27 June 2022

CLD achieves Standards Mark for Professional Learning

Aberdeenshire Council’s Community Learning and Development Team (CLD) has successfully achieved its Standards Mark for Professional Learning from The CLD Standards Council for Scotland.

The Standards Council is the professional body for all those who work or volunteer in community learning and development in Scotland.

The Standards Mark is the route offered for organisations who offer CLD learning to staff: from the smallest voluntary sector project to local authorities and national agencies. The Standards Mark process looks at the whole range of learning opportunities offered, not one specific programme, as well as the learning culture of the organisation.

The Standards Mark:

• Provides national recognition of CLD learning opportunities for practitioners with strong focus on the values, principles, competences and Code of Ethics for CLD
• Celebrates success and promotes good practice and impact
• Establishes a developmental framework using peer moderation to enhance learning opportunities for CLD practitioners

The Standards Mark is designed to support employers to:

• Ensure that their organisation becomes a learning community for the entire workforce
• Develop and implement a CPD policy
• Provide continuous leadership and support for CPD opportunities
• Strengthen and extend local partnerships
• Encourage sharing of impact and learning from good practice

Sue Briggs, Strategic Development Officer for Quality Improvement and Professional Learning, explains: “To obtain our CLD Standards Mark, Aberdeenshire CLD staff professional learning group created a SharePoint site to host all documents and links to its exciting professional learning offer.

“The CLD Improvement Team also worked with our colleagues in the ALDO team, supported by Employee Development Officer Sophie McKen, to create a training matrix to match all CLD job profiles within the council. As the elements are in-house, we also created a short video to provide a tour demonstrating how members of staff would navigate their professional learning offer digitally.

“As part of the qualifying criteria, we had to demonstrate a commitment to 35 hours per year of professional learning and how it captured this to inform future learning for our practitioners. CLD were also able to evidence a commitment to two staff events each year with quality provision.
“At the approval interview, we were given high praise and required to give the panel no more information, although they kept us chatting for a while about our work. They also requested if they could share our practice with other local authorities.
“We are a small team of fewer than 100 colleagues and sessional staff, however this is one of the largest local authority CLD teams in Scotland. Obtaining our Standards Mark allows us to be recognised as providing a good quality learning offer which may attract more staff to come and join us in Aberdeenshire.”

CLD Worker Graeme Hooper commented: “Achieving the Standards Mark is significant to both myself and my colleagues. The variety of learning opportunities for my peers to grow through a learning culture is greatly welcomed. Having a commitment to adjusting, increasing and improving our continuous development and using the system has benefits to us all. As a practitioner I appreciate being refreshed and challenged by emerging good practice, which I believe will transfer to our work and create trust within communities.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, chair of the council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, said: “I am delighted and hugely proud of our CLD team achieving this coveted Standards Mark. It is very richly-deserved and testament to the continued efforts and support this team provide within communities across Aberdeenshire. As with all our council staff, we will continue to support ongoing learning and development at both an individual and team level and, in doing, will develop and improve performance throughout the service. This participation by all CLD practitioners will have a tremendous impact on our culture of learning and I look forward to us maintaining the current standard for many years to come.”

Vice-chair Cllr Anne Simpson added: “To retain the Standards Mark, CLD will now be invited to show how it incorporates the professional competencies, values and ethics into its future professional learning offer. This will be monitored by a panel of managers, peers and academics across the CLD profession in Scotland which will ensure that the service remains focused on its commitment to retaining the standards it has become recognised to hold. I am very confident this will also build confidence in the communities we serve that we are committed to being a refreshed and knowledgeable workforce.”

You can find out more about Standards Council commitment here.