'Working with Communities' project (Welsh Government)
In August 2010 Community Development Cymru (CDC) was appointed by the Welsh Government to deliver the first phase of the 'Working with Communities' contract. CDC was then reappointed to deliver the second phase of this contract, working alongside strategic partners to assess the trends and emerging training and learning needs of the Communities First (CF) and wider Community Development workforce. Key tasks included developing and providing relevant training; ensuring the Community Development National Occupational Standards (CDNOS) are consistently implemented; progressing the endorsement process; and taking forward a national development framework for Communities First and the wider CD workforce.
We are continuing this work with grant funded work with the Welsh Government, building on the previous contracts. This current work has three main elements, Promoting and providing training in Community Development National Occupational Standards ( CDNOS), Recognition, Endorsement and delivering the Better Approaches to Social Inclusion training programme. We hope that aspects of this work will be very relevant to you in your work in terms of helping improve understanding and practice and helping the work you already do to be recognised more formally. We are very excited about these developments as we feel that this year will enable us to embed the work we put in in relation to our previous Contract with the Welsh Government. If you would like to find out how any of this relates to your working environment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Endorsement and Recognition
Recognition. Recognition Schemes are personalised, nationally endorsed, learning programmes, suitable for volunteers and community activists as well as for paid and unpaid professionals working in the third, public or private sectors. Recognition schemes help people measure the learning they have gained through work that they are already doing and the experience that they have built in their communities, to get workplace qualifications; in some cases, this provides individuals with the motivation to return to work. CDC has already started to pilot Recognition Schemes and the current contract with the Welsh Government will allow us to develop these Schemes across Wales.
There are three types of Recognition:
- Baseline: primarily for activists, workers and community members in the early stages of employment or volunteering.
- Project and Project/Real time: for people undertaking a community project.
- Full Recognition: for experienced Community Development practitioners
Each participant in a Scheme has a Mentor to help them reflect on their experiences and map their community based activities against the CDNOS and the National Qualification Levels. If you are interested in involving your area and require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
CDC has planned the pilot Recognition Scheme, working with Gemma Hicks, STAR Deputy Cluster Manager. Six participants have been recruited from a range of backgrounds and work experience. They include 3 STAR staff members, 2 volunteers/community activists and 1 youth worker. Participants will attend 6 half day facilitated sessions, which includes group work and one-one mentoring.
Endorsement is a rigorous process for quality assuring CD courses and programmes of learning, whether formal or informal, accredited or non-accredited. Last year CDC launched an Interim Endorsement Forum involving representatives from a wide range of relevant disciplines to work towards the establishment of 'Standards Board Cymru' with appropriate governance, induction and training. We will be launching this Board at a national conference in 2015, as the endorsing body for community development training and learning for Wales, ensuring a quality marker for all training in community development across Wales!( date to be confirmed).
- The interim standards board has appointed two members to act as readers and reporters to the decision making panel which will be held in January 2016 .
- CDC is working on a business case to Agored Cymru for the inclusion of a mentoring qualification. Field research is currently being carried out by CDC to assess and highlight the demand within Wales.
- CDC has worked with colleagues from the England Standards Board (ESB) to develop materials and assessment criteria for the mentoring qualification at levels 2 and 3.
Community Development National Occupational Standards (CDNOS)
Promoting and providing training in Community Development National Occupational Standards (CDNOS). Many of you will, we hope, have heard of the CDNOS. For those who haven't, they are a set of guidelines for those working at different levels and roles, in Community Development, covering different aspects of understanding and practice. Many practitioners already use them in their work to good effect. The CDNOS element of our work will aim to help improve CD working practices in the most deprived areas of Wales. The CDNOS have recently been revised (Autumn 2014) and a link to the revised set of Standards is provided at the end of the document.
- The CDNOS are now revised and have been approved and adopted by UKCES. CDC is the Welsh custodian for the Standards.
- A half day and full day training materials, "Introduction to the CDNOS" based on pilots held in Cardiff and Wrexham have been written and continually being improved and updated.
- CDNOS training has been widely promoted and has generated interest from a number of CF Clusters and from other sectors.
- They are used to develop accredited and non-accredited training and the Recognition Scheme is based on mapping people's work and experience using the CDNOS
- CDC is exploring a wide range of opportunities to promote and support the use of the CDNOS which will improve policy development and practice across the sectors in Wales.
- The CDNOS training provides useful information and feedback about what is currently affecting people's role and work.
Better Approaches to Social Inclusion(BACSI)
Better Approaches to Community and Social Inclusion (BACSI): We have also been tasked with delivering the BACSI programme. BACSI is a course designed by CDC, specifically for public sector workers to better understand the nature of poverty and social exclusion. The course encourages staff to reflect on their values and explore how their beliefs and actions impact at work. Additionally, it provides opportunities for service providers to reflect on the needs of their users and explore why community engagement and participation should be at the core of their working practices.
- The revision of the full 3 day learning programme is almost complete
- The Introductory /Taster Sessions have been updated and will be delivered over the Autumn 2015 period.
- Other training materials have been developed with the values and principles of Community Development incorporated which raise awareness on approaches, interventions and methods that are effective in mitigating the effects of poverty on individuals and their communities.