Training for European Non-financial Information Analysts
Successful Prototype Courses with Participants from Six EU Countries
After almost 2 years of researching, exchanging experience, developing content, methods and tools for the “Curriculum for Further Education of European Non-financial Information Analysts” (CENOFIA) the products from the ERASMUS+ strategic partnership were finally put to practice in two prototype courses. Twenty participants from six EU countries took part in these first trainings, all with very different backgrounds, qualification profiles and previous experience in the analysis of non-financial information reports (NFIR). Among them were technical staff from trade unions who have been analysing NFIR for several years and consultants who are specialized in the analysis of annual management reports, but also staff from an employer organisation or branch trade unions who had never carried out analysis before. While the heterogeneity of the group was one of the major challenges in designing the prototype courses, it also allowed drawing conclusions for various target groups. The evaluation process therefore yielded a real value added for the further adjustment of the open educational resources that will result from the CENOFIA project.
Paving the Way for Structured and Comparable Analysis
The first course “Introduction to analysis of non-financial information reporting in context of labour relations” from 13. - 15. June 2018 in Madrid laid out the basic principles of NFIR and introduced participants to the analysis tools developed in the project as well as the analysis methods they support. On the last day of the course the participants formed project teams in which they continued to work during the summer, at least one trainer supported each project team. This way the members of project teams deepened their understanding of NFIR and carried out a first analysis, at the same time they tested the tools for bugs. In telephone conferences and where possible presence meetings they reflected the progress on the team targets they had outlined in an agreement during the course.
Applying and Practicing Analysis Skills Continuously
In the second course “Advanced analysis of non-financial information reporting and formulating social audits” from 10. - 12. September 2018 in Florence, the project teams presented the results from their summer work and gave a feedback on the functioning of the tools. All project teams, regardless of their level of previous experience, were able to present meaningful results. The discussion of their findings and work process helped to identify general problems in the analysis of NFIR and opened three days of intense work on practical issues of analysis. The goal of the second course was to provide participants with skills to start writing ‘social audits’ or improve the quality of ones that they had started to draft. In addition to advanced input and exercises on key issues in NFIR, as for example materiality, stakeholder inclusiveness and key performance indicators, an introduction to scientific writing and an argumentation training aimed to sensitize for quality standards in ‘social audits’. The course concluded with an elaboration on dissemination plans for analysis results.
The feedback after the second course was consistently positive and provided further insights for developing the open educational resources for future analysts and trainers. All results from the evaluation of the two trainings will be used to finalize the materials. A first glance at the online platform gave an idea how these final products will be made available beyond the duration of the CENOFIA project.
Moreover, there are some immediate effects resulting from the training activities. Some of the participants with previous experience will in future use the tools to structure their analysis process and one is already planning trainings based on elements from CENOFIA.