Unique Certificate in Higher Education course to train aspiring Advice service workers and volunteers launched by Highfields Centre.

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A successful course designed by local professionals and delivered in Highfields through a successful partnership between Highfields Centre and Leicester University is being offered from January 2017 and potential learners can enquire / enrol for the course by contacting Highfields Centre.

The Certificate in Higher Education in Social Welfare, Advice and Guidance is the only new course that Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning will be offering this academic year. It will provide a great opportunity for volunteers or staff who may need to develop their skills and gain a recognised University accredited qualification  or progress onto Higher Education.

This part time course represents a unique example of outreach based on the needs of the local community. It is equivalent to the first year of a degree and is open access in that potential students may enrol without formal qualifications, provided they can demonstrate aptitude and a good level of written English, at an interview with the Course Director.

Former students have spoken passionately about how the course has helped them in their own learning journeys and how they were able to realise their personal ambitions and career paths.  Rehana Sidat said she entered learning after many years spent at home raising her family. She praised the staff for the support she received and the self confidence that she was able to develop.  As a Muslim woman she felt safe to be learning at Highfields Centre, a local venue she was familiar with already. She spoke about the challenges Muslim women face in entering education. The course had helped her in her role at a local voluntary sector organisation she helped to form to serve special needs clients. Rehana has since undertaken a subsequent management degree at VCLL and has worked as a lecturer and consultant.

Highfields Centre has been successfully running a version of the course for 17 years and graduates have gained employment in various public and voluntary sector advice services. Students have also progressed onto Higher Education and embarked upon Law, Sociology and related degrees.

The course has been re-approved by the University to ensure it remains relevant for the labour market.  Various modules are covered to include current social policy and welfare legislation and the skills required in social welfare advice and information guidance roles.

Mushtaq Ahmed, an ex-student and relatively new (2004) arrival in the UK said ’The course gave me the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for advice work and gain a recognised qualification. Following its completion, I have worked as a Careers Advisor and provided welfare advice in various community based locations.’

Commenting on a recent White Paper entitled ‘Success as a Knowledge Economy’ 2016 which highlighted the need to widen participation and to double it by 2020 compared to 2009, Aiyub Zamakda, Course Director said ‘We fully welcome the sentiments and aims of the White Paper to widen participation for all disadvantaged groups and across all age ranges and through the partnership fostered, it has been possible to target learners from disadvantaged and racial minority communities to participate and benefit from the course.  Many are now positively contributing to their local communities and economies as fully fledged advisers.’

For an informal conversation about the course, prospective students can contact Aiyub Zamakda at Highfields Centre, 96 Melbourne Road, Leicester LE2 0DS   t: +44 (0)116 253 1053   e: aiyub.zamakda@highfieldscentre.ac.uk

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