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Reflections.......... on Training and Friday meets. What's the impact?

Update for January - co-production and Thoughts linked to The Friday Group Meet on the 27.1.16. 


Since my last blog I have been on a workshop all about co-production – Slides from the workshop attached.  

 Although the workshop looked at how co-production is used and works within our local NHS services, and the role service users participate the same theory can be applied to us and our projects.  Running the session was a prime example - it was run as a co-produced session by a member of the NHS team and a service user.

The attendees were made up of a combination of people – service users who wanted to find out more about getting involved and having a say on how NHS provision is run alongside providers and educators, so a real mixed group.

We had discussions around what we thought co-production meant to each of us and how co-production could be used in each of our areas – for me it is about getting learners back to help support future courses – or have them join our service user steering group and provide opinions on advertising and the provision we have offered.

We explored the benefits and the challenges to using co-production within our different areas with the benefits far outweighing the challenges.

We were able to hear first-hand how service users / learners feel about being involved in decision making, taking part, feeling as though they are listened to and how when this happens the positive effects it has on a person’s well-being and recovery.

Although in the session there was a 50 /50 split of male and female attendees, all the males who attended worked within the NHS service or for the recovery college who ran the session, the person who co-produced the session was female as were many of the other attendees. None of the service users who attended were male.

This prompted me to ask the person running the session for his opinion on this and asked him what he thought about advertising and areas we should focus on to help us reach a wider audience, with a view to attracting more men to our courses.


This was his response:

He said from his experience he had found men needed a far more direct means of engagement, with clear learning outcomes and objectives.  He said he had much more success involving men on workshops and projects that are practical or vocational in nature. A few examples he gave were: A first aid course, rather than a seminar on recovery.  He mentioned that practical topics seemed to appeal to men whatever the reason when it has a ‘useful’ skill involved, when it is a course that they can complete and have immediate new skills taught directly to them, as opposed to it being an open forum or enlightening discussion.  So quite similar to the points raised in the online zoom meeting we had Friday.

The following response is what was said to me as an opinion as to perhaps why men are harder to engage with than women –   “It seems many of us have the same problem in attracting men, it was put forward to me that there are lots of reasons in my opinion why it is so much harder to attract men on any training workshops/development courses.   However, I think a main reason is still, in the work place being male is seen as an advantage, there’s very much still gender bias happening in the professional setting and in our culture in general. As a result men are far less likely to consider that they may need extra support or training and women feel they need that extra training as an edge or to bring them onto level standing. It’s a shame this still happens and it is an odd dynamic.

So, I’d like your opinions on is this, what are your feelings on this point?   Do you agree, or totally disagree - have you another thought?


During our last steering group with service users one of those in attendance was a man, and as a result we changed a couple of our titles, as he said this would not appeal to him, just to see if the response would differ. So let us see if we have any luck.

As mentioned in the Friday meeting I sort advice on the advertising of a course we were offering in partnership with our local football team, from some of our male colleagues to their thoughts and feelings on what had been produced. As a result the wording was changed quite substantially.  This is actually being reviewed again currently, as feedback we have had from those interested thought if they joined the course they could help a friend. See link 

Following on from Friday I think I need to look at further ways to see if there are any other practical based courses we can offer.

One of our biggest challenges is the fact that from the session yesterday the general consensus was to use male tutors. Although we do have a couple delivering for us, this I feel is an area we need to expand further




Fiona Marriner's picture

Tracey, thank you for sharing this with us. It was really good to see the thoughts and insights from your trainer which are, interrestingly, in line with a current engagement we've got going with our local volunteer centre, who manage two of Kent's Men's Sheds. We've been talking about what the men would like to do and they are very keen to be able to combine their woodwork skills learning with health and safety for DIY. Watch this space, as we hope to be rolling it out around Easter!

Tracey's picture

Sounds a really interesting project let me know how it goes.  We had a out door type of courses lined up but had very little interest - Part of me thinks it was timing - but you naver can tell. - Im hopeing we might be able to re- offer it in the summer term.