Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) has two 100% single bed hospitals at Ebbw Vale and Ystrad Mynach. While being highly effective at reducing the spread of infection and providing patients with peace, quiet and privacy, some patients can feel lonely or isolated.
GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations) set up a flagship collaboration with the Health Board to tackle the issue: The Sunflower Project. We are evaluating progress of the project as it harnesses the time and energy of volunteers to befriend and provide a more stimulating environment for patients.
More information on the project can be found at http://www.gavowales.org.uk/sunflower-project
One of the joys of a project-based business is that you never know what the next assignment might be or when it will come along. We are grateful to our clients that 2015 has started well for us.
Bangor University has appointed us to undertake an evaluation of the CADARN Skills Centre on behalf of themselves and their partners Aberystwyth, Glyndwr and the Open Universities. This contributes to our growing portfolio of evaluation projects, an area of particular strength for us.
Our work with Higher Education Institutions will not be stopping at the Welsh border. We are excited to be working with Swindon and Wiltshire LEP in support of their innovative City Deal venture. We will be providing advice on working with HE partners as they attract universities to deliver courses within the county to address a growing need for highly skilled individuals. Even a cursory look at the employers in Wiltshire would leave no one in any doubt that Wiltshire is a county to watch for R&D growth.
We are also excited to be joined by a new associate this month. Bethan Emanuel is a first language Welsh speaker and will enhance our evaluation project capabilities in Wales and beyond.
All in all, a very interesting and exciting start to the year!
The Association for Project Management (APM) has just published an e-book on Coaching in the Project Environment. We are delighted that the 20 Degrees team contributed significantly to this publication. Alun, started the initial blog discussions around the topic and identified the team of contributors for the e-book. Miles wrote the opening chapter.
The e-book is a free resource, openly available via the APM website. We strongly recommend you take this opportunity to explore coaching and decide whether it can help you.
We seem to be developing a niche in evaluating projects working with minority groups. One such evaluation that we are working on at the moment is the Minorities are Wales' Resource (MAWRII) project.
Talking to people about the way project partners and relatively simple training interventions have changed their lives has been both interesting and humbling. We've heard of conditions in some other countries that shock. We've heard from people with a demonstrably strong work ethic.
Perhaps the level of political debate on immigration to the UK would benefit from a wider hearing of what motivates economic migration and what those migrants are willing to offer their adopted country. Certainly, we'd all benefit from more evidence-based policy making rather than tabloid sensationalism.
Coaching has been recognised for many years as a key mechanism for embedding skills learned through a training programme. Less attention has been given to coaching in the project environment.
Alun and Miles contributed to the debate by organising a coaching taster event for the Association of Project Management (APM) An extract from the APM's Network July 2014 newsletter highlights the benefits of even a single 45 minute session for participants.
Even if meeting a coach is time or cost prohibitive, one option is to engage in coaching via a web conferencing mechanism such as Skype. As the participants in this taster session found, it can be worth a relatively small investment.
We are delighted to be able to offer PRINCE2 foundation and practitioner courses. This extends our project management offer, building on the training activity we have been undertaking with organisations such as North Somerset Council and DAS.
As Alun, one of our directors put it, 'All of our work is undertaken in a project context. The ability to offer PRINCE2 courses was a logical step in our development. Given our other director, Miles, has been a PRINCE2 trainer since 2003, it was an obvious addition to our portfolio'.
PRINCE2 is a registered trademark of AXELOS Ltd. APMG-International is an Examination Institute for PRINCE2. USW Commercial Services Ltd is an Accredited Training Organisation of APMG-International. 20 Degrees Consulting Ltd is an Affiliate of USW Commercial Services Ltd.
It is always a challenge trying to find time to write. We're all so busy all the time. That certainly applies to us.
We are in the intensive, final stage of analysing and writing up an evaluation of the Meic service. This is the Welsh Government commissioned advocacy and advice service for children and young people in Wales. We've learned a huge amount about advocacy during this assignment and have been really impressed by the work being undertaken by a range of advocacy providers. The case studies from children and young people have sometimes brought a tear to the eye but really tell the story of lives being turned around for the better.
That idea of support for the vulnerable pervades another assignment on which we are working. This time the client is Caerphilly County Borough Council on behalf of the Local Service Board. We're evaluating a project on how information is shared between agencies such as the Council, Police Force, Health Board and voluntary sector organisations. To understand the importance of this work, you only need to think back to the last news item about the abuse of a young person leading to their death. So often it is concluded that the abuse may have been picked up and the death prevented if the various agencies had shared information appropriately.
Time to go now as there's lots to do. There's a presentation to prepare for the ColegauCymru conference sharing the findings of our recent study into international engagement of FE Colleges in Wales. Our friends at Swansea University want us to start another piece of work for them...so it's all good!
If you or a member of your family is under 25 and lives in Wales, here is a chance to win £15 of Amazon vouchers simply for them filling in a short survey. There are 3 sets of vouchers to be won. The survey relates to a piece of work we are doing for Welsh Government about MEIC: the national advocacy, advice and information service for children and young people in Wales (www.meiccymru.org). You don't even need to have used MEIC or even to have heard of it. Good luck.
Click here to take the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MeicEvaluation
Some weeks go better than others. We've just had a great one.
The launch of our 'effectiveness' programme of courses has gone as well as we expected. It is good to see people booking on to these short courses. The Effective Project Delivery course looks particularly popular.
This week also saw us winning a contract with a new client - more of that when the contract has been signed. However, that wasn't the only good news. We presented the Strategic Review of Disability Wales to their board on Wednesday. That was a really interesting piece of work and a genuinely impressive organisation. They've certainly won a couple of converts from this organisation to the 'social model of disability.' So, it was with immense pleasure that we accepted an invitation to work with them again on another project.
All in all, a great week. If next week is like this, the excitement from 20 Degrees will be heard for miles around!
Training courses require investments of time and money. They need to make an impact. They need to generate a return on investment.
Our new 'Effectiveness' training programme for Spring 2014 focus on skills that make a difference. Change is all around us. We need to be able to deal with change and lead through change. The benefits intended at the outset of a project need to be delivered. With this is mind we've developed our Effectivess training series.
Effective Change Management 20th March or 2nd June
Effective Project Delivery 16th April or 5th June
Effective Leadership Skills 17th April or 6th June
We are grateful to Broomfield and Alexander, the largest independent firm of accountants in Wales, for their support in offering these courses.