Edinburgh Research Explorer

Towards effective partnerships in training community learning and development workers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning/Work
Subtitle of host publicationTurning work and lifelong learning inside out
EditorsLinda Cooper, Shirley Walters
Pages335
Number of pages350
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7969-2284-7, 978-0-7969-2302-8
StatePublished - 2009

Abstract

The Scottish Community Learning and Development Work-Based and Part-Time Training Consortium (the Consortium) was established in 2005 to provide a more solid basis for work-based and part-time routes to professionally endorsed qualifications in the field of community learning and development (CLD). This chapter draws from the results of the Consortium’s work in developing these routes (Bamber et al. 2007). The investigation focused mainly on practice while drawing selectively from relevant literary sources and research, and consisted of analysis of course documentation; an online survey of 102 current CLD students (28 per cent of the overall population); individual and group interviews with educators, learners and employers; consultative workshops with key stakeholders; and observation of teaching and learning processes.

Undergraduate work-based and part-time CLD students in professional training in Scotland are likely to be mature females, with non-standard entry qualifications and significant domestic and work commitments – circumstances that make it difficult to engage with higher education. Our focus in this chapter is on the capacity of the learning experience to equip such students with the requisite practice knowledge for a successful career in CLD. An effective experience would exploit the significant opportunities for learning in addressing live problems and issues in the workplace. The key to success is in helping learners to connect work experience, programme content and their own professional development. Much depends, however, on unlocking the potential in the respective roles and contributions of training providers, employers and learners themselves. In essence, this turns on collapsing false dichotomies between the academy and the workplace and creating effective working relationships between all stakeholders. We argue in this chapter for an integrated approach to training, which highlights the importance of three interlinking elements: ‘responsive academies’ attuned to the needs of work-based and part-time students, ‘expansive workplaces’ systematically supporting learning and development, and ‘active learners’ who take responsibility for their own learning.

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