University of Leicester eBulletin

New Qualification on Offer for Running Community Groups

May 2004

No 129 

Open Day on May 26

The University of Leicester is offering a new type of degree qualification for people wishing to learn more about running voluntary or community groups.

The Foundation Degree in Managing Voluntary and Community Organisations explores issues surrounding the setting up and effective management of voluntary organisations and provides the skills and information needed to negotiate with official agencies and funders.

The course aims to give students knowledge of the changing social, political and demographic contexts in which voluntary/community groups operate. It will also provide students with the skills and information needed to manage their organisation effectively.

People interested in finding out more about the Foundation Degree can attend an Open Day at Vaughan College, part of the University's Institute of Lifelong Learning, on Wednesday 26th May from 12 noon to 2.30pm. People can also contact Marion Lawlor on 0116 252 5919 for more information.

The foundation degree is a new higher education qualification designed for those who wish to attain new skills to further their career whilst still in work. The foundation degree uses a combination of delivery methods to provide a range of vocational and work related skills. The University of Leicester was the first institution in the East Midlands to run prototype Foundation Degrees.

The essential features of foundation degrees were outlined in the Foundation Degree Prospectus (HEFCE, July 2000) as 
Employer involvement - employers, including sector skills councils (SSCs), should be involved in the consortia and in designing, reviewing, and, where appropriate, delivering FDs. 
Development of skills and knowledge - this includes specialist technical knowledge: rigorous broad-based academic learning; key skills and generic skills. 
Application of skills in the workplace - many students who enrol on the FDs will be in full time employment; if possible work based modules and projects should be included in the FD design. 
Credit accumulation and transfer - FDs will require a minimum of 240 credits; prior and work based learning should be recognised. 
Progression - there must be signposted progression routes into honours degree programme(s), which normally take a maximum of 1.3FTE years, although many FD graduates may be expected to prefer flexible and part time study.

The University of Leicester, through the Institute of Lifelong Learning, is committed to supporting the career and professional development of learners through the development of foundation degrees, enabling access to a specially designed HE level course suitable to the needs of the individual and the demands of their industry. 

Foundation degrees at the University of Leicester are available on a flexible basis with elements of work related and work based learning, face to face teaching and distance learning. The programmes have been designed with employers, employer and professional organisations, and national training organisations (NTOs) to meet the specific skills needs of the sector. The qualification can also lead onto an honours level degree programme. 

Further information on foundation degrees at the University of Leicester:

FdSc in Security and Risk Management
The Foundation Degree in Security and Risk Management is designed by the University of Leicester in conjunction with the Security Industry Training Organisation (SITO), employers and other industry representatives. It meets the growing demand of the industry for highly skilled security professionals.
[Departmental Website]

FdA for Teaching Assistants in Educational Studies
The foundation degree has been specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of those who are working as teaching assistants, particularly in Primary education. Potential students may wish to improve their teaching assistant skills or to enable themselves to explore a career path leading towards work as a teacher.
[Departmental Website]

FdSc Health and Illness
This programme has been designed to provide ancillary and support staff working in the NHS and healthcare industries with an understanding of how the body works and of the major disease processes that affect us. The aim is to create FD graduates equipped to make a well-rounded, well-informed contribution to patient care. Some will then proceed to further training either as health care professionals, such as nurses, or via an honours degree to MB.Ch.B entry.

FdA Managing Voluntary and Community Organisations
This programme aims to prepare students to manage effectively in the rapidly changing sector of voluntary and community groups. Shifts in government social policy have seen the split between purchasers and suppliers enacted across a range of welfare services. In addition, the availability of different types of funding is leading organisations to construct bids, which force a greater focus on their aims and the ways in which they fulfil them. Voluntary agencies and charities are becoming more business-like. 

For information on foundation degrees at the University of Leicester and future course developments contact 
Fiona Donovan
Foundation Degrees Development Officer
Institute of Lifelong Learning
Tel: 0116 252 5920

Information on foundation degrees in general can be found on and 

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: May 2004
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This document has been approved by the head of department or section.