Core Training- What can it do for you?

By now, you’re hopefully aware of ARA’s Core Training programme. Core Training launched in 2013 after ARA Training Group realised that there was an almost constant demand for training on core subjects such as Data Protection, Copyright, and Audience Engagement. Training Group developed and rolled out 8 courses initially; in addition to the 3 already mentioned, we also run Freedom of Information, Working with Volunteers, Electronic Records Management, and New and Refurbished Buildings. We also developed a Digital Preservation course, but we’re currently ‘resting’ this particular one whilst Preservica run their free workshops and webinars.


Core Training provides high quality, affordable and accessible training to all ARA members. All courses include a combination of presentations by knowledgable speakers and locally relevant case studies. We’ve also found that ‘999’ sessions, where delegates can bring issues and experiences from their own repositories and discuss them with the panel of speakers, to be extremely popular. We always ask for, and respond to, feedback after every course, so the course content is constantly evolving to meet member demand.

All Core Training courses are subsidised by ARA, meaning that we can bring you top-notch training at very reasonable prices. Prices obviously vary, depending on venue and things like speaker’s travel expenses, but so far we’ve been able to bring in every course for somewhere between £10-£45! All of the courses are open to non-members too, but are charged on a different scale, meaning that ARA members derive the maximum benefit from the course subsidy.

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Training Group aims to run each course at least twice a year – more if there’s exceptional demand for a particular subject – and we move the courses around the regions and nations, meaning that you should hopefully be able to get to one that’s reasonably nearby.

So far, response to Core Training has been excellent. The majority of courses have been well attended and feedback has been really positive. However, there’s a couple of other elements of Core Training that you might not be so aware of: Expressions of Interest and Free Places.

Expressions of Interest

Want to know when and where the next Core Training event on a particular subject will be taking place? Just complete the form at and email it to . You will be added to our waiting list, and notified on the next three occasions when that particular subject opens for booking. You can sign up for notifications for as many subjects as you like – all of them if you want! You can even tell us which city, region or nation you’d like to see the training take place in. If there’s enough demand from a particular area, we’ll try to send a course in your direction!

Free Places

Free Places does exactly what it says on the tin: we offer Free Places to ARA members on every Core Training course. Supported by ARA, we’re able to offer up to 3 Free Places and assistance with travel costs for every Core Training course. Free Places are open to all ARA members, and are reserved for every course, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on booking a space on popular courses whilst we process your application.

As students, trainees or newly qualified professionals, I’d hope that Free Places would be really beneficial to members of SfNP. You get access to high quality training plus an opportunity to network with other professionals. The scheme launched in 2013 but, so far, take up has been disappointingly low. In my role as treasurer for Training Group and administrator for the Free Places scheme, I’ve been asking around to try to find out why people aren’t applying for the scheme and have come across some common misconceptions, which I’m eager to dispel:

Q) ‘Isn’t there a really high demand for Free Places? I’ve never applied because I never thought I’d stand a chance’
A) No! Take up of Free Places is frustratingly low! Please, please do try applying – the worst thing we can say is no!

Q) ‘Oh, I wouldn’t apply for one of those; there must be people more deserving who need the Free Place more than me’
A) Again, no! We ask you to complete a short application form, explaining why you’d like a Free Place and, if there is someone ‘more deserving’ we’d offer them a place, but that shouldn’t put you off applying!

Q) ‘Why do I have to fill out an application form? I can’t be bothered to do that!’
A) Well, sorry to be blunt but, tough. Funding for Free Places comes from ARA central funds, so we’re essentially spending your membership subscriptions. Therefore we have to justify how the money has been spent. Getting all the applicants to fill out an application form also gives us the opportunity to assess all of the applicants side by side and decide who is ‘most deserving’ of a Free Place.

Q) ‘I’ve already received an ARA bursary to attend another event. Doesn’t that mean I can’t apply for a Free Place?’
A) Not necessarily. We’d like to ensure that as many ARA members benefit from the Free Places scheme as possible so, if you have been the recipient of a bursary in the past, it is possible that we would prioritise another application over yours but, again, don’t let this put you off applying.
The one exception to this is that you can’t apply for a Free Place and a Registration Scheme bursary for the same event.

Q) ‘I’d love to attend one of the Core Training events, but I can’t afford the travel costs’
A) We can help with that too! The Free Places scheme provides travel assistance for those attending Core Training events. Funds are limited, so we can’t guarantee that to meet you travel costs in full, but we can certainly help. Just provide us with a breakdown of your expenses on your application form, and we’ll see what we can do.

Q) ‘So let me get this clear, You’re offering me a Free Place, and help with my travel expenses? What’s the catch?’
A) Well, you could help us with a bit of publicity please! We do ask everyone who receives a Free Place if they would mind being contacted by Ann, our Publicity Officer, for a handy soundbite or two that we can use in future articles. Of course, if you want to help us further, say by live tweeting from the event, or writing up a blog later, we’d be even more grateful, but that’s entirely up to you.

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To apply for a Free Place go to for an application form. There’s additional guidance for applicants available there too. All adverts for Core Training events will include information on how many Free Places will be available and when the application deadline is.
To find out more about Core Training, go to , or you can follow us on Twitter at @TrainingARA
Hannah Jones
Secretary & Treasurer, ARA Training Group



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