In 2007/08 NIACE, the UK’s leading non-governmental adult learning charity, was funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Communities and Local Government to develop and pilot a qualification for faith leaders, workers and volunteers. Following successful consultation, development and piloting, the qualification is now to be delivered through the Faith Community Development project. In order to achieve positive outcomes for all stakeholders the project has convened an independent Advisory Group and is underpinned by robust core principles.
Following the completion of the first pilot phase of the Continuing Professional Development for Faith Leaders, Workers and Volunteers project and the work to complete the accreditation of a qualification for faith community development, NIACE was asked by Communities and Local Government (CLG) to set out a proposal for a programme of targeted pilots in the faith communities. These pilots will deliver the new Faith Community Development qualification in partnership with a variety of providers including Further Education colleges, local authorities, and community adult education providers and training organisations.
Accreditation of the course through the National Open College Network has demonstrated that it can offer a flexible range of qualifications which will allow future participants to undertake a shared learning experience and select from a range of available accredited outcomes.
The delivery model in the initial phase consisted of weekly sessions with some additional one-day weekend sessions. This reflects a standard form of delivery but was a barrier for some participants. This phase of the pilot seeks to offer a wider range of delivery models (modular sessions, blended learning or residentials) in order to evaluate impact on learner take-up and retention.
Proposed pilots sites
*The course will be adapted to suit specific learning needs of Chaplains
The pilots are expected to run between October 2008 and March 2009, with development work taking place in summer 2008.
Delivering the programme through partners
At NIACE we recognise the value of partner organisations, as they have been a critical factor in the successful delivery of learning opportunities to adults from a wide range of communities. Working together on this innovative national project we can contribute to building more socially cohesive local communities.
The role of partner organisations in the Faith Community Development project
Recruitment and Support
A safe and secure welcome
Partners previously involved in the project have identified a number of benefits including:
All our partner organisations receive financial support that ensures the effective promotion, recruitment and delivery of adult learning opportunities.
The Faith Community Development project offers learners/participants a stimulating short course of accredited purposeful learning in settings that provide an opportunity to develop positive relationships with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
The Faith Community Development course is accredited in that successful completion leads to an Award or Certificate in Faith Community Development through the National Open College Network.
Who can take part?
It is expected that participants will be over 18 years of age and active in a faith or community group. We welcome interest from everyone and are particularly keen to hear from women and young people as it is recognised that they currently play a marginal role in Faith Community development.
What do the courses involve?
The course will address five main themes:
The course will be delivered in a number of ways including weekly sessions, modular sessions and residential sessions. It is intended that the total number of taught hours will be no more than 40, with additional guided learning (through web based and other resources).
The training is free to all participants who also receive a high level of support and ongoing advice regarding further training, as appropriate.
This is the most common form of adult education delivery and is effective in providing learning opportunities for individuals who have commitments during the day. It is familiar to most adult learners and has over many years proved to be a robust method of delivery for personal achievement. There is evidence from the previous pilots that participants undertaking courses structured in this manner developed a sense of group identity and belonging.
This model of delivery seeks to provide short intensive blocks of learning (2 consecutive days) over a 2/3 month period. It is expected the course will be delivered over three blocks (each representing a subject area) with participants having access to web based resources in the interim periods. This modular approach allows a fixed group of participants to undertake the course in manageable blocks. The consistency of the group attendance in each module will support cohesion and peer learning. Another advantage of this approach is that participants can attend all modules of the course or only those dealing with aspects that are relevant to them.
It is recognised that many courses constructed on the basis of weekly attendance have difficulty in retaining young people, who tend to have particularly high dropout rates. The reason for the fall off in attendance appears to be lack of engaging material and an unwillingness to sustain a regular commitment. The residential model would significantly reduce the length of time required to complete the course as it would be short ( 2 full days and 2 residential days) and intensive. The residential provides additional educational value as it complements the in-class learning with informal out-of-class learning experiences. The informal learning opportunities enhance group cohesion and will provide the stimulus for future developments.
If you are interested in the course and want to check if you have the necessary literacy skills follow the simple steps below:
2) Click "To launch the mini test click here"
3) Complete the questions.
If the results indicate further help would be beneficial to you:
4) Click the 'Find a Test Centre' tab, type in your area and contact one
of the support centres
The specific aims of the qualifications are to provide the opportunity for faith leaders, workers and volunteers to:
The qualification includes:
Level 1 Award in Faith Community Development - 9 credits
The Advisory Group contributes specialist knowledge, understanding and context to the project to enrich the initiative and ensure it links with wider political, social and learning developments. The group supports the development of the project by offering advice on key issues concerning the wider context of capacity building for faith groups, work with young people and women and the relationship with other government initiatives.
Advisory Group Members 2008-09:
This programme is funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and Communities and Local Government.
© NIACE 2008
Pictures: courtesy of Dave Sutton-Jones REACT Multi Media, unless otherwise stated