Accredited Training for User Involvement in Higher Education Teaching – Exploring an Innovative Training Programme in Public Involvement and Partnership Working
This article discusses a six-day course designed to address the current gap in provision of structured, accredited training for service users wanting to contribute to Higher Education (HE) Health and Social Care Education through public involvement (PI). It discusses the views of the participants who completed the course on its perceived impact on their future practice and their opinions on formal accreditation in this context. The course was delivered by a team of service users and academics. It covered three domains of involvement in HE: teaching, research and governance. This article focuses particularly on involvement in teaching and learning activities, drawing on findings from a focus group with participants carried out after the completion of the course. Focus group participants discussed five main outcomes of the course: ‘new knowledge’, ‘new skills’, ‘confidence’, ‘personal capability and gratification’, and ‘added value on CVs or when applying for jobs’. They recognised the ‘challenges of accreditation’ but also felt that they had gained from the experience in terms of personal development, and in relation to what they would be able to bring to improve engagement with learners. As public involvement becomes increasingly mandatory and common, their experiences illustrate the key role of training for involvement in HE teaching activities to ensure that a more diverse group of users feel able to actively contribute. However, reflections on the development and delivery of the course also highlight some of the challenges involved, particularly in relation to assessment, time and funding.
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