Enrolments are open for the 2016 Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy – Australia’s most comprehensive social change qualification. This is an excellent opportunity for change agents to deepen their skills and knowledge through a unique accredited course.

The Graduate Certificate draws on the latest knowledge about effective campaigning as well as established theoretical frameworks for understanding and promoting social justice and ecological sustainability.

Participants will be supported to develop practical skills in planning campaigns, influencing decision-makers, using media, developing active memberships, building effective organisations and much more. The course gives students the opportunity to reflect on their work (paid or unpaid), think deeply about how social change occurs, and undertake practical planning that can be translated into real world outcomes.

This advanced course was developed to meet current grassroots campaigning needs by a panel including environmental activists, media consultants, human rights lawyers and NGO representatives. Curriculum has been developed by experienced campaigners and educators including Holly Hammond, Director of Plan to Win.

The program is delivered by experienced practitioners and guest experts in seminars aimed to inspire lively debate and critical discussion. Many contemporary campaign case studies are reviewed as part of the course, and students are encouraged to apply lessons to their own projects.

The course is made up of four units:

  1. Theories of social change (February-March)
  2. Community organising (May-June)
  3. Organisational dynamics (July-August)
  4. Effective communication techniques (September-October)

Each unit includes six days of classes, held on Fridays and Saturdays in central Melbourne. The course commences with an introductory session in mid February and concludes with a review session in November 2016.

Australian citizens are eligible for VET-FEE Help loans for the tuition fee – further fee details here.

For further details attend the information session:

  • 5:30pm-6:30pm Thursday 28 January, 365 Queen St Melbourne

If you are interested in this course please click the ‘Enquire Now’ button on this page so we can keep you in the loop. Contact holly(AT)plantowin.net.au if you have queries about the course content, or stephen.fisher(AT)chisholm.edu.au for queries about enrolment and fees.

What former students are saying about the Graduate Certificate…

After two decades of activism I wanted to become a more effective campaigner so I enrolled in Chisholm Institute’s Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy class of 2015.

After 30 years away from the class room I was both nervous and excited about returning to study. It turns out the only thing I needed to be nervous about was the workload and my ability/willingness to schedule enough time for study.

The course teachers Kathleen, Holly and Stephen are very knowledgeable, engaging and supportive.

The course content covers a lot of ground from group dynamics, understanding theories and building sustainable organisations, to strategy development, coalition building and communications. There are many theories and perspectives to consider and much of the course time is devoted to getting hands on experience putting some of those theories into practice.

Spending time with people who all want to change the world is so inspiring and the range of experiences my fellow students brought to the table was amazing. We learned as much from each other as we did from our teachers. At the end of the course I feel as though my eyes have been opened a little more and I have a lot more references to draw on when developing campaign strategy and messages.

Leanne Shingles, Digital Campaigner, ACTU

This course has helped me steer my career in a new direction – I now have a full-time job as a community organiser and have brought the learnings from every class into my job to make it more effective.

The teachers have a wealth of experience in all sorts of areas, and have provided a wide variety of case studies and inside knowledge. Every student has had the opportunity to discuss their passion projects and get advice from the whole class. Special guests have given us extra insight into how other people have achieved great things.

I’ve loved the flexible study arrangements and appreciated that in a practical sense the course has been tailored to the busy and transient nature of social change work.

I’ve made friends and new connections with people working in climate, unions, health, from other countries and more. It’s been amazing to see how this course has been useful for people both experienced and new to campaigning, and from such a variety of different interests.

Adele Neale, Community Organiser, Environment Victoria

After 12 years as a union organiser for 3 different unions in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A I made a new years resolution to study in 2014 and fortuitously stumbled on the Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy. I felt it was just the antidote I needed to bolster my reserves to deal with the election of the a conservative coalition government federally, whilst also refreshing my skills in my field.

The course has turned out to be the best professional development training I have been lucky enough to do in my field as an activist and organiser. Holly and the team have structured the course to cover the best organising and campaigning techniques and frameworks from local and international leaders and case studies.

I have been able to directly apply many of the frameworks and ideas to my work, and have utilised assessments to undertake work related planning. The course has helped me to design and develop new activist training, use better planning frameworks and facilitation techniques, and undertake more effective mentoring of union delegates. Generally I have gained a new motivation and resilience for the work that I do!

The course is suited to people just starting out and those with years of experience who want to learn new things. You learn as much from the structured lessons as you do from other participants. I thoroughly recommend this course.

Eleisha Mullane, former Lead Organiser, Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance

I have found Chisholm Institute’s Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy to be very comprehensive and extremely useful. As a long time climate activist I found it to be a very good mix of theory and practice. There were lots of opportunities to share ideas with other community activists working for a better world. We were exposed to a wide variety of materials and resources which will stay a valuable part of my activist toolkit. I cannot recommend it enough!

Tony Gleeson, Frack Free Geelong

I completed the Chisholm Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy in 2014. Since I’ve started the course I’ve had folks compliment me on how much better I facilitate meetings, and how enjoyable training workshops I’ve held have been. I was also approached by an interstate campaign for advice about strategy development.

Ian Mack, climate activist

This is the best and most comprehensive campaign training available in Melbourne at this level. Over the whole year we learn to create successful campaigns and communications strategies, along with underlying political theory. The course has many useful examples and we can see that many of us have advanced in our own work as activists and community organisers. It is deeply satisfying to be given the tools to rebuild community and pursue progressive agendas against vested interests. We also learn to build the group as a cooperative and supportive learning container, and therefore to learn how to develop others and create social movements that can achieve change.

Sally Newell, climate activist

This course gave me a solid grounding in the theory and practice of community organising, at a time in Australia where we have a strategic opportunity to support communities who want to take back their power. I found the content inspiring and challenging, and the structure of the classes left plenty of room for discussion and reflection on current community movements and campaigns.

Emma Richardson, community legal activist