Course Nomination Guidelines
How to make a nomination for a short-term training course
The WMO Secretariat is pleased to work with WMO Regional Training Centres (RTCs) and other training institutions to advertise short-term training courses designed to meet continuous professional development needs of Members. Short-term training courses are those that last from a few days and up to 4 weeks. WMO involvement in these courses can take several forms:
- For some events, WMO merely shares with Members the announcement of a course fully sponsored and organized by another institution.
- Many short-term courses are co-sponsored. For these, WMO both advertises and contributes some support for participants or experts.
- In a very few cases, WMO fully organizes and sponsors events for specific Member audiences. For example, WMO ETR periodically organizes symposia and workshops for trainers, training center directors, and managers of NMHSs. These are WMO events, which may or may not be hosted by RTCs or other training institutions.
Some course offerings are highly specialized, and participants are limited to those invited by the organizers. Other offerings are open to all Members. The guidance offered here is for open offerings, which are often conveyed via a circular letter from the Secretary-General.
In many cases the course organizers are waiving or reducing tuition fees and / or providing low or no cost accommodation and meals to the participants. For such training courses announced through WMO, it is expected that Member countries provide full support for the students they nominate, including travel expenses. However, through voluntary funding made available by some Members, the WMO Education and Training Programme can sometimes provide financial support to a limited number of students, typically restricted to the provision of airfare only. Because these funds are very limited, Permanent Representatives (PRs) who are considering making requests for financial support to allow someone from their country to participate in a short-term training event should be sure that they and their nominees use the following guidelines. Adhering to these guidelines will ensure that Members with the greatest needs are given first priority, such as Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
How Course Participants Are Selected
Participants for courses are selected by the course organizers, in consultation with WMO, based on the announced course selection criteria, which often include qualifications (possessing the minimum academic and language skills to benefit from the course) and current job duties (ability and need to apply what is learned). Acceptance by the course organizers is an essential criterion for consideration of requests for financial support from WMO.
How Financial Support Decisions Are Made
Decisions on the ability of WMO to offer support are based on relative need, relevance of the course to the student, demonstrated value of the course to the Member, and the amount of support available. WMO also considers the number of recent funding requests granted to the Member making the request, and requirements for geographic and gender balance in its support to Members. To achieve fairness, generally WMO could support only one nominee from a Member for any particular course. If more than one nomination is made, the PR must explicitly state which nomination should receive priority and whether any cost sharing is proposed. If cost sharing is proposed it may be possible, from time to time, to support more than one participant provided the total cost is no more than full travel support for one person.
Type of Support
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the WMO support will be limited to provision of airfare according to WMO travel policy. Participants or their organizations are expected to supply incidental expenses unless provided by the host country. Participants should also have some funds with them to cover minor expenses or unexpected delay during travel. WMO does not cover the cost of obtaining a visa.
The Nomination and Selection Process
- Application: Prospective students should apply directly to the course organizer through the Permanent Representative (PR) of their country with WMO as described in the nomination form. Unless the nomination form states otherwise, prospective students should not apply to the WMO ETR Office to be accepted in the course. Before completing the application, the prospective student should have discussed potential sources of funding with their organization, and PRs should have considered national funding means. Applications must be received before the published deadline. If attending the course will require international travel, an applicant should apply for a passport or check the expiration date of an existing passport, and check for visa requirements and where visas can be obtained. WMO cannot support travel to obtain a visa from a third country.
- Requesting support: If other financial support is not available, requests can be made to WMO. Requests for participant travel support require a letter from the PR to the Secretary-General of WMO. This letter must contain the official signature of the PR (or person authorized to sign on the behalf of the PR registered in WMO official records). It should explicitly state the form of support being requested along with the name of the candidate and a copy of the course acceptance letter and course details. Accepted participants requesting support should already possess a valid passport for international travel. In many cases a visa can take some weeks to obtain and there is usually not enough time to obtain a passport and visa. Due to the time required for travel arrangements, all requests for financial support must be received by the Secretary-General of WMO no later than 4 weeks before the course begins, or immediately after participant has been accepted, whichever is earlier.
- Responses to requests: WMO will consider requests and make a final decision based on available funding, need and fairness. Responses might include an offer of the support requested, an offer of partial support, or a regret stating inability to support.
- Applying for support if offered: If the participant is offered financial assistance, the PR will be notified by the Secretary-General of WMO and the candidate will be sent a Request for Financial Assistance (RFA) form. The information to be provided on the RFA form, including a copy of the passport, is needed to make the travel arrangements. Participants are asked to arrange their itinerary directly with the travel agency designated in the RFA Form and to return the RFA form to the WMO ETR Office.
PR: In making nominations for short-term training courses, the PR should:
- Set staff education and training requirements based on the institution’s plans and requirements
- Make nominations only for high priority training needs
- Exercise discretion in requesting financial support, seeking internal funding first
- Follow procedures for making nominations and requests for support
- Meet the deadlines for course applications. Note that it will not be possible to consider requests for financial support received later than 4 weeks before the commencement of the course.
Nominees: In applying for short-term courses, the nominees should
- Review course qualification requirements
- Have a valid passport, and be prepared to obtain an entry visa if needed
- When requesting support, fully complete the Request for Financial Assistance (RFA)
- Work with the travel agency indicated by WMO to arrange travel
- Be prepared with a serious intent to learn. Be timely in completing all steps in the process
Supervisors: In having staff members apply for short-courses, the supervisor should:
- Be sure that only qualified staff make applications
- Work to spread training opportunities among staff members
- Make staff training priorities in advance