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Sometimes the hardest thing about staring something new is just that:  Getting started. Maybe you are contemplating starting up a co-operative of your own, or are trying to understand the organization of the co-operatives that you patronize or with which you do business. The following section features examples of co-operative education programs that will give you an idea of some of the basic, as well as more advanced, learning options that you may choose to follow. For a much more exhaustive list, please visit the Training section of our website.

ILO International Training Centre

The International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (Turin, Italy) is committed to assisting countries in their social and economic development, through learning and training. The Centre offers courses on several subjects of interest to co-operatives, such as credit schemes and micro finance international labour standards, productivity improvement and human resource management. The Centre also organises tailer-made training and learning activities to meet specific needs and as part of technical cooperation projects.

The Centre is the training arm of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency entrusted with promoting social justice, including internationally recognized human rights and labour standards.

We provide training in subjects that further the ILO's pursuit of decent work for all. Five regional teams ensure that our training for the world is relevant and appropriate to local needs, aspirations and conditions.

The Centre is more than a training institute. The campus in Turin, Italy, is a meeting place where professionals from all over the world share experience. Here, they transcend national frontiers and capitalize on cultural diversity to develop an in-depth view of the world of work. This is also true of our distance learning virtual campus networks. Our courses abroad, too, bring together regional or national counterparts for what may be a rare opportunity to share views and experience and to learn together.

Within the framework of the ILO's Decent Work agenda, we contribute to achieving the ILO's four strategic objectives:

  • to promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work
  • to create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income
  • to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all
  • to strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.

To this end, we identify, package and disseminate the best thinking and practice concerning the world of work.

Our demand-driven training portfolio consists of courses in key work-related areas. In addition to courses whose repeated success has made them standards, we tailor existing courses to changing circumstances and requirements. We also design new courses and other learning events to meet specific needs and requests.

The Centre runs more than 350 courses for a total of around 8,000 people from over 170 countries each year.

We also use our expertise to offer back-up and advisory services, such as:

  • training needs analysis
  • project design
  • on-line information and advice
  • evaluation
  • follow-up

To reach more and more people, the Centre has designed a series of distance training programmes. Some of these are complemented by face-to-face sessions.

We also offer specific courses for training organizations that feel a need to improve their methodology and their technology in the field of distance learning.

The Centre is constantly developing its distance learning activities. Please consult their webpage regularly for updates at www.itcilo.org.

University of Victoria

The British Columbia Institute for Co-operative Studies (BCICS) is collaborating with the University of Victoria's Continuing Studies Department to offer practical and accessible courses on co-operatives and co-operative development.

Developed with financial support from the former B.C. Ministry for Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers, past courses include:

  • Cooperative Foundations (January 2004)
    This was a 14-week online course that provided an overview of the co-operative movement in Canada. It was designed for all people interested in co-operatives, from long-term co-op members to people new to the co-operative culture and movement. The  instructor was Dr. Ian MacPherson, Director of the BC Institute for Cooperative Studies, at the University of Victoria.

Please contact the Institute for current information about local and internet-based co-operative education via their website at www.bcics.coop.

Camosun College

Co-operatives for All: Membership is Ownership

Learn about the benefits and basic skills needed to become an informed member of a co-operative.

The Camosun College Continuing Education class "Introduction to Cooperatives" familiarizes participants on the personal and social benefits of the co-operative model through case study and class participation. Robert's Rules of Order are also introduced for future members interested in elected board of director positions.

Co-operatives are businesses that are owned and managed democratically by the members.

Co-operatives can be farms, housing, bike rental, hydro utility companies, retail stores, schools, credit unions - in fact, any group of people with a common dream can join together to create a co-operative. Co-op businesses of varying sizes have been formed throughout the world, beginning with the first retail co-operative created in 1844 by mill workers in Rochdale, England.

Peter Reardon, former teacher, and independent adult educator, leads this introductory class over six weeks. "I hope the course will encourage people to begin to appreciate the economic and social advantages they could enjoy as members of co-operatives," says Reardon. "I'm firmly committed to strengthening the co-op model through education and social involvement for individual and group action."

For more information, and course schedule please visit Camosun's website at www.camosun.ca.

Institut Supérieur Panafricain d'Economie Coopérative (ISPEC)

Activities:

  • Three (3) to five (5) year training leading to the position of senior executive in co-operative economy.
  • Eight (8) month specialization courses in
    • Management of indigenous development
    • Management of Co-operative development
    • Co-operative Entrepreneurship
  • Workshops or seminars sets of themes
  • Organization assistance for remote co-operatives and small trades
  • Production and publication consultation

Member States:  Benign, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Dimension of Ivory, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo, Zaire.

Primary Language of Instruction: French

Contact via web at www.ispec.bj

Swedish Co-operative Centre

The Swedish Co-operative Centre (SCC) was created by the Swedish Cooperative Movement in 1958. Through long-term development work and "help to self-help" we equip poor people with the tools needed to fight poverty themselves. Through advocacy work we strive to convince more people to take stand for a world free from poverty and injustice. Our projects are financed through fundraising and by Sida, the Swedish Agency for Development Cooperation.  For more information, visit www.sccportal.org.