IAT scheme

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:

  1. Training can be customised to the structures, cultures and needs of each institution.
  2. There is more flexibility in the potential number of timing of delivery with an institutional team rather than one accessed through sparqs.
  3. 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. The window for joining the IAT scheme for 2021-22 has now passed, but if you would like to enquire about this scheme for the future, please contact us and we can discuss your needs with you and send you an outline document exploring what is involved in creating and managing an IAT team.

For Scottish institutions still considering CRT options for 2021-22, please refer to our 'CRT options and support document' and please do contact us if you would like to discuss any of your CRT requirements. 

If you have any other questions or requests related to CRT, please get in touch with Justin Walker, Development Consultant - justin.walker@sparqs.ac.uk or email us at admin@sparqs.ac.uk.


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, 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 took place from Tuesday 24th August to Thursday 26th August 2021.

This event followed an online blended model, including:

  • Self-directed study, 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 involved in equipping our own ATs and the IATs to deliver CRT, you can view the Twitter story from the previous year's online training event in August 2020.

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 Justin Walker.

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