Three years ago, Cardiff Council Adult Learning introduced a Course Representatives scheme, as part of their Learner Involvement Strategy. The number of course reps recruited has risen over the years from fifteen to twenty-seven. A regular Course Reps and Volunteers Forum has been established, meeting once a term, giving participants the opportunity to get to know each other, exchange experiences, ideas, good practice and further develop their role.
Ana Vallejo, tutor for Childcare as well as Health and Social Care courses in Severn Road and Ely Hub fully embraces the course reps scheme. She has made recruitment of reps part of her learning contract and if appropriate recruits not just one but two reps in each course. This way two learners are given the opportunity to make a difference to their and their peers’ learning, acquire transferrable skills, such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, representation and meeting skills that will help improve employability and chances the progress to further education. Reps share responsibilities and tasks, such as setting up and administering a Facebook page. This page is only accessible to learners on the current course. Course reps use it post course material, additional information and resources that learners can use to revise or catch up, but also to communicate with each other. At the end of the course the page is either deleted or renamed and learners decide whether they want to continue using it.
This is what two of the reps on Ana’s courses had to say:
I was chosen to be course rep on ‘Principles of Safeguarding and Protection in Health and Social Care’ Level 2, delivered by Ana Vallejo. I really enjoyed my experience helping alongside Ana. I got to meet new people and help support them on their journey. The skills I’ve learnt and the support I’ve received have been fantastic.
I was a course rep in two classes of Ana Vallejo and found it an interesting experience. In every class we took pictures of work done and posted them on our closed Facebook page to help students who were unable to attend a class. Course reps also supported others with homework and if students were stuck, we could email Ana and ask for additional help. One of my experiences without course reps was quite confusing, because different people were trying to lead and it did not work .