ACA Away Day 2020

For years, we have facilitated Away Days for, Boards, leadership teams, departments and whole organisations. A notable shift happened after 2008 as austerity took hold. Everything was under greater scrutiny in terms of
purposefulness and value for money – actual or perceived.

Even the term Away Day was changed to ‘Development Day’, for fear of sounding too frivolous or lightweight. Yet in reality, the best development programmes need a mix of lightness and light-heartedness to make the whole programme more palatable and effective.

This was the same for our first company Away Day, which was fabulous. We began with dinner for the support team and trainers and reflected on the past year and played True True False. It was great to have an opportunity to be together without pressures of time and tasks, and to learn more about each other. Building these relationships is so important, as over the year we depend on each other in so many ways. Part of an Away day is to enhance the trust that helps us perform better as a whole functioning team.

The next day at Hughes’ Hall, Cambridge was devoted to enriching our practice whatever our role; to learn new things; run through programmes to ensure consistency; make adjustments wherever improvements are needed in
programme content or logistical operations. It was a wonderful time as we shared ideas and helpful tips, spoke openly about where we were struggling, and generally gave and received support. Again, as in the evening before, one of the highlights was a whole session on energisers and ice-breakers. We learn
well when play and laughter is in the mix.

For me, after 25 years of working in training and development, what strikes me is how much we need each other. Others are more skilled with deeper understanding that I can pick up, not least to avoid getting stuck in a comfortable rut of ‘same old, same old’, which is a classic pitfall of experienced facilitators. The wider team bring technological, logistical and administrative skills that we utterly depend on, yet can all absorb to some extent and make everyone’s lives easier.

It was a very encouraging Away Day and we look forward to all that 2020 will bring and to working closely with well-established and also new clients.

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Fantastic course [Motivational Interviewing]! Totally relevant, understandable, practical and interesting. I look forward to using the skills and tools I learned. I was particularly impressed with Alasdair Cant. He is a brilliant trainer, knowledgeable, patient, engaging and clearly skilled at facilitating groups ensuring fun and learning.

Youth Justice Worker