Reflective Practice for Practitioners (Volunteers & Professional workers) Autumn 2020 – Applications still being accepted for Kerry  

These open-access and stand-alone SHEP courses, are designed to create a place to reflect on practice for people active in their communities who have a commitment to enabling social change and working towards a socially just and inclusive world. Participants will share in the creation of a space that facilitates an exploration of the assumptions, values, beliefs and feelings that underpin participants’ ways of being active in their respective settings. This course entails 30 contact hours through group time – 10 sessions (approximately one per month  from February to November.

This open-access SHEP programme uses the ‘Critical Reflection’ model (Fook & Gardner, 2007)  and will be of interest to a wide range of practitioners, (volunteers or paid) involved in various roles in communities, community and voluntary sector organisations and groups, service organisations or social service agencies (e.g. education, youth and community work, social work, childcare, health-care etc).

The groups are supported by the Bon Secours Community Initiative Fund. Applications are currently being taken for:

  1. Kerry (Thursday ) Open Group – this commecment of this group was deferred until September 2020 – a decision will be made later in August as to whether to commence as planned or defer until January 2021

Application Form and Brochure – please click link

Reflective Practice for Practitioners Brochure & Application Form 2020

For further Information please contact the course coordinator:

  • Kerry – Deirdre O’Sullivan on 087- 7728089 or email

The next round of courses for Cork, Limerick and the South East areas will commence in January 2021 with the application forms being available later in Autumn.To inquire, please call Liam Mc Carthy on o21 4666180 or email

Leadership for Living (& Social Action)

An innovative & experiential programme for Young Adults (18-30)

SHEP Certificate

February – December 2020 (Tuesday evenings & 6 Saturdays)

Location: Cork City (Various venues)

Scholarships/bursaries available for all successful applicants.


‘Doing this course gave me so many practical skills that I could immediately apply to my work and it gave me the confidence to aim higher with my career goals’.


Who is this for?

This Programme is designed for passionate  and caring young adults who want to

  • be part of a learning community where you will meet other like-minded people and get to know yourself better,
  • make a difference in the community in this time of increasing uncertainty and change,
  • be better able to influence positive change in the world we live in.

This programme is open to everyone – your educational and/or employment status don’t matter.  What matters is your motivation and commitment! Young people from all backgrounds are welcome.

How would I benefit and grow?

  • You will get to know  and learn from others  who are enthusiastic about leadership.
  • You will learn new ideas about Leadership  that can be  applied in daily life
  • You will be supported to grow your self-confidence in a friendly, safe and enjoyable environment
  • You will get an opportunity to develop  and practice every-day  leadership skills
  • You will be better equipped  to be part of the change which is emerging in our modern world.
  • You will explore how to apply what you learn to programme development.

What is the time commitment?

This part-time, intensive programme will be offered by SHEP in Cork City commencing in February 2020. There will be 16- 20 participants. The programme will involve 24 evening sessions (on Tuesdays, 7-10pm) and six day-long sessions (Saturdays). It is important to point out that while this course is part-time it is an intensive course – participants will need to be able to devote sufficient time to participate.

What is the Aim of the programme?

The overall aim of this programme is to support passionate and motivated young adults (aged 18-30)  to reach their personal potential and to enable them to be better equipped to contribute  in a positive way to social well-being.

Who is running programme?

This programme has been designed by SHEP (The Social and Health Education Project CLG) which has been designing and delivering experiential training programmes in Cork since 1974.

What is the programme’s Content & Approach?

There will be five areas of exploration:

  • Foundations of Leadership for Living & Social Action
  • Personal Leadership
  • Approaches and Skills for Leading Groups Creatively
  • The Practical Application of Leadership
  • Reflective Practice for Leadership

This programme has been designed to be interactive, challenging, rewarding and enjoyable. We will also draw on innovative models of leadership. However, the emphasis is on non-formal learning, and learning from each other. It will be customised according to the needs and interests of the group. It will be a group journey: a variety of participatory approaches will be used including discussion of formal inputs, experiential group-work, group activities, team projects, guest speakers, project visits, guided reading, learning groups, skills development and reflective writing.  There will be one residential weekend (May 2020).

A key aspect of this programme is the emphasis on Reflective Practice.  Seven reflective practice seminars will run through-out the programme – integrated into it – approximately once a month.

What is SHEP’s philosophy on leadership?

This programme is informed by SHEP’s commitment to enhancing human well-being and social justice. It recognises that effective leadership begins with self-awareness, presence and personal effectiveness. Importantly, this programme is based on an understanding that leadership must be values-led, integrated and facilitative.  Leadership is a mind-set, not a skillset.

The programme has a ‘Design Team’. What does this mean?

The design of this programme is being supported by a Design Team which includes six young adults who are already active in the community and who will be involved, in various ways, in delivering some of the training.

Are there assignments?

There will be five assignments which will support your experiential learning and skills development,as follows:

  • Reflective Learning Journals (x2)
  • An Individual Research Project
  • A Group Presentation
  • A collaborative group project

Assessment will emphasise self-assessment and some peer assessment.

Is the programme certified?

On successful completion of the programme participants will receive a SHEP Certificate in Leadership. To complete the course 80% attendance is essential, along with completion of all five assignments. 

 Who will be facilitating the programme?

An important feature of this programme is that it will delivered by a team of Facilitators – SHEP facilitators and guest trainers with experience of leadership in the community. An innovative feature of this programme is the involvement of a number of young leaders in delivery of some parts of the programme. Another important aspect of this training is the emphasis on co-facilitation. The Programme Coordinator will be Jim Sheehan (Project Director, SHEP).

What are the entry requirements?

This is an open-access programme, though there are entry requirements. Candidates must:

  • be willing to commit to a group journey of learning
  • have a strong commitment to promoting equality and social justice
  • have a clear commitment to contributing to community life
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have a Letter of Recommendation/Letter of Support (either from a group/association with which you are, or have been, involved, or from a person who knows you well)

 What is the cost?

You can apply for a full scholarship/bursary (based on merit)! There is a significant number of scholarships available (awarded based on the quality of the application). The value of the programme is €700. A personal contribution of €40 per person is required as the  deposit. This deposit will be refunded if you do not secure a place on the programme.

Closing Date

Monday, 11th November 2019

How do I apply?

Applicants should submit a completed application form, in hard copy, along with the letter of recommendation and €40 deposit/personal contribution, before Monday 11th November, 2019 to The Social and Health Education Project, The Old Primary School, Ardfoyle Avenue, Ballintemple, Cork. (021) 4666180

Candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of their application and all shortlisted candidates will be required to attend for an interview. Being called for an interview does not guarantee an offer of a place on the programme. Interviews will take on December 7th and/or 14th. Successful applicants will be notified by early-December 2019.

I was grateful to have the opportunity to explore Leadership studies and to meet and learn about the leaders within our Communities. It was also interesting to look at my own leadership qualities and abilities. The diversity within our group highlighted for me, the importance and benefits of inclusivity. There were also other significant leanings along the way such as: the power of listening, how to deal with conflict, group dynamics, experiential learning, the benefits of journaling and personal development. Overall it was a really enjoyable course and I would definitely recommend it.’    Liz Madden

Access the Application Form (Leadership for Living & Social Action) 2020 here:

SHEP Leadership for Living & Social Action 2020 (Application Form)

 Draft Timetable

SHEP Leadership Timetable 2020 (Draft Sept 19)

Are there progression options?

Participants who complete this programme will have a number of progression opportunities within SHEP and elsewhere. Those who have not already completed the SHEP Training Programme (Personal Development/Social Awareness/Facilitation) will have the option of commencing this programme in September 2021.

A number of year-long Certificate-level courses are available in UCC and elsewhere, also commencing in September 2021. Students might also consider a number of two year, part-time Diploma courses available in UCC, such as the Diploma in Youth and Community Work or the Diploma in Social and Psychological Health Studies, which is offered by UCC in partnership with SHEP (next available Sept 2021). A number of other programmes might also be of interest, including Degree Programmes in UCC and/or CIT’s Degree in Community Education and Development.


Action-Oriented Facilitation

This new SHEP course will be  to be offered in  Spring 2021. It will be based on a previous SHEP course entitled ‘Participatory Methods for Communities and Organisations’.  For further information you can contact Liam McCarthy at

Practitioner Training – Applied Facilitation in Community & Organisational Settings, including:

    • Reflective Practice for Practitioners
    • Participatory Methods for Communities & Organisations
    • Leadership for Living and Social Action

Our third practitioner training programme which is called the SHEP Certificate in Applied Facilitation in Community & Organisational Settings. The aim of this part-time programme is to resource local communities and organisations by supporting programme participants to become more active citizens through leadership and facilitation.  Participants on the programme will come from varying backgrounds of voluntary and professional practice across the Community and Voluntary Sector. The training programme will enhance participants’ capacity to contribute, from their current practice setting, to growth and development in their community and organisational context.

The programme is an innovative mix of  courses. There are six components in this practitioner training programme. Each component is a separate SHEP course which leads to certification in its own right. The programme requires completion of the two SHEP foundation courses, the SHEP Certificate in Facilitation, as well as the successful completion of three practitioner component courses:

Name of Component OpenAccess? Main Learning Approach Type of component Contact Hours Offered
SHEP Certificate in Personal Development Experiential group-work Foundation course  120 Yearly
SHEP Certificate in Social Awareness & Community Empowerment Experiential group-work Foundation course  78 Yearly
SHEP Certificate in Facilitation   Primarily Experiential group-work Intermediate course– requires prior completion of both foundation courses 111 Yearly
Leadership in the Community: An Introduction Variety of Participatory approaches* Practitioner component course 72 Every two years
SHEP Certificate in Reflective Practice for Social Justice Primarily Experiential Group Work Practitioner component course  30 Every year
Action Oriented Facilitation (commencing 2021) Variety of Participatory approaches* Practitioner component course 75 Every two years

*for example experiential group work, guided reading, reflective writing, learning groups, skills development, submitted assignments, inputs.

A key feature of this programme is that each component course in the practitioner programme is a complete and self-contained course and there is no obligation or requirement to do the full practitioner training.

This practitioner training programme is designed so that those interested can complete it at their own pace. The entire practitioner training programme may be completed in four and a half years – though a participant may take considerably longer to complete the entire programme, according to individual circumstances.

For Further Information contact the course coordinator Liam Mc Carthy or the main SHEP number on (021) 4666 180 or email