Professional Development and
Follow the trail
- Introduction to professional development in the voluntary sector.
- Accreditation and Qualifications.
- Finding Courses. National and regional directories.
- Accredited courses - NVQs etc.
- Professional Development around Specific Issues eg Community Work, Social Enterprise. (NB Not just NVQs)
- Qualifications (Diploma, Certificate, Masters, Postgrad Research etc.) other than NVQs, on general areas of study (e.g. management, law, finance, communication).
- For activities such as social work, working with children etc, some organisations on the Areas of Concern pages may have courses. Also try Issue based support bodies.
- There is a list of short course training suppliers. We also have an online training page.
- For Events, Conferences, Seminars, see our Listings Section.
- Specialist pages for training for trustees /management committee members, Volunteer managers.
- Training Resources page includes a section on Work-related Learning and National Occupational Standards.
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 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.
The National Open College Network site gives quality standards and local OCN contacts who may offer qualifications in community development, volunteering training, management.
voluntaryskills.com is for the North East.
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.
Note: Some courses created with qualifications in mind do allow study excluding examination/assessment.
No current info at Nov 2013.
Roughly grouped by issue. Not just NVQs.
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.
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.
Staffordshire University's Creative Community Unit Graduate Certificate in Community Practice has Voluntary Sector and Community Arts as 2 'pathways'. Also an MA available,a nd short courses with titles such as Getting Communities Involved, Making it Happen with Community Arts.
University of Sussex Centre for Community Engagement, various courses.
- Urban Studies at University of Glasgow has various Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development courses in Housing, Regeneration.
Postgraduate Certificate in Social Enterprise one year part-time course was being run by Glasgow Caledonian University in partnership with Scottish Social Enterprise Academy, but info disappeared at March 2013. Also an MSc in Social Enterprise.
MSc in Social Enterprise and Business Democracy from Sheffield Hallam University launched for January 2011. Normally studied part time over two years, individual modules can also be taken separately for personal development. Prospectus.
Social Entrepreneur module from University of York - York Awards.
Institute of Leadership & Management has a number of social enterprise support qualifications.
School for Social Entrepreneurs has a number of bases or projects around the country as well as London HQ.
A new qualification for individuals working in operational management positions within humanitarian logistics (aid delivery etc) available from September 2006, designed by Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK and the Fritz Institute in San Francisco. Further details awaited on CILTUK web site - see Society Guardian article for background.