Funeral industry gets training institute

HARARE - The Institute of Funeral Business Management (IFBM) — a training and research institute focussing on skills and information development for the funeral industry has been launched.

This comes as demand for skilled undertakers, morticians, embalmers and the industry’s supporting staff who can operate in a compliant manner far outweighs supply in Zimbabwe and probably Africa.

IFBM executive director Taka Svosve attributed this to absence of an institution that focus on funeral service skills.

“The coming in of the Institute of Funeral Business Management will therefore close this gap and help professionalise the funeral industry,” Svosve said.

He said IFBM offers training and certification on both long and short courses while acting as an independent examining body to those pursuing qualification and skills in the funeral industry.

“The institute also carries out research, conduct workshops and seminars, investigate funeral practices and related issues in order to provide valuable information to businesses, government, civic organisations and the general public,” he said.

He said the funeral industry requires men and women who cannot only run a business like any other but also provide the required  services with a lot of passion and compassion and clear understanding of the delicate client being served.

“A client who is grieving requires a lot of emotional support and assurance…The sensitive nature of the funeral industry require workers to have an unequivocal 
passionate, caring and highly responsible attitude that can only come from possession of relevant skills for the job,” Svosve said.

The board of IFBM is made up of local funeral industry gurus with vast experience and knowledge of funeral services operations who will drive the objectives of the institute.

“The funeral profession is emotionally challenging, but can however be made more fulfilling and rewarding through the provision of the required and relevant skills to those already in it as well as those aspiring to take up the profession.”

IFBM also has in place an academic advisory council comprised of highly-experienced international funeral industry professionals. These are Teresa Saavedra — Andrade, immediate past president of the World Federation of Funeral Directors, FIAT-IFTA, and CEO of Parque De Las Memorias in Bolivia, Edith Churchman, a licensed funeral director and embalmer in New Jersey, USA, Luann Jones owner of Covenant  Funeral Homes in Toronto Canada and Hari Close owner of Hari P Close Funeral Services in Maryland, America.

This advisory board has been carefully selected in order to tap from the experiences of those countries which are more advanced in terms funeral services education.

“Skills development in the funeral industry through formal training will serve to raise the level of qualification for workers and will in turn raise employment levels. 

“Unprofessional conduct or rendering of unprofessional service due to lack of skills will put the reputation of the whole industry at stake,” said Svosve.

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