Practitioner Training – Applied Facilitation in Community & Organisational Settings including

  • Reflective Practice for Practitioners
  • Participatory Methods for Communities & Organisations
  • Leadership in the Community (QQI Level 6)

(1) Reflective Practice for Practitioners (Volunteers & Professional workers)

This open-access and stand alone SHEP course, is designed to create a place to reflect on practice for people active in their communities who have a commitment to social justice. The aim of the course is to provide, for people active in community or organisational settings, a space for 10-11 participants to reflect on their prior and current practice experiences. The focus of course will be on the reflective phase of the experiential learning/action planning cycle. The course will be of interest to a wide range of people in voluntary, paid and professional capacities involved in a various roles in their communities.

This course entails 30 contact hours through group time – 9 sessions (approximately one per month of 2½ hours, typically from February to December (with break in July & August) and three longer sessions of five hours each. Participants will need to schedule a further one hour per week for structured reflective writing and a small amount of guided reading.The course is  delivered by two experienced trainers.

Courses in 2017

For the first time it is planned to run the Reflective Practice for Practitioners courses in the Waterford area in 2017. This open-access SHEP CPD 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 a various roles in communities, service organisations or social service agencies (e.g. education, youth and community work, social work, childcare, health-care etc).
Subject to numbers there will be two strands:
Strand 1: Open Group: Any Practitioner (Thursday mornings)
Strand 2: Team Leaders/ Supervisors/Principals/ Managers Group (Thursday afternoons)

Venue: The Edmund Rice Heritage Centre, Mt Sion, Barrack St, Waterford City.
Facilitators: Beatrice Barry Murphy and Jim Sheehan.

This course is partially subsided through the support of the HSE but we are reliant on generating sufficient fee income to run this course. In order to make it accessible, there will be a sliding scale course fee, as follows.
Standard Fee: €290: for paid staff whose organisations will pay the fee.
Reduced Fee: €150: for paid staff where funding support is not available from the employing organisation.
Reduced Fee: €90: Volunteers with small organisations; and other applicants with exceptional circumstances.

Interested applicants should submit a completed application form (in hard copy & signed) along with the relevant (self-selected) fee, please note closing date is extended: applications may still be made for both groups (morning and afternoon) as a number of places are still available to The Social and Health
Education Project, Village Centre, Ballincollig, Co. Cork. Early application is advantageous. Applications may be accepted from more than one individual per organisation.

Please note

Courses in 2018

It is planned to run the open access Reflective Practice for Practitioners course again in 2018 in Cork and Kerry to commence in late February 2018. The course brochure and application form will be available August 2017. Expressions of Interest  and enquiries are curently being taken for the 2018 programme.

Open for Application date – 4th December 2017

Latest date for Applications 26th January 2018

We are planning to offer the courses with the same subsidy as in prior years, depending on funding.

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

(2) Participatory Methods for Communities and Organisations (QQI Level 6)

The third practitioner component course in this Practitioner Training Programme, will be ‘Participatory Methods for Communities and Organisations’. This open Access and QQI Level 6 accredited course commenced in March 2017 and will be completed in early June 2017. The next anticipated offering of this coursse is in 2019 (under review). For further information you can contact Liam McCarhty at

(3) Leadership in the

Community: An Introduction (QQI Level 6 Component Award)

We are all leaders in one way or another – in our family, in our community, in our society – and leadership has never been so important. This open-access SHEP course is an introduction to leadership in the community and is accredited by QQI (Level 6: 15 FET Credits). It will be of interest to a wide variety of people, including those already involved in leadership roles in a voluntary or paid capacity and  those interested in supporting other people through leadership. It is open to those who have already trained with SHEP and to those who are new to SHEP. The course is part-time but intensive. There are usually around 18 participants. The course involves approximately 20 evening sessions and five day-long sessions (80 contact hours). It is envisaged that this course will be offered by SHEP every three years.

This course was delivered for the first  time in Cork City in early 2016 with sponsorship from CESCA.

At present it is planned to offer this course again to commence in early 2019. For further information you can contact Jim Sheehan at


Practitioner Pathway

community facilitation and leadership

SHEP has recently reconfigured our third practitioner training programme which is now 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 experiential and Level 6 QQI-accredited 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 new practitioner component courses – Introduction to Leadership in the Community (QQI Level 6); the SHEP Certificate in Reflective Practice for Social Justice; and Participatory Methods for Communities & Organisations (QQI Level 6):

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(QQI Level 6) 72 Every two years
SHEP Certificate in Reflective Practice for Social Justice Primarily Experiential Group Work Practitioner component course  30 Every year
Participatory Methods for Communities & Organisations (commencing 2015 subject to QQI approval) Variety of Participatory approaches* Practitioner component course(QQI Level 6) 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 those who have already completed the SHEP Certificate in Facilitation, the remainder of the programme (i.e. the three practitioner component courses) may be completed in two calendar years, though a participant may choose to complete them over a longer time-frame.
  • The Foundation courses and the Facilitation course will be offered in Cork each year.
  • The Applied Facilitation practitioner component courses will normally be offered by SHEP on a two-year cycle. It is intended to offer the Reflective Practice for Social Justice course in both Cork and Kerry each year.
  • The Leadership course and the Participatory Methods for Communities and Organisations course will initially be available only in Cork.
Participants are free to choose the order in which the courses are completed, though the SHEP Certificate in Facilitation can only be completed once both foundation courses are completed.

Finally, Recognition of Prior Learning will be available to those who have completed training elsewhere which is equivalent to the SHEP foundation or facilitation training.