How to become an IPAF instructor

If you’ve been working with MEWPs for many years and feel like you know all there is to know, you might consider sharing your experience by becoming an IPAF instructor. This is quite an admirable ambition.

Unfortunately, becoming an IPAF instructor isn’t as simple as making a spontaneous decision. You need a set amount of experience and qualifications first.

If you’re thinking this might be a new career path for you, we’ve put together this post to explore the realities of becoming an IPAF instructor. From the qualifications you need to the usual daily duties and tips to help you on your way, we’ve got the information you need to help you decide whether this role is a good fit.

What is an IPAF Instructor?

An IPAF instructor is someone who is qualified to deliver IPAF training courses that have been accredited by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

These training courses cover the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWP). Successful completion of these safety courses is suggested for anyone who works with MEWPs. You can find out more about IPAF and MEWPs here.

What qualifications do you need to become an IPAF instructor?

To lead an accredited IPAF training programme you must have the following qualifications and experience:

To run MEWPs based IPAF courses you must have:

  • 36 months’ MEWP operating experience
  • Held an IPAF Operators Licence for a minimum of 6 months
  • Held an IPAF Demonstrator Licence for a minimum of 3 months
  • Evidence to show successful completion of an IPAF MEWPs for Managers course
  • Evidence to show successful completion of Acceptable instructional techniques training
  • Evidence to show successful completion of an approved Harness Instructor course
  • Evidence of HSE required standard for First Aid at Work training

In order to become an IPAF trainer for MCWPs, you will need to have successfully completed a number of other courses. This includes country-specific safety training and an advanced installer course.

How long does IPAF instructor training take?

Most IPAF instructor courses take around 5 days to complete. However, it can take a couple of years to build up the evidence and qualifications you need to be accepted onto the course by an accredited IPAF training centre in the first place.

What are the duties of an IPAF instructor?

The main duty of a fully qualified IPAF instructor is delivering high-quality IPAF courses and training. This includes IPAF Operator, MEWP Demonstrator and MEWPs for Managers training courses.

You will need to carry these out in a safe, informative and also enjoyable way to help your attendees learn effectively.

These courses may be run at a dedicated training centre, though many companies will also ask you to visit other sites and training centres to deliver the training in-house.

Most IPAF instructors will have other duties too. A certain amount of admin work will be involved, as you fill out and update candidate details and records. You may also be expected to register with companies such as IPAF or other governing bodies.

A lot of companies will also expect you to stay on top of your own training and industry developments. This might mean taking further courses, reading industry journals or attending events, conferences and meetings.

Tips for becoming an IPAF Instructor

  • Make sure you get all the qualifications and experience you need before applying to courses. You won’t be able to teach people the skills they need to use MEWPs and other equipment unless you are fully confident with it yourself. The course will need solid foundations of experience to build on!


  • Remember this is a teaching role – this means that it takes patience, positivity and professionalism. If you can’t share complicated information in a friendly, easy-to-understand way then your candidates will struggle to learn.


  • Brush up on your industry knowledge – chances are, the candidates you instruct will have a lot of varied questions. Some of these might cover topics that haven’t come up for you before. If you stay aware of the latest developments in MEWP usage, you will be better placed to answer their complicated questions.


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