sparqs Associate Trainers

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.

The scheme has been running successfully for over 15 years and our team is refreshed each year with new trainers after a recruitment process which takes annually in April/May. Although we continue to help 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 current experience of being learners 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, which usually takes place during the last week in August, equips our trainers with the skills and knowledge necessary to fulfil their role.

Associate Trainer team

Details of our 2020-21 team of Associate Trainers, including their biographies, will be published on our staff page in due course. The recruited trainers will attend our mandatory, online training event.

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.

Training of ATs and IATs in 2020 – online resources

Resources for the online training of ATs and IATs are under development.

The usual AT/IAT training event will go ahead online in the final week of August 2020, from Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th August. Booking information will be released in due course.

This event will follow an online blended model, including:

  • Self-directed study to be completed in advance.
  • Live webinar discussion in small tutor groups.
  • Online group work.
  • Breaks during each day, including some independent study activities.

For an overview of what's inovolved in equipping our trainers, you can view the Twitter story from last year's event in August 2019.

For further information on any of the above, please contact Nicola McIntosh.

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