Friday, 22 July 2016

Approaches to staff development. Write up of #cpd25_rlt event

On 8th June I made my way down (pretty much) the entire length of the Metropolitan line to give a presentation at CPD25’s alternative approaches to library staff development and accreditation event. Cpd25 is the Staff Development and Training programme of the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries which aims to provide training for library staff of institutions within the M25 region. The day was designed to give attendees a flavour of the various development routes staff working in higher education had taken that were considered out of the ‘norm’ or not specifically designed with librarians in mind. The norm being: attending University staff training days; LIS qualifications; CILIP chartership and qualifications; and conferences.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going down the usual route of staff development and in one way it seems perfectly sensible to do so because when applying for jobs others will recognise what you’ve done and the value implicit within it. However, staff developments budgets are getting smaller, even in higher education which normally has much more money to play around with than their poorer further education counterparts. As a result of this, it seems sensible to consider alternatives to see if these could be beneficial too. 
The day itself:
After lunch, attendees learned how Elizabeth Charles from Birkbeck University had become a CMALT (chartered membership of Association for Learning Technology) holder - a portfolio- based open to anyone with strong interest in learning technology, not only learning technologists. Marina Burroughs from UEL talking about Associate Fellowship of Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) and how all library assistants, including shelvers, were able to complete this as they all met the criteria, despite not directly teaching students in workshop or lecture sessions. Finally, Paul Allchin, from the British Library, talked about his Erasmus work exchange to the Austrian National Library and how this had helped improve his German language skills. 
Flowers featured heavily in my presentation because.. well, PTTLs. Also, growing.

My bit:
I spoke about my experience doing a PTTLS (Preparing to teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector) in a previous job. It is a City and Guilds Course, now renamed as Level 3 Award in Teaching and Learning, and is aimed at those teaching adults. I completed this course because it was the only teaching qualification financially open to me at the time and I wanted to discover specific tips on teaching techniques, as well as a qualification to improve my job prospects. 
This practical, portfolio based course provided me with everything I set out to achieve, including ideas for lesson planning and structure. It improved my confidence and skills and provided my with the qualification I needed to land a job in higher education. Now, alongside my day to day offering of workshops and lectures to students and staff, I have a teaching and learning functional role and am working on my FHEA accreditation submission.
My presentation is available via HaikuDeck
What else is available?
Ultimately, these courses referred to were only a snapshot of some of the staff development opportunities available. While organisations have a responsibility to train their staff (and I’d recommend checking out what is on offer at your workplace as sometimes it can be quite hidden) , it is worth knowing what else is available that could be cheaper (or free) and more accessible than the ones mentioned, e.g. 
  • CILIP’s special interest groups provide training opportunities as well as bursaries to more traditional events, including the CILIP Information Literacy Group version of the PTTLS course
  • the excellent #UKLibChat is a great way of learn about a subject and network with peers while at home/on a train/wrangling small children/eating dinner
  • reading blogs and journal articles
  • Webinars, Youtube, groups on LinkedIn etc and, one I’ve personally found amazing, my peer group on Twitter