Distance Travelled Tool
The Department of Rural and Community Development and Pobal have been developing a Distance Travelled Tool specifically for the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018 – 2022 as a joint initiative.
Called My Journey: A Distance Travelled Tool, the tool will support SICAP clients to identify priority areas for their personal and professional development and will improve the recording of soft outcomes.
Soft outcomes are capacities that an individual gains on the way to achieving a goal (or hard outcome) which can be objectively validated. The journey for an individual with multiple forms of disadvantage towards a hard outcome such as completing formal education or getting a job can take years rather than months and often these gains go unrecorded. This tool will measure the successes accrued in areas relating to confidence, literacy and numeracy, communication skills, connecting with others and goal setting.
The process requires SICAP clients to answer a number of questions relating to where they are at a particular point in time in relation to certain soft skills, and can be completed multiple times to allow for changes to be recorded.
An exciting and innovative project, the end product will be a fully validated instrument and unique in an Irish context. The tool will be a practical means to support SICAP delivery and will also contribute to international and national learning on how to record soft outcomes for more marginalised cohorts of people.
Quality Matters, with support from Trinity College Dublin, is working with the Department and Pobal to provide consultancy and research services and have developed a robust four phase project methodology.
The project has prioritised consultation with the SICAP delivery bodies, Local Development Companies, to ensure it is bottom-up and reflects the reality of client engagement and community development work.
A successful tool is reliant on being able to deliver for clients as well as being informed by the experience and expertise of Local Development Company frontline staff. A national seminar to introduce the project to the sector and get initial feedback was held in September 2018.
The My Journey: A Distance Travelled Tool process has been one of collaboration and peer learning. An inter-agency Steering Group, which brings together a diverse range of expertise, has guided the process; Local Development Companies, Local Community Development Committees, government departments and state agencies, and organisations and individuals with experience of soft outcome tools are represented.
The tool is being piloted in two phases; the first phase was for the purposes of statistical and validation checks, while the second phase will help to inform the guidelines for implementation and delivery of the tool. Phase one piloting has been completed and the tool surpassed the statistical requirements for validation. The 15 Local Development Companies which volunteered to be part of the piloting are working to test the tool and explore how it could best be implemented and co-create training materials.The tool is expected to be rolled out nationally in early 2020.
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