‘Is non HE/FE/accredited training just as valid? (posted on behalf of Claire Cressey &Caroline Alford from Welsh National Opera)

 ArtWorks Cymru Open Space Session - December 17th 2012 

Key Question

‘Is non HE/FE/accredited training just as valid? If so, how do we ensure quality and raise the awareness of opportunities available?’


posted on behalf of Claire Cressey/Caroline Alford (WNO)


Context: What other ‘training’ opportunities (non HE/FE etc.) are available? [Work placements/internships/apprenticeships/workshops/mentoring/shadowing staff members/voluntary work/self learning e.g. books, online research, online training etc.]


  1. Is it just as valid?
  2. Does it depend on the quality of the experience?
  3. Does it depend on the person involved in the process?


Discussion: (e.g. in response to 1)… etc.)


1. Such training opportunities can be as valid; however, it is important to be able to communicate this on a CV to potential employers.

2. Agreed that it does depend on the quality of experience – aspects such as the range of opportunities offered, the support given to the person, the quality of the mentoring – indeed, such aspects do not necessarily have to be experienced in a large organisation either. However, this is also intrinsically tied to 3.

3. The quality of the training can often depend on the initial qualities of the person and also the suitability of the candidate for the placement/apprenticeship etc. Also, there is always a need for a certain amount of basic skills, character, and passion for the opportunity on behalf of the person (these aspects required to respond successfully to the opportunity, and similarly either discover more, or indeed change their career goals)



Further discussion:


  • A certain sense of snobbery that dictates that an academic education or an accredited qualification is always of higher quality than a training programme. However, it is argued that this is not always the case.
    • Further question: What does accreditation give? How can you obtain non HE/FE recognition? Where do established artists stand in the argument when they are not accredited etc.?
    • What about trained accredited ‘performers/artists’ who excel in participatory arts through on the job experience but are not accredited in that area?
      • Further question: How can you offer a qualification to such a person that already delivers such practice (and for a long period of time) that also fits new practicitioners?
      • Does accreditation close down the many routes into participatory arts? Is this something that we would want?


Key question: Issue of quality


  • A degree/accreditation is automatically seen as quality. In this sense then, how do we ensure the quality of other routes (as mentioned at the start of the document) without accrediting them? (if this is indeed the chosen viewpoint)
    • Ideas: sharing best practices, kite marking etc.
    • Problems: is it the same as accreditation? Will it be recognised as being of equal value unless they know it is of quality?
  • Tackling the problem
    • 1) Break down the barriers/perceptions in the sector to begin with?
    • 2) Rather than kite marking, find better and more effective ways of communicating the quality in the role of the practitioner? (or indeed as the trainee). This is however, as always, down to the trainee, the practitioner, and the way communication skills are taught within other training contexts.


Final question/discussion: How do we raise the awareness of opportunities that are available? [Suggestions to follow]


  • The introduction of a sector-wide network. A central point for different industry areas focussing on participatory arts practices. As a part of this, the potential introduction of regional groups for ongoing debate, sharing, and networking. (Similarly, the implementation of a strong online presence that focuses on the sharing of resources – other ideas: national annual, conference, national meetings etc.
  • Most importantly: connecting with universities, colleges, and schools, UK wide, to raise awareness of opportunities, pathways, or resources that are available.

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