Background to the AT scheme
Where sparqs directly delivers course rep training, we do so through our team of Associate Trainers (ATs), who work for us on a part-time basis as trainers while undertaking their studies at university or college.
We first moved away from using our full-time staff as course rep trainers in 2005, when we piloted an Associate Trainer scheme in the UHI region. This was successful and was expanded to the West of Scotland in the following year, before being rolled out nationally thereafter.
Although we are helping universities, colleges and students' associations around the country to develop their own training teams, we still retain our own Associate Trainer scheme for course rep training in institutions who have yet to set them up.
Strengths of the AT scheme
Our ATs have a wealth of immediate and current experience of learning and of representation, both in their studies and through being course reps. Their knowledge of the learning experience in Scotland's universities and colleges is an asset to us as an agency and helps us understand and engage students in the work we do. It is also of huge benefit to the training they deliver, as our trainers usually work in their own or nearby institutions and therefore get to know their activities and processes very well.
The position provides a terrific opportunity for individuals to develop skills and knowledge in training, quality and student representation. Our three-day annual Associate Trainer event on the last weekend of August each year equips our trainers with the skills and knowledge necessary to fulfil their role.
The 2016 residential training event took place on 25th-27th August. You can read the storify from the 2016 training for an overview of what's involved in equipping our trainers to train course reps.
You can also still read the storify from the 2015-16 training which took place on 27th-29th August 2015.
Many of our ATs go on to full-time posts in those fields, in no small part due to the experience they gain working with us.
The peer-led nature is a key strength of the Associate Trainer scheme because it allows students to learn from other students, enhancing and empowering the role that they can play as agents of change in the quality of their own learning.
To contact any of our current team of Associate Trainers or to find out more about them please see our staff page. Meanwhile you can contact the sparqs office for any general enquiries about the scheme.