Students Soon to Qualify

One of the most innovative projects we were asked to manage this year is a new college course designed to help give students the skills, knowledge and capabilities needed for employment in community development. This project has been Dunbritton Housing Association’s biggest Wider Role project for 2011 – 2012 and they are delighted with the results.

The Working with Communities HNC and PDA in Housing Law delivered by Clydebank College were inspired by Easthall Park Housing Cooperative’s well established course at John Wheatley College in the east end of Glasgow. Offering similar opportunities in the West Dunbartonshire area we developed the 30 week HNCClydebank College course to target individuals who were out of work and who may be facing some barriers to employment.

The course has a strong emphasis on group work and students benefit from a 1.5 day a week work placement with community based organisations including local housing associations, community centres, addiction support agencies and youth organisations. Both CLS and Streetlinks have offered placements and our students have been keen to learn and fitted in well to our lively office atmosphere whilst working on a community environmental and youth outreach projects.

Mentoring has been provided to all students on placement in order to try and ensure that doubts, personal barriers and the stresses of academic work are overcome; students also receive an attendance based training allowance for the duration of their course.

CLS Project Manager Christine Menhennet said, “Seventeen students started the course and eleven are likely to qualify in April 2012. This is a real achievement not only for them but also for all the partners who pulled together to get the course up and running at short notice. All of the students who were accepted were either out of work or sessional at the time and most had no academic experience beyond secondary school. They have been hugely supportive of each other in getting through this challenging course and their hard work will be rewarded by gaining a nationally recognised HNCqualification backed by some valuable work experience.”

Graduation will qualify students to apply for the full time Community, Learning and Development at Glasgow University and at least three of the students are considering this option. After a successful pilot, Clydebank College are now considering mainstreaming the course and could begin to invite students to apply for the ‘Working with Communities’ 2012/13 course soon.

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