This is the best training you will do in your working life, do it!” Strategic Planner, Open Space Environmental Management

Facilitation and conflict resolution skills

The Transforming Community Engagement masterclass is a skills-based training course that will equip you with the key facilitation and conflict resolution skills needed to transform your community engagement, co-design approach or multi-stakeholder partnership working. These essential skills are fundamental for anyone working with groups of people and seeking to improve the impact of their community engagement.

Some of the biggest challenges we face as a society involve complex, seemingly intractable social issues such as inter-generational poverty, homelessness, long-term unemployment, problem drug use, crime and community safety, declining health, environmental management, climate change, etc. To tackle these effectively we need to collaborate across sectors and engage people to participate in co-design. This inevitably means building, nurturing and managing multi-stakeholder partnerships.

There is a growing recognition that to do this effectively we need to engage communities in the co-design and development of solutions. To do this well, you need frameworks, skills and tools. Often conflicts arise during the community engagement process; how to manage those conflicts, work with divergent stakeholder groups and build towards positive outcomes is a critical tool in the toolkit of anyone working in and with communities or co-designing new solutions.

As co-design, partnership working, collective impact, collaboration and community development become more embedded as the way we do things then it is increasing important that practitioners, whether from government, the community, academia or business sectors are equipped with the essential skills they need to achieve greater impact.

Sydney, Tuesday 6 – Thursday 8 March 2018

About the masterclass

Think Impact has partnered with Planning Partnerships ( to bring this course to those working in complex social change across Australia. Focused initially on natural resource management the course has expanded to also provide frameworks, skills and tools that are useful across a wide range of areas including housing, disability, employment, community development, health, economic development, community education and financial resilience. The course builds on skills gained through IAP2. This is a three-day, intensive, practical master class that is designed for participants to:

  • Gain an understanding of the principles of community engagement. This will include an overview of co-design, community conversations, partnership frameworks and an introduction to impact-led design.
  • Develop active listening skills and effective intervention skills.
  • Analyse and observe group dynamics within a community engagement setting and learn how to carry out the role and function of facilitator.
  • Develop skills to manage the content and process of a group that improves participatory decision making.
  • Understand and analyse the different sources of conflict and develop skills to manage conflict constructively.
  • Get an overview of a set of effective community engagement tools.

“Excellent. Off the scale! Every minute was very worthwhile. I learnt so much about myself and others, as well as the skills of facilitation” Dept for Environment

Who is this course for?

This masterclass is specifically designed for those working in community engagement, multi-stakeholder partnerships and/or co-design. It focuses on skills development and will also equip you with new, cutting-edge frameworks and a broad set of tools to enable deeper facilitation of multi-stakeholder partnerships, community engagement, co-design approaches and conflict resolution. The course will be invaluable to you if you work:

  • On complex problems, with multiple stakeholders in the partnership
  • In a co-design or service-development role, facilitating multiple stakeholders through the process
  • In a public-sector-led area partnership, a place-based initiative or facilitating community conversations and stakeholder engagement
  • As part of, or are developing, a Collective Impact backbone initiative
  • In, or are new to, community engagement and have to carry out community consultation, build collaboration, engage stakeholders more effectively or strengthen community development
  • In a local council and want to improve the quality and impact of your community planning
  • On strategic planning, consultancy, partnership development or change management where community/stakeholder engagement is a core aspect of your role

How you will learn

All participants will gain new knowledge and skills that can be applied immediately to the work situation. The three days are practical and practice based. People learn in different ways and there is a mix of theoretical input, discussion, participatory exercises and group work using case material related to work environments. Coaching, feedback and comprehensive study materials are provided.

“Great training experience. Learnt a lot in three days. Felt safe to make mistakes, thanks to the facilitators.” Community Development Manager, Uniting

Accreditation & Assessment (optional)

This course is accredited nationally as the unit ‘Manage Conflict’ in the Diploma of Government. You can choose to be assessed for the unit. On successful completion of the assessment, a Statement of Attainment will be issued by the Centre for People Development, a national Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Assessment is undertaken through participation in the course, worksheets completed after the course and practical demonstration of your skills in the work place. Detailed information about the assessment requirements will be given to those who wish to be assessed.

Your trainers

Kevin Robbie is a Director at Think Impact. He has over 25 years experience in social innovation, partnership development, community development, social enterprise start-up and impact measurement. He was most recently the CEO of United Way Australia where he led the organisation through the development of an impact-led strategic plan and embedded a community development focus to their work. Prior to that he was the Executive Director with Social Ventures Australia (SVA) for seven years. At SVA, Kevin was responsible for leading their social innovation approaches, identifying, designing and developing new solutions to complex social issues alongside establishing a number of multi-stakeholder partnerships. Kevin is from the UK and has held a number of senior management roles, including seven years as Chief Executive of Forth Sector, which was based and operated in one of the most disadvantaged communities in Scotland. He has also been seconded as a special adviser to the UK Government Cabinet Office.

Emily Synnott is a freelance facilitator and consultant. She has deep experience managing complex partnerships and engaging communities with over 18 years of working in the not-for-profit sector, for government and as a consultant. Most recently Emily was Project Director at the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) where she headed up key strategic multi-stakeholder projects focused on transforming the way government, industry and community sectors view and engage with young people to rethink systems that shape the world. Over her six years at FYA, Emily brought to life projects that offered young people opportunities to succeed in life which aren’t traditionally offered through education. Before joining FYA, Emily spent time in the Victorian Government and 11 years in the UK working in both Policy and Strategy for the UK Government and as a consultant. Key areas of work included extensive evaluation of government employment initiatives, the redesign of civil legal aid delivery across the UK and working with the judiciary to transition Social, Health and Welfare appeals policy into the new Tribunals Service.

“Great Course. Not just the content, but the way it was run. It is very interactive and engaging.” Dept Environment and Sustainability

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