When Lord Seb Coe’s charity International Inspiration wanted to showcase how it is changing lives throughout the world, it asked us to produce a film. We told the story of Mercy Anne from Kenya, who was thrown out from her family home after becoming pregnant. With the support of International Inspiration and the East Africa Cup, Mercy Anne became a football coach and a mentor to other young people in trouble.
Supporting sport for development: the East Africa Cup
Training Director Nick Raistrick has a strong interest in sport for development, and has been involved with the East Africa Cup in Moshi, Tanzania, for more than a decade. He delivered training with young people at the event as a volunteer, and acted as its director of media development when the EAC team won “Best Sports Event for Peace” award at the Peace and Sport awards in Monaco in 2011.
He also produced a film of the event, which was broadcast on the UK’s Community Channel.
You can read his account of the first ten years of the event and its role in assisting development at: https://www.sportanddev.org/en/article/publication/east-africa-cup-first-ten-years
Nick has also developed online training material for BBC Media Action on sport for development and in reporting sport; and produced packages which were broadcast on BBC World Service radio on sport for development issues raised at the event.
Nick was also part of a BBC delegation attended the 2007 ‘Next Step’ conference in Windhoek, Namibia, where he worked on participatory video sessions.
A new audience: university students
In 2019, the Training Station started working with a new partner, the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, UK.
The RAU received government funding under the Catalyst programme to develop full postgraduate courses which students can follow almost totally online. This requires large quantities of video resources to be produced to a tight budget. We have used lightweight video production techniques honed in our work in the development sector to produce films to a high standard at modest cost.
Combatting gender-based violence
The Training Station set up the Khatwah project to combat the growing incidence of violence, especially against women, among communities displaced by conflict in the Middle East. We established a team of creatives who made informational films and campaigns that were featured on TV and screens in refugee camps.
One film asked: who’s to blame for the violence?
Another film challenged men to speak up over street harassment, which harms women and girls across the world. It prevents them from participating fully in the economy, holds back their education, and can prevent them from seeing family and friends.
Helping map the development of media in Rwanda
The Training Station partnered with the Media High Council in Rwanda. We identified training needs within the industry and drew up proposals for a training centre in the capital Kigali. We also took part in the African newspaper editors conference.
Our face-to-face training: never the same twice
No two courses are ever the same. Even two groups of people performing the same job in the same organisation can have quite different dynamics. Our trainers identify the appropriate training needs of a group and build a course which meets their needs and delivers objectively quantifiable results.
Focussed: Our training is tightly focussed on the needs of the participants. Typically we ask everyone to complete a pre-course questionnaire so that we fully understand their experiences and specific needs. Each training session begins with a discussion to tease out key concerns and personal objectives.
Flexible: We devise a course outline in advance, to meet the perceived and expected needs of the group. But we are always checking with participants, and are able to change pace and address issues that arise.
Interactive: We believe that people learn best through doing. Our training is highly interactive and engaging with lots of opportunities to practise, review and discuss. Participants comment on how much they enjoy the courses we run.
Practical: Trainers give constructive feedback and encourage other participants to do the same. They help each participant to identify ways to improve their own performance. Where time and group size permits, we repeat exercises to help participants to test their newly-learned skills.
Constructive but candid: Our trainers are facilitators who help participants to find the best outcomes for themselves and for each other. But they are also able to draw on their extensive professional experience and give advice and practical tips.
Illustrated: We play examples of TV and radio interviews to demonstrate best and worst case scenarios and help to draw out the best ways to manage contact with the media.
Resourced: Our use of ‘PowerPoint’ type presentations is limited to outlining key learning points. We provide all participants with written materials to take away. If required, the handouts can be revised to incorporate clients’ own policies and advice.
Supported online: Participants can be enrolled on our online courses, giving them the opportunity to develop their understanding in their own time and at their own pace. We create spaces to bring people together online: a Facebook group might act as a place to share our trainees’ practical work as well as a space to share resources and stimulate debate both before and after a training workshop.
Supported in person: We provide a contact email address so that all participants can raise personal concerns and request advice after the course. Participants are encouraged to network using social media to share their learning with each other and others.
Evaluated and reviewed: All participants are asked to give us their feedback. We continually refresh and improve our course content.
Supporting best training practice worldwide
Our lead training team is highly regarded. We regularly deliver training of trainers workshops for a variety of organisations, in which we equip their staff or associates to deliver their own training, face-to-face or online.
Many of these trainees have gone on to become full-time trainers in their own right. In fact, some of them go on to work alongside us.
Online courses are especially valuable for pre-workshop preparation, or for post-workshop follow-up, but can also be delivered as standalone courses for those unable to attend face-to-face training.
The Training Station brings together the team which devised, created and managed the BBC’s online learning platform, iLearn. This gave the team direct experience of creating more than 150 online modules, translating them into 15 or more languages and delivering them in a wide variety of situations to thousands of learners.
Today we use Facebook, blogging platforms and even short-form messaging such as SMS and Twitter to communicate and educate. However, we find there is still a need for a dedicated learning platform (often known as a learning management system or LMS, or virtual learning environment, or VLE) which gives programme managers a clear oversight of activity and enables professional courses to be quickly assembled and made available to learners.
We recently developed an online learning platform which would work in Arabic and Farsi for the US-based organisation, Internews. We then created brand new courses for working journalists – among them, modules in journalistic ethics, reporting human rights, and operating safely.
We have built an all-new learning platform for Nigeria in conjunction with the British Council and are currently developing an online Masters course in conflict-sensitive journalism.
- A 30-min film on advanced robotics for the EU (http://www.backtotheplanet.co.uk/portfolio/brl-robotics)
- A 15-minute radio documentary on nuclear science for BBC Radio 4
- 20-minute film on the East Africa youth soccer cup for The Community Channel (http://www.communitychannel.org/video/yYZcTOzVAP0/the_road_to_moshi)
- 30 x 1-minute promotional films for the University of the West of England (http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/whyuwe/uwestudentstories)
- A short film promoting the work of the Wildlife Trusts, featuring Sir David Attenborough (http://www.herefordshirewt.org/wildplay/untold_stories.html)