What does Quality mean?  What is Quality in Training? Signs of Quality in Training?

Is Scouting good? This is the question that has been asked in many occasions and written in many documents. The common answer is: Yes. However, most of us are aware that it can still be improved. And we should be aware that this improvement should be done on a constant basis. If not, we will lose members and reputation as the rest of the world moves forward. This is valid for all elements of functioning of Scout organizations, so it is very valid for the training of adults, as well.

Participants at Training Commissioners Network Meeting 2013

Participants at Training Commissioners Network Meeting 2013

But if we sit back and live on the “glory of old times”, not investigating and investing in improvements, we will soon suffer decline – decline of membership, of positive recognition and, very important for everyone, decline of personal satisfaction. If the members of your troop, pack or group, at any level, do not participate or go elsewhere in their spare time, this can bring dissatisfaction to the persons in charge.

It is in everyone’s interest to do one’s best – and to be recognised for this, to know the aim of what we are doing and to be able to describe why things work. For a National Scout Organisation/Association it’s not enough to recruit leaders that are knowledgeable about leading young people. We also need  Leaders who can deliver the requirements of young people,

In theory and practice of management, thinking about quality in whatever you do, and thinking how to improve that quality is known as a quality management. As the idea for quality management was developing, many organizations/companies have established their specialized “quality control” departments or units. This idea has now been changed and mainstreaming concept in many organizations is that constant improvement of work, products and services is the job and responsibility of everyone in the organisation. Whenever quality in every action is required, everyone has to take their responsibility for quality in their area of work. The person in charge also is in charge of the quality of what is done. Scouting educates for responsibility. So quality management is not far away from Scouting.

So, talking about quality in Training of adults in Scouting, it should be common sense that everyone involved in design, preparation and delivery of Training for adults leaders is responsible for quality in his/her area of work. And quality standards should be introduced in every phase of training design, preparation, delivery and monitoring.

Some quality standards in Training are provided on world level and they should be respected by all NSOs/NSAs. These standards can be found in:

WOSM’s “Wood Badge” framework

WOSM Wood Badge framework contributes to offer “Better Scouting” and “More Scouting” through the permanent improvement of quality training for adults involved in the Movement, and by strengthening their sense of unity. The need to have a clear definition and/or a formal Wood Badge framework and the willingness to maintain and to improve the WB’s “quality” was expressed by the 38th World Scout Conference held on Jeju Island, Korea.

The framework purpose is :

  • To strengthen the sense of unity within the movement through the sharing of purpose, principles and method of Scouting and the belonging to a worldwide adult brotherhood serving young people;
  • To harmonize the training principles of adults serving in Scouting, and the basic learning areas such as Scouting, leadership, management and relationships.

Adults in Scouting – World Policy

According to World Policy on Adults in Scouting, Each National Scout Organization is responsible for designing and operating a system for the training and development of Adults in Scouting in all functions (uniformed and non-uniformed) and at all levels. The training system needs to be designed to be appropriate for all adults taking into consideration differences and diversity of the society.

This system:

  • includes the integration of the new adult, formal (basic and advanced) training, informal and ongoing learning, training and support for the entire duration of the term of office,
  • includes not only the acquisition and development of the knowledge and skills necessary for accomplishing each function, but also the personal development of adult leaders,
  • is flexible and allows for previous experience and skills to be taken into consideration,
  • allows for the acquisition of additional skills and knowledge to facilitate the transfer from one function to another.

The personal development of Adults in Scouting is explicitly included as part of the training to be provided. Emphasis must be put on the flexibility of the system used to provide training.

Most of NSOs/NSAs in European Scout Region have certain quality standards related to training of their Adult Leaders. The difference is in approach to these quality standards. Some of NSOs/NSAs are reviewing these standards on a regular basis (time period is not relevant), and some of them did not do any review of their training quality standards for a long time, even from the time those standards were established. As a result of this, representatives of some NSOs/NSAs are not even aware of the existence of the standards, and things that they are doing on training are seen as “we have always done it this way and there is no other way to do it”. Regular review is healthy and ensuring your training is correct for your NSO is important – even if you decide not to change anything you have made sure it is still relevant

Some of specific quality standards in Training that are introduced by NOs/NSAs in European Scout Region are:

  • minimum qualifications for Trainers
  • time-scales for Leaders to achieve Wood Badges
  • compulsory ongoing learning requirements
  • an experienced Trainer will always support new Trainers for their first three training experiences
  • only certain Training Advisers who are competent in their subject will validate certain modules
  • each training team member will have their performance reviewed every six months.

(these standards are clearly stated in the Scout Association UK, but they are present in other NSOs/NSAs)

Quality standards that are introduced by NSOs that were involved in ROLIS project:

List of competences

  • Time frame needed for achievement/development of the competences
  • Actions that should be undertaken in order to develop the competences
  • Training modules developed for each of competences

Some other quality standards are:

  • Procedures for applying for a certain training course
  • Skills and knowledge Trainers and Leaders should have prior to training;
  • Minimum length of each training module;
  • Minimum knowledge that should be obtained in each area;
  • Procedures for recognition of learning – recognition of competences;
  • Procedures for monitoring and evaluation of the trainings;

The list of quality standards does not end here. There are many others that are used. In the following period there might be more detailed explanation of each of these s or group of them. Therefore, if your NSO/NSAs has very detailed and very good established quality standard, that according to you can be shared with and used by other NSO/NSA, please do not hesitate to share it with the European Scout Region.

However, we should be aware that established quality standards in NSOs/NSAs are just one part of the system. Another issue is monitoring f these standards are respected during training.

This short paper is only an overview at the highest level of quality systems.  If you would like help in developing the quality of your training and implementing quality systems then tailored support is always available provided by experienced individuals from the European Scout Region.  Please discuss your needs with your Committee Contact and we would be pleased to help.

Growth Trough Quality Working Group


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Jordan Bajraktarov
About The Author

Jordan Bajraktarov

Jordan is a Director of Organisational Development at the World Scout Bureau - Europe Support Centre, Geneva

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