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Professional Development and
Structured Learning

Updated 25/11/13

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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.

Note that while we have separated off Certificates and Diplomas, usually from further/higher educational institutes, they are often quoted as being equivalent to a certain level of NVQ. This may be quite important in connection with sources of personal educational funding. See our Training Resources page for government and other support initiatives.

Foundation degrees are relatively new - vocationally focused higher education courses at 'intermediate' level, the same as HND/C and NVQ level 4. Higher Learning at Work has relevant info.

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.

Coleg Harlech WEA provides courses that meet the needs of individual volunteers and voluntary organisations across North Wales. OCN accredited.

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.

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 or trustee resources for training in those areas.

Community

Housing, Regeneration

Enterprise

Operational