NAEGA Branch Development

A proposal to the DfES and LSC

NAEGA was founded in 1982 to provide a focus for the growing field of lifelong learning guidance for adults. All members, a total of around 1500, both individual and corporate, are involved and/or have an interest in the development of adult guidance. NAEGA is essentially a practitioner based organisation, with a membership of around fifteen hundred, including: learning providers eg. colleges, adult and community education providers, universities; careers services and independent guidance providers; voluntary and community based organisations; and more recently some employers, including the Army. The rapidly growing membership is genuinely representative of the range and diversity of adult guidance practice. NAEGA is administered nationally through a Board of Directors, including representatives of regionally based groups who are responsible for activities and events in their area. The Association produces a national newsletter four times a year and holds a highly successful annual conference.

The request for funding, to the DfES and the LSC, to carry out this work, applies only to branch development in England. NAEGA is however a UK organisation and the project as a whole will apply across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Association is actively seeking other funds to work outside England.

1.0 Purpose

1.1 To enable members of NAEGA to take a proactive part in achieving the aims of the Association, through participation at regional/ local level, by:

  • promoting the development, understanding and acceptance of adult guidance*,
  • promoting high standards of delivery, through training and dissemination of good practice,
  • providing feedback at regional and national level, on issues affecting access to learning and work opportunities for adults,
  • assisting in the dissemination of relevant information between practitioners and member organisations,
  • identifying, acknowledging and giving a platform to good practice by colleagues in the branch area,
  • promoting collaborative working and partnership activity through sharing knowledge, pooling resources and expertise and spreading good practice.

1.2 It is proposed to develop active regional/national branches of NAEGA in appropriate areas in the UK. Discussion is underway on the development of a branch in Wales, in collaboration with NIACE Dysgu Cymru. A combined Northern Ireland /Scotland branch has flourished in the past, but discussions have commenced on the development of separate branches, which are better able to respond to internal change and development. There is also a possibility of extending the project to the Republic of Ireland, where NAEGA has an increasing membership. In England branches will be developed in each of the nine government office regions, to ensure coherence with regional socio economic planning arrangements, including LSC and RDA boundaries. The Association believes that adult guidance practice, as well as learning opportunities provision, must be responsive to local conditions and meet differing consumer demands. Branch activities can play a significant role in encouraging best practice in supporting the development of learning communities.

The request for funding to both the DfES and the LSC is intended to extend over a two year period. However the project is intended to be sustainable and to continue as part of NAEGA's on going arrangements for supporting branches. Final project reports to sponsors will include an action plan for the future.

2.0 Current position

2.1 NAEGA currently has active branches in the East of England, London and the South East, the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside and Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each meets regularly with an agreed programme of activities and elects a representative to the NAEGA Board. Branch meetings take place 3-4 times a year and normally include a mix of business activity and training /briefing events. For example recent speakers at branch meetings have included: Cathy Bereznicki, the new Chief Executive of the Guidance Council and Professor Mike Danson, University of Paisley. Presentations and workshops have included: cross cultural communication, opportunities for non IT graduates in IT, held in collaboration with AGCAS and E-skills UK, opportunities in probation and social care facilitated by the probation service, psychometric testing for guidance and recruitment, briefing and discussion on the recent White Paper and redundancy counselling. Non members are normally welcomed to branch events, though they may not vote at branch AGMs.

2.2 Branches have normally elected officers on an annual basis, including nominating a Branch Representative, to attend meetings of the National Executive. In December 2002, NAEGA became a non-profit making company. The Company Articles require branches to elect a chair, secretary, treasurer and branch representative at an annual AGM. The latter is an ex officio member of the NAEGA Board.

2.3 Each year a different branch forms a planning committee for the annual NAEGA Conference. The two day residential event is designed to meet the needs of adult guidance practitioners across a broad range of practice. Conference 2003, held in Chester attracted 270 participants from across the UK. The generosity of sponsors, for example the DfES, LSC and IAG Partnerships, and the provision of conference bursaries, for example a bursary supported by the Guidance Council to a first time participant, help those with low incomes to attend. A conference manual has been developed to support planning committees and to develop even more successful events.

2.4 Branches are funded through a proportion of the annual subscription fee. Some branches charge a small fee for training events and may charge a higher rate to non -members. Branches are expected to agree an annual budget with the NAEGA Treasurer, which takes into account the sum remaining in the branch account.

2.5 Branches have in the past held their own mailing lists, but will now be able to contact members in their area through the main NAEGA database. Some branches produce newsletters and /or publicity fliers to communicate with members. The Association intends to encourage branches, through the project, to make more use of the NAEGA website for promoting activities.

2.6 NAEGA is currently redesigning its brand and overall image, as part of an overall review of current marketing practice. Branch packs are being prepared to support new and existing branches in both meeting company requirements and to stimulate good and exciting practice, ultimately providing a better service to members. Separate sponsorship is being sought for publishing the packs, but this proposal will enable the development of new content. The pack will be produced in ring binder format and will include information on NAEGA as an organisation, its structure and branch details. It will also include sections on branch development, training, network contacts, occasional papers etc. The idea is to provide a working tool for members and branches.

3.0 Methodology

3.1 It is proposed to allocate a named mentor to each existing and putative branch, to help members develop a branch infrastructure and a programme of activities. Mentors will also support the branch in liasing with relevant NAEGA officers and promoting the branch to practitioners in the region. Mentors will be paid a consultancy fee. This may go to their employers depending on individual contractual arrangements.
Branches will also be eligible for small grants from the project budget, to fund activities and development work. Branches will be expected to work with mentors to draw up applications for grants, which will be approved by the Project Steering Group on behalf of the Board.
It is anticipated that new and moribund branches will require more mentor time than established ones. However it is proposed that established branches are encouraged to draw on both funds and mentor time to pilot new ideas, such as regional development work, in order to set up examples of good and interesting practice, to stimulate members in other regions.

3.2 The project has the following outcomes:

  • regular branch meetings in each region/nation of members and others with an interest in developing adult guidance,
  • an agreed annual programme of activities, including both strategic briefings/ discussion and operational training issues,
  • an agreed infrastructure, which includes a strategy for regular communication with members, arrangements to hold an AGM and elect officers and a financial structure agreed with the NAEGA Treasure.,
  • branch representation on the NAEGA Board.
  • a high quality branch development pack, including guides and other examples of good practice and reports of branch development work
  • interim and final reports, [including a sustainability action plan], to sponsors, members and the NAEGA Board

4.0 Costs
[this section currently only applies to the project in England]

4.1 Costs for a 2 year period as follows:

9 mentors, 1 to each region, [at £250/day], average 12 days each, 108 days = £27,000

Activities programme, development work and publicity = £10,000

Travel costs for mentors and steering group = £ 7000

Project Manager [at £300/day], 20 days, = £6000

External evaluator [£350/day], 7 days = £2450

Administration and management costs = £4550

Total = 57,000 [DfES, £31,000 in year 1 and LSC, £26,000 in year 2].

5.0 Project Management

5.1 The Project Steering Group will be a sub group of the NAEGA Board. The NAEGA Treasurer, an ex officio member of the steering group, will have direct control of project funds on behalf of the Board and will provide financial statements to Steering Group and Board meetings. The Project will be a standing item on the NAEGA board agenda.

5.2 The Steering Group will include representatives from the DfES and LSC and at least 2 other Board members, one of whom the Board will nominate as Chair. It may also include 1-2 other NAEGA members, who have substantive branch experience and representatives of future sponsors if appropriate. The group will meet 2/3 times a year and the chair will be responsible for reports to the NAEGA Board.

5.3 The Board will appoint a Project Manager, who will;

  • appoint mentors to each region
  • establish regular reporting arrangements with the mentors
  • convene a mentor working group to exchange and develop practice
  • provide a written report for each Board meeting and the final report
  • manage the continuing development of the branch pack
  • liase with appropriate NAEGA officers, eg. Company Secretary

5.4 Mentors will report progress to each Steering Group meeting, providing written interim and final reports. These will form the basis of interim and final reports to the Board and to sponsors, against agreed outcomes.

5.5 The Board, in liaison with the appropriate funding bodies, will appoint an external evaluator. The latter will work with the Steering Group to agree an overall evaluation strategy, including their independent appraisal of the impact of the project.

* NAEGA understands guidance for learning and work, to embrace a range of activities, which may be provided by a variety of different agencies. These include 'embedded guidance' provision delivered on course, that is as a part of learning opportunities. These activities are defined in ''The Challenge of Change'' UDACE, 1987,and are summarised as follows:

Informing, providing information about learning opportunities and related support facilities available.

Advising, helping clients to interpret information and choose the most appropriate option.

Use of counselling skills, working with clients to help them to discover, clarify, assess and understand their learning needs and the various ways of meeting them.

Assessing, helping clients, by formal or informal means, to obtain an adequate understanding of their personal, educational and career development, in order to enable them to make sound judgements about the appropriateness of particular learning opportunities.

Enabling, supporting the client in dealing with the agencies providing education or training, or in meeting the demands of particular courses.

Advocating, negotiating directly with institutions or agencies on behalf of individuals or groups for whom there may be additional barriers to access or to learning (e.g. negotiating exceptional entry arrangements or modifications to courses).

Feeding back, gathering and collating information on unmet, or inappropriately met, needs, and encouraging providers of learning opportunities to respond by developing their provision.

NAEGA Board. September 2003

Contact: Judy Alloway

Tel/fax: 01548 810692