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Career Progression In the VCS Working Together Project. Sussex Learning Network. Paul Bramwell & Sheila Auguste Working Together Project. Mission

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Career Progression

In the VCS

Working Together Project

Sussex Learning Network

paul bramwell sheila auguste working together project
Paul Bramwell & Sheila AugusteWorking Together Project


WTP is dedicated to meeting the learning and training needs of the community and voluntary sectors by offering a wide range of creative solutions in training, learning and education. We are committed to both work force development and widening participation in community activity (community capacity building).

  • Career Progression for people involved in the VCS
  • Learning Progression for people involved in the VCS

The latter impacts on the former,

but they are different

the vcs as a career option
The VCS as A Career Option
  • VCS nationally employs 6% of the workforce
  • In Brighton & Hove we are the equivalent
  • economic size to the Hotel trade if you take
  • volunteer time into account
  • Also career progression opportunities in
  • statutory sector
  • A large number of paid staff in the sector
  • started as volunteers who want to make a
  • difference
  • Governance of the sector – we need skilled
  • volunteers to manage us, but also governance
  • as a route into a paid management position
voluntary sector
Voluntary Sector
  • Increasingly a deliverer of public
  • services
  • Increasingly responding to government
  • agenda
  • Paid Staff
  • Often part-time
  • Trained Volunteers
  • “Professionalised”
community sector
Community Sector
  • Addresses immediate community


  • Put pressure on local service providers
  • Element of self help
  • Community activists
  • Almost entirely voluntary
  • Less VCS career oriented
our experience of the voluntary sector
Our Experience of the Voluntary Sector:

From our experience the majority of people from the voluntary sector want to learn because they want to undertake their role better. Generally they are not that interested in accreditation unless they feel that they have to have it to progress their career. The vast majority of them want short learning interventions as and when they need them.

our experience of the community sector
From our experience people from the community sector will need a significant amount of support and encouragement before they will access a learning opportunity. It is also likely that they will need a relatively long input before meaningful learning takes place. After this, they too will be able to access short interventions, once they have a framework and a context within which to place each intervention. They are more likely to want accreditation if support is offered.Our Experience of the Community Sector:
what are the motivations for progression
What are the Motivations for progression?
  • From the providers point of view?
  • From the Learners point of view?
  • From the voluntary organisation’s point of view?
  • From the community organisation’s point of view?
barriers to progression
Barriers to progression
  • Lack of flexibility – time, place, length, level / pitch, Accreditation etc.
  • Lack of 1:1 support to access courses
  • Lack of economic power compared to other sectors
  • The VCS not being acknowledged as a workforce
The VCS not promoted as a career option
  • Lack of opportunities to progress within organisations
  • The linear framework within which progression is perceived
  • Lack of understanding of accreditation
Lack of funds to cover course costs
  • Lack of funds to pay for staff cover
  • Increasingly experience is not being valued
  • Organisations not having a learning strategy
  • Courses need to be broad enough in content, or recruit across a number of ability levels to recruit enough people to be value for money

Organisations not allowing time for

  • learning to cascaded
  • Lack of understanding of the VCS by
  • mainstream providers and tutors
  • Lack of VCS trainers that understand
  • both the community sector and the
  • voluntary sector
  • Lack of skills in managing a cross sector
  • group of learners
Short interventions – do not have to be taster


Very few HE level short courses aimed at the


Flexible accreditation is difficult to understand

and therefore market

Accrediting bodies find it difficult to be flexible –

so for example you end up with a qualification

in “flexible accreditation”

relationships between providers sectors
Relationships between Providers / Sectors
  • FE providers often don’t talk to VCS providers and stakeholders before they start providing courses or provide off the shelf courses
  • FE providers often compete with VCS providers once the VCS has demonstrated a demand for a particular type of course
  • HE providers have become much more involving of the VCS in recent times, and this has resulted in the development of new and relevant provision – although there is still much work to do
  • Different funders have different agendas, and there is often a lack of coherence
areas of work
Areas of Work
  • Outreach
  • Other Feedback Mechanisms
  • Short Course Programme
  • Community Based Courses – many in


  • Leadership & Governance courses
  • Learning Champions
  • Mentoring Project
  • Bespoke In-house Courses
  • Charged for Courses
partnership work
Partnership Work
  • BSCKE Postgraduate Voluntary Sector Management Project
  • Sussex Voluntary & Community Sector

Learning Consortium

  • ChangeUp and the Workforce Skills Strategy
  • CUPP Trustee Project
  • ALTogether Programme
  • Face2Face Fundraising Fair
  • Getting Serious in Hastings
supporting learning vcs infrastructure
Supporting Learning & VCS Infrastructure
  • Sussex Learning Network
  • Brighton & Hove Learning Partnership
  • LSC, Sussex Council
  • Dialogue 50:50 Group
  • Volunteer Centre steering Group
  • Action for Communities Working Group
  • CUPP Steering Group
  • Children’s Trust Learning Consortium
  • eb4U Learning Providers Consortium
  • EYDCP Training Group
final thought
Final Thought

Working Together Project filled 560

short course places last year and had

demand for another 200 places.

solutions to
Solutions To:
  • Flexibility
  • Accreditation
  • Equitable partnerships
  • Areas that different sectors

could learn together