Pivoting NICVA training

26 May 2020 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 26 May 2020

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At this time of crisis the rate of change has been phenomenal. Changing what we do and how we do it. Learning new things.

Within a very short timeframe we have been forced to embrace new ways of working and our rate of learning new technology and ways to communicate has been on turbo drive.

Over the last two months we have adapted our training and support to completely online provision. We were already providing a lot of our support through online resources and email contact, as well as training through webinars. However, a considerable amount of our work was face to face with people, through training, events, meeting and one to one support. Rapid change was needed.

So far there have been 3 phases:

  1. Completing programmes already started
  2. Adapting delivery online
  3. Planning for the future

Completing programmes

The first things we had to consider were completing programmes and courses that had already started – such as The Transformative leadership programme and ILM level 5 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring. We realised that we couldn’t just mirror what we delivered in the classroom as such.

Things we considered:

  • What would work for content on a webinar?
  • What materials and tasks you can provide in advance to make best use of the time?
  • What parts/topics do participants need to discuss and learn from each other?
  • What access to tech and time do participants have available?
  • People participating in the courses are in very different situation eg working from home, children to look after, more stressed, really busy providing crisis services, on furlough
  • Training that trainers would need to use new platforms and the time it would take other experience staff to share their knowledge and coach
  • Practicing using the tech and platforms takes time
  • Communicating with our funders and ensuring we had approval to proceed.

Adapting delivery

We then moved to the next phase of adapting all our training provision to deliver online. This included our accredited courses such as ILM level 5 Diploma, TQUK level 3, ILM level 3 Award, as well as half day and full day courses. We need to move fast, and trainers need to invest the time and energy thinking what would work and how to divide the course to still ensure high quality and useful content.

With the half and full day courses we considered

  • What does our sector need currently? Relevant, timely accurate content.
  • What content to cover – slides had to be adapted, scripts written
  • How long to hold them for – one hour or 1.5/2 hours with a 10-minute break
  • Which platform to use – we have a GOTO account so use this for all our webinars
  • Activities included to keep participants attention and to get involvement during the session – write in chat box or discuss as a group
  • Resource and activity packs to accompany the session with templates, links etc
  • What to charge? – we offered all our single session webinars for free and have charged a reduced fee for our accredited training
  • Trainer and another member of staff at each webinar to do the welcomes, keep an eye on the chat box, deal with any issues
  • Online evaluations sent the day after the training.

Planning for the future

Things are changing so quickly that we are constantly adapting what we do. Our planning cycles are much shorter – month by month. The horizon is now closer, and we can only see short distances ahead, this is under review and will extend as time goes on. How far into future is it safe to plan? How far to scale back?

We still have a long-term plan and vision – this will not change; however, we need to be agile and realise plans change. We are using our learning from this time to improve how we do things and see opportunities arising from this. The future will be much more a blended approach to training delivery. People (trainers and participants) are now more confident with the technology there are positives in terms of environmental considerations, time, money, accessibility.

We are looking at all the technology that is available and decide what is best in each situation

We are listening to our members and the wider voluntary and community sector through forums, conversations, training, emails and zoom meetings to hear what support and training they need from us

We are upskilling our staff to learn new tech and new methods

We are meeting as a team more regularly to encourage and support each other – to bounce new ideas and connect.

Our learning

  • Allow time staff to learn the new technology and platforms and practice beforehand
  • Share skills and knowledge across the team – coach each other, set up buddies for people, feedback at team meetings, discuss ideas and problem solve
  • Have clear joining instructions for participants and ground rules
  • Don’t try to reproduce what you do in the classroom – rework, bite size chunks, reduce contact hours, what can they do on their own, what is important to engage with
  • Listen and understand where people and organisations are at, their challenges and what they need
  • Work in partnership with others to deliver what the sector needs, promote what others are doing, play to each person’s/organisation’s strength, what is complementary.




sandra.bailie@nicva.org's picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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