Background of the IAT scheme
While, for many years, sparqs has employed a team of Associate Trainers (ATs) through our AT scheme to deliver Course Rep Training (CRT) around the country, we continue to help institutions and students' associations to develop their own training, and to recruit and manage their own teams of trainers. We refer to these in-house trainers as Institutional Associate Trainers (IATs). The IAT scheme was established in 2011-12. The benefits of institutions managing their own training programmes - albeit with close support from sparqs - are that:
- Training can be customised to the structures, cultures and needs of each institution.
- There is more flexibility in the potential number of timing of delivery with an institutional team rather than one accessed through sparqs.
- It retains the peer-led model and provides a development opportunity for students interested in this area of work.
This scheme, open to institutions in Scotland, involves sparqs training your in-house trainers (IATs) at our annual ‘train the trainer’ in August, following which, your IATs then train your course reps. While the opportunity for joining the scheme in 2023-24 has now passed, if you are interested in joining the scheme in the future, please contact us and we can discuss your needs and provide information around what is involved in creating and managing an IAT team.
For Scottish institutions still considering CRT options for 2023-24, please read our updated CRT options and support document for further details of the options available (some of which may have passed for the current year). Please do contact us if you would like to discuss your plans.
Recruitment and training of IATs
sparqs is committed to helping maintain and enhance the quality of course rep systems in institutions in Scotland, including the quality of training for course reps. For institutions that join the IAT scheme, we provide support and guidance to help you establish a strong and effective course rep system. Depending on your needs, this may include help with application forms, interview questions, contracts for IATs, and the interview process.
Recruitment of IATs should be commenced in the spring each year, so that IATs are in place well in advance of our annual ‘train the trainer’ event in August, outlined below.
We can support induction and development events for IAT teams, and we include them in our annual Associate Trainer event at the end of August each year. This year's annual training is at Queen Margaret University from Tuesday 22nd August to Friday 25th August 2023.
Ensuring the quality of the IAT scheme
To ensure the quality of training reps receive remains at the high level currently delivered by sparqs' Associate Trainers, we require of all participating institutions that:
- All student trainers receive an induction.
- There is a line manager in place in each institution, to provide support to the student trainers and act as a point of contact between the organisation and sparqs.
- All student trainers attend all days of the mandatory training in August.
- Evaluation data from course rep training sessions is provided to sparqs to allow comparability of provision.
For further information on any of the above, please contact Nicola Cameron.