AGCAS has had a long history of providing high quality professional training for its members.
However, until the 1990s, this training was not accredited in any way and the performance of
participants was not formally assessed.
In February 1991, six universities were approached to submit proposals to AGCAS to provide a framework of professional qualifications for staff. These qualifications would incorporate some of the training already being offered, but also extend it to provide comprehensive professional training for new and established staff.
Following a series of meetings, AGCAS members at the 1991 Biennial Conference accepted the University of Reading's proposal and 1992-3 was the first year of operation for the qualifications. The university, initially and at regular intervals ever since, subjects the qualification and its modules to rigorous scrutiny through its validating process.
The qualifications have always been 'in-service' qualification with largely work-based assignments. However, there have been numerous developments, including:
1996: Mapping against NVQ standards
1997: Introduction of the MA
1998: Restructuring of the Certificate and Diploma with new core modules and the introduction of further module choices
1999: Change of title to Careers Education, Information and Guidance in HE (CEIG HE) to reflect the range of routes through the qualification for staff with different roles within the service
2002: Successful University of Reading faculty course review
2004: Launch of the Post Graduate Diploma in CEIG HE as the professional standard
2006: Qualification moved to the School of Continuing Education within the University of Reading
2007: Upgrade to a Post Graduate Certificate in CEIG HE as the entry level qualification
2008: Introduction of an additional qualification, the Post Graduate Diploma in Managing Student Work Experience (MSWE)
The qualifications will continue to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they reflect good practice and provide high quality professional training for practitioners in HE career services.
AGCAS works with the University of Reading to promote, administer and deliver the qualifications. This role is primarily undertaken by the AGCAS Training and Development Group, the Professional Development Co-ordinator on the AGCAS Board and by the AGCAS Training Staff Team.
The responsibilities of AGCAS include:
- promotion of the qualifications to prospective students
- identification of the learning outcomes in conjunction with the University
- development of new modules in conjunction with the University
- training and appointment of trainers
- delivery of the taught element (residential and short courses) of all modules except those followed through distance learning
- recruitment of students on to agreed modules and communicating the status of students to the University
- implementing appropriate quality assurance mechanisms
- recommending changes to modules and/or the qualifications in line with changes in practice
- development of networks that are appropriate for the support of students
- participating in a Board of Studies. (The Board, chaired by the Head of the University Department, meets twice a year. It is composed of three representatives from the University and four AGCAS representatives. The role of the Board is to develop policy and monitor, evaluate and review the qualifications.)
The qualifications offered are within the School of Continuing Education.
The responsibilities of the University include:
- establishment of admission criteria and selecting students for the qualifications
- setting Advanced Standing criteria
- identification of learning outcomes in conjunction with AGCAS
- overseeing the development of new modules in conjunction with AGCAS
- approving internal examiners and appointing external examiners
- setting assessment targets and providing assessment
- awarding qualifications to students who have fulfilled the requirements as set down in the calendar
- conducting reviews of modules and qualifications in conjunction with AGCAS, and recommending changes
- participating in the Board of Studies
- providing staffing necessary for the efficient administration of the qualifications
- providing advice and academic support to students
- designing and delivering the distance learning modules