The Co-operative College has delivered a four-day training workshop for mentors who will work with a generation of young co-operative entrepreneurs.
The training was delivered in Manchester for co-operative practitioners representing the regional offices of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). It was part of the Global Co-operative Entrepreneurs (GCE) initiative to encourage young co-operators around the world.
The project was developed within the Framework Partnership Agreement, signed by the ICA and the EU in 2016. It builds on a previous project, CoopStarter, which was funded by Erasmus+ and led by Cooperatives Europe in collaboration with other partners.
CoopStarter 2.0, the second phase of the project, will establish partnerships between co-ops and youth organisations to create a young co-operative entrepreneurial culture in the EU.
As a partner organisation, the Co-operative College provided skills and tools in mentoring led by facilitators, Angela Colebrook and Amanda Benson. They are experienced trainers and practitioners who delivered similar training last October for CoopStarter2 mentors in Italy.
Ms Colebrook, who heads up the learning and development team at the College, said: “I love using the College’s training approach, because it’s perfect for working with larger groups, drawn from a variety of backgrounds.
“We always encourage learners to own their development in a stimulating and enjoyable environment. Contrary to many learners’ expectations, thinking that they were coming to Manchester to be ‘talked at’ for four days, they commented about how much they enjoyed our hands-on and practical approach – so much so, they would be replicating it back home.”
Dr Benson, projects and research officer at the College, added: “To have such an opportunity to work with a range of co-operators and youth workers from around the world was a real treat. The wealth of experience in the room, alongside the enthusiasm and commitment to helping young people, meant that all of the training activities came to life and led to a clear sense that plans would be put into action at the end of the workshop.”
The sessions were praised by those attending, including Mohd Adzhim from Malaysian co-op federation Angkasa, who said: “In my organisation we don’t often involve or develop co-operative start-ups from the younger generation. This course has given me the support I need to propose this [in the future].”
Carlos González, from ICA Americas, added: “[The ICA] will benefit form the training course as we will be better able to guide our designated mentors during the GCE programme.”