A five day workshop bringing together participants from University of Porto, University of Edinburgh, Kaunas University of Technology, Edinburgh University Students’ Association, National Union of Students (UK) and European Students’ Union, took place in Porto 30th January to 3rd February 2017.
The aim of the workshop, hosted by the University of Porto, was to train approximately 20 participants to become facilitators of the student facing auditor training programme. The workshop focused on facilitation and training techniques, setting the context for the audits, and preparing the overall auditor training programme. The workshop enabled the formation of a cohort of facilitators, led to great knowledge transfer, and sharing of experiences between the participants. Participants came from a variety of different fields and backgrounds– from academia, to students’ unions and non-academic staff. They brought in a variety of perspectives and approaches to the training, and the creation of the auditor training programme.
Davy Gray, who works at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, and will be delivering the training to University of Edinburgh students said: “My experience of Porto was overwhelmingly positive – from our hosts’ gracious welcome on day one to our emotional farewells on the last day and everything in between. The ESSA Project Group worked hard, both individually and collectively, to achieve our intended outputs via a series of intensive meetings, presentations and workshops.
Cross-cultural collaborations such as this are not without their inherent risks, the obvious one being language, especially where technical or specialist terms are needed. But not only did we overcome that, we managed to communicate creatively, often with good humour and via a suite of techniques that, whist taking us out of our “comfort zones”, provided much added value to the process (I am thinking of the use of role-play and the vigorous yet friendly challenging of assumptions in established methodologies).
After a lot of Skype conference calls I now feel that we have “humanised” our personal relationships and cemented the working partnership going forward. I, like the others, greatly look forward to retaining the momentum gained by doing our best to deliver a set of solid outcomes for the forthcoming April audit phase in Edinburgh”.
The student auditor training programme will last approximately 30-40 hours and will first be delivered at participating universities in March 2017 to a cohort of 20 students. The training will focus on setting the context of audits, methodologies, and how to conduct audits. The first audit will take place at the University of Edinburgh 24th-28th April, and will be conducted by 7 students from Kaunas Technical University and 7 students from University of Porto; University of Edinburgh students will also be involved in the audit, but will take more of a hosting role.
We are excited about the project, and hope that the first audit at University of Edinburgh will go well and be a great experience for participating students.