Voluntary and Community / Third Sector

Of our 200+ centres, over 74 are from this sector – from large organisations like the WEA to local groups like the Goodwin Development Trust in Hull, the Swarthmore Centre in Leeds to infrastructure bodies like Voluntary Action Sheffield. All contribute to the diversity of learning that we accredit and have made a significant impact on how learning is assessed and evidenced through the network.


We have a long history of work at both a strategic and operational levels with the voluntary and community sector (VCS) membership.

We are represented on the Board of INVOLVE (Yorkshire and Humber Regional Forum ), in consortia development, national initiatives with NIACE  and with local BME learning networks and other learning forum.

We are particularly aware of the need to keep informed of national and regional policy steers and changes in funding and contracting arrangements. We outline some current activities but recognise learning and accreditation opportunities in a range of contexts including:

  • The changing priorities of the Lottery
  • Community development and organising, decision making and the role of the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • 'voice' initiative - for learners, patients, prisoners
  • Work with  Third Sector skills bodies

We are committed to developing collaboration, peer learning, network and consortia development. VCS organisations’ voices are represented by their staff on the Certa Board.

Click here to see Qualifications suitable for Voluntary and Community / Third Sector.


Youthtrain has worked with Certa (formerly OCNYHR) for over 15 years and throughout this time we have worked closely with the Certa team to develop programmes and new units of accreditation and now Qualifications to suit the specific needs of our learners. Youthtrain works with young people and adults in a wide range of settings and informal learning situations. The majority of Youthtrain participants are disadvantaged and for many reasons have become disengaged from mainstream education. Much of Youthtrain's work with learners focuses on re-engaging them in learning, by focusing on their voluntary experiences and accrediting the skills and knowledge gained through their participation in youth and community activities. Certa accreditation suits learners with few formal qualifications, who prefer Youthtrain’s informal and accessible training delivery. The flexibility of Certa Qualifications makes them more viable for community and voluntary organisations to provide in-house, as they can be delivered to learners individually or in small groups at a pace and level which suits their needs. Many of Youthtrain’s learners have had previous negative experiences of learning, which results in a lack of self-esteem and confidence in the learning environment. Being able to offer flexible and often ‘bite-sized’ accredited courses, which are relevant to their needs, allows them to engage in learning that both interests and involves them. For many such learners, building a portfolio of evidence for assessment is a first experience and as such is an experience which gives them a great sense of achievement. The resulting increase in self-esteem and self-belief often helps learners to progress into further and higher education, or other career choices they had not previously thought possible.

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