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Ulster Helps Set Standard For Community Work

A University of Ulster lecturer has played a key role in creating a set of occupational standards for community development work across Ireland.

Dr Rosemary Moreland is one of a number of academics, who worked alongside community groups, to produce, ‘Towards Standards for Quality Community Work: An All Ireland Statement of Values, Principles and Work Standards’.

The report was launched last week by President Mary McAleese at her official residence, Aras An Uachtarain, in Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Dr Moreland, from the School of Sociology and Applied Social Sciences at Jordanstown, has been working in community development in the University for 15 years now.

She said: “This report sets out the knowledge, skills, qualities, values and practice principles that combine to form standards relating to community work practice, and to education and training for that practice.

“The aim of ‘Towards Standards’ is to provide a reference framework for all community work stakeholders to ensure best practice.”

Dr Moreland is Course Director of the BSc Hons Community Development - a part-time degree, which runs at the Magee and Jordanstown campuses.  

“A set of standards have already been developed in the UK, which are embedded within our degree at Ulster. But it is important within the context of Northern Ireland, that we fully participate in north-south initiatives, which lead to a much richer understanding of the field and enable our students to develop broader understandings of the practice,” she said.

Dr Moreland is also an editorial board member of a new All-Ireland community development journal.

“The new, ‘Working for Change: Irish Journal of Community Work’ seeks to give a voice to community development practitioners and enhances the opportunities for professional discourse, across the island,” said Dr Moreland.

“Aimed at both academics and practitioners, the journal seeks to provide a critical reflective space for those engaged in community development work and for those involved in the training and education of community development workers.

“While other community development journals exist in the UK and internationally, this is the first Irish journal of community work.

“We also hope that many of our students will be encouraged to contribute to the journal, as well as viewing the journal as a rich reading resource.

“We are greatly encouraged by President McAleese’s recognition and support of the dedication and commitment of those involved in the All-Ireland Community Development Standards Working Party and also the Editorial Board of the Irish Journal of Community Work.”

The journal, which is published bi-annually, and the ‘Towards Standards’ document are both available from the Community Workers’ Co-operative website (www.cwc.ie).


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