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Community Action and Leadership Award

Last updated:
30 May 2017

What is this?

​The Community Action and Leadership Award (SCQF level 3 and 5) is a course created by the charity Lead Scotland so that more people can learn how to influence change and make a difference within their communities.

Who is this for?

Learners who want to:

  • gain transferable skills, such as communication, literacies, digital skills, socialisation, active citizenship, volunteering and employability skills;
  • know themselves better and how they relate to other people;
  • learn how to work as part of a team on projects which will make a difference to their community;
  • give something back to their community, and have a voice about what happens within communities;

Link to resource

Web link: Community Action and Leadership Award home page

YouTube video: Community Action and Leadership Award

​Explore this resource

What is the Community Action and Leadership Award?

Each Community Action and Leadership Award (CALA) course is different. Learners identify and work on goals and choose a project to develop their active citizenship skills. Projects have ranged from: holding a fair trade event, organising a bake sale, and making a video about designing learning opportunities for people with additional support needs.

Who is it for?

The programme was developed to enable disabled people and carers to be able to influence change and make a difference in their communities as active citizens. However, the course is flexible and can be tailored to various groups since on each course, participants set their own personal goals and agree on a community project.

How is it delivered?

The Community Action and Leadership Course (SCQF level 3 or level 5; 16 credits) is delivered using the SCOPE model approach (Socialisation, Communication, Opportunities, Progression and Effective contribution to our local Community).

The learning programme takes about 20 weeks face -o-face and is made up of four units:

  • Self -Awareness and Identity;
  • Active Citizenship;
  • Promoting Inclusion;
  • Influencing Change.

SCQF level 3 fits with Stage 2 provision of Skills Development Scotland’s pipeline.

Where is it delivered?

Already successfully delivered to nearly 160 candidates, the course has been delivered within schools, youth groups, a special education college, in a prison environment, at venues of community learning and other voluntary organisations.

What has the impact been?

People who have completed  the course have benefited in a variety of ways. Impact statements show learners have developed greater confidence, self awareness, a better understanding of their community, improved entrepreneurial skills and improved team working skills.

A group of young carers who recently completed the course in Dingwall said the course boosted their confidence and helped them work in a team.

They made an impact on their local community by organising and holding a bake sale which raised awareness and money for Connecting Young Carers. They also developed media skills, writing a press release for their local newspaper (which resulted in further voluntary donations from the public), designing publicity for the event and creating and editing a video about the course.

One learner, who was not in education or employment, moved on to college as a result of her improved confidence and skills. She has also been offered an unconditional place to study media at Glasgow College.

Learners were able to attain a formal qualification and also achieve their 25 hour Saltire Award in the process.

What role have partner organisations played?

Partner organisations and learners have participated in evaluations of the course. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the bespoke nature of the qualification has been particularly attractive.

Effective partnerships have been developed with various organisations throughout Moray and Highland. This has been done through close networking and relationship building at local Adult Learning Partnerships.

Partner organisations have helped identify suitable individuals, make referrals and support course participants through their learning journey. This has been essential to ensure success and retention.

In one example, a partner organisation, Connecting Young Carers, identified a group of suitable young people who would benefit from being more engaged in their community.

Several of these young people had negative experiences of school, had left with no qualifications, and were struggling to juggle their caring commitments with studying.

The CALA course gave them the opportunity to develop confidence and core skills including: group working, ICT and multi-media, communication and organisational skills, and provided pathways to further education and employment.

Improvement questions

  • How do we develop employability skills of young adults disengaged from school?
  • How do we ensure young carers can engage in learning?
  • What impact does learning of this kind have on the local community?


Community Development; Employability and Skills; Third Sector; Inclusion and Equality; Learning and assessment

​Related links

Lead Scotland