We don't teach people how to pass the test because we (TRAA) are the certifying body." Ideally instructors teach a wide scope of information regarding industry safety and professionalism. These training elements usually encompass and overlap the national standards of safety and professionalism for towers. IITR is in the process of working with the TRAA to move to administrative responsibilities from the University of Georgia (UGA) to the umbrella organization of the TRAA.