Professional Development and Structured Learning

Article modified: February 2017, Author:


Introduction

Professional training for the sector is on the increase – at one time there were concerns from short course (open access) providers that their business would go down the pan as people focused on gaining qualifications and credits for ‘continuous professional development’ (CPD). There is room for both. While short courses are often seeing as having more immediate relevance to day-to-day work, part-time and distance/flexible learning (such as Open University) can also have direct, practical impact on your current job.

It would be a little foolish of us to give general guidance on how to decide what is most appropriate for you, as there are so many factors, courses and a lot of change too. Managing the time commitments, how much you can afford, whether your organisation has a training policy restricted on what it recognises for promotion, funding etc, are obvious questions. Bear in mind that some have entry requirements – postgraduate courses MAY take mature students with relevant experience rather than a degree but could require a lot of persuading; others will be aimed at those in particular stages of their career or from certain parts of the sector (possibly due to how their funding works). Above all be clear why you want to study, and what you hope to achieve. This may change as you go along, but it gives you a base to judge courses and your progress.

Accreditation and Qualifications

Accreditation can be by a number of different bodies, at different levels. At the moment we don’t cover CPD rated courses but short courses may count to ongoing development requirements for membership of professional bodies (e.g. accountancy, CIPD, law).

Institute of Fundraising has developed the Certificate for Fundraising Managers which can be obtained via a number of providers (some indicated on the training pages). It is worth checking out the other Professional bodies to see if they run, recommend or list development programmes.

Foundation degrees are relatively new – vocationally focused higher education courses at ‘intermediate’ level, the same as HND/C and NVQ level 4. Unionlearn has relevant info.

Also see Professional Qualifications page for degree courses, diplomas etc. in more general voluntary sector subjects (e.g. management).

Finding Courses

The National Open College Network site gives quality standards and local OCN contacts who may offer qualifications in community development, volunteering training, management.

ladder4learning covers south west England and parts of the south east. Also see Learning Curve.

voluntaryskills.com is for the North East.

Accredited courses, NVQ etc

Gloscat (Gloucestershire College of Arts & Technology) had qualifications and/or training through various routes for local voluntary sector. Haven’t located in new Gloucestershire College site but probably still there.

Money Advice Scotland is an (SQA) Approved Centre for the delivery of the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Advice (money advice route) at levels 3 and 4.

Truro and Penwith College, Penzance. Charity Administration evening course.

No exam and/or formal qualification

Note: Some courses created with qualifications in mind do allow study excluding examination/assessment.

No current info at Nov 2013.

Professional Development in specific issues

Roughly grouped by issue. Not just NVQs.

See Volunteer Management, Trustee Resources for training in those areas.



Misc

  • Masters in Citizenship and Human Rights at Glasgow Caledonian University, created in partnership with Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (new August 2014?).

Community

  • Durham University School of Applied Social Sciences Community & Youth Work offers professional qualifying training in community and youth work, a taught Masters programme and opportunities for postgraduate research. MA in Community and Youth Work and MA in Community Studies programme aimed at those already practising in the community and youth work field. Not sure that Cert/DipHE/BA in Community and Youth Work or Community Studies still exist (Jan 06).
  • Postgraduate Programme in Community Development at Bangor University.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Community Development from University of Glasgow. Also check Activate foundation course, under Continuing Professional Development.
  • Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership at University of Central Lancashire.
  • Staffordshire University’s Creative Community Unit Graduate Certificate in Community Practice has Voluntary Sector and Community Arts as 2 ‘pathways’. Also an MA available, and short courses with titles such as Getting Communities Involved, Making it Happen with Community Arts.
  • University of Sussex Centre for Community Engagement, various courses.
  • University of Ulster has a BSc Hons Community Development. Those with experience in the sector may be able to take advantage of a short course – Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning – to gain direct access to the second year.

Housing, Regeneration

  • Urban Studies at University of Glasgow has various Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development courses in Housing, Regeneration.

Humanitarian, Development

Enterprise

Fundraising, charity marketing

Philanthropy courses: see Philanthropy education in the UK and continental Europe: Current provision, perceptions and opportunities (pdf, 694KB) from Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Oct. 2014. Also check Centre for Philanthropy at University of Kent.

Connected articles (by tag)

Tags: ,

Please add your comments and suggestions