BRIDGE TtF returns to Melbourne

28 February 2012

Ten years after the first BRIDGE TtF workshop was conducted, the 80th TtF was held in Melbourne from 6 to 17 February 2012. It has been more than 3½ years since the last TtF workshop was held in Australia and it was pleasing to see it back to where it all started.

This TtF was seen as important for a number of reasons. It was the first joint funded TtF workshop between the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and is a wonderful example of the strong collaborative partnership between the two organisations. Previously the VEC and AEC had worked together in the delivery of the Introduction to Electoral Administration module in August 2011.

Secondly, the number of potential BRIDGE facilitators in Australia has once again been increased. This is timely, given the departure of a number of experienced facilitators over the last few years.

The workshop was held at the impressive VEC offices in Collins Street, Melbourne. Twenty participants, eight from the VEC and twelve from across the AEC participated in the workshop.

The facilitation team comprised of the following AEC staff:

• Ross Attrill (Lead Facilitator)

• Daniela Capaccio-Lauw (Co-Facilitator)

• Bassam Alyaseri (Co-Facilitator)

• David Zeplin (Co-Facilitator)

For the three co-facilitators, it was the first time conducting a TtF workshop and an important milestone in their journey to become an accrediting facilitator. Their reflections from the workshop were:

“It was wonderful to see how far BRIDGE has evolved, having been a participant of the first TtF 10 years ago. To be involved in the BRIDGE curriculum and methodology is an amazing learning experience and this TtF provided that and a whole lot more.” Daniela Capaccio-Lauw

“Looking back over the two stimulating and inspiring weeks of the Melbourne TtF course gives me a great deal of pride and satisfaction. Given that my previous employment was with the VEC I feel pride at the quality of each and every one of the participants from the AEC and the VEC, and satisfaction at having been part of one of the best structured, most adult-focused training regimes I have ever had the privilege of being involved in. This makes a welcome change from recent training I have endured. I am eager to extend my experience in the area of BRIDGE as it has so much to offer, both participants and facilitators” David Zeplin

“In the last few months I have been involved in a couple of BRIDGE workshops for AEC & VEC staff. I was delighted to again be part of the facilitation team and to share with the participants what I have learnt from BRIDGE over the years. I was impressed by presentation skills of participants and the enthusiasm they showed towards the BRIDGE curriculum.” Bassam Alyaseri

The TtF workshop is an intensive 10 day program. It is fast-paced and highly interactive, intended to reflect the experiences of facilitating a BRIDGE module. After an exhausting 10 days of theory, learning facilitation techniques, facilitating, providing feedback, writing material, facilitating again, the participants received their certificates and have embarked on a journey of becoming accredited BRIDGE facilitators.

The supportive environment of this workshop was an inspiring experience with each participant encouraged to achieve beyond their personal expectations (and they did!). The standard of the participants was excellent and it is reassuring to know that Australia has a new group of outstanding facilitators who will continue the high quality BRIDGE tradition within Australia and overseas.

Participant comments:

“Personally I believe that this was the best run course I have been involved with. It was a testament to the facilitation that every day was enjoyable, exhausting and informative”

“The wide variety of methods and skilful use of technology – both simple and electronic – has given me many ideas I plan to use. I found the whole transition (in my mind) from trainer to facilitator quite invigorating and somewhat of a revelation.”

“One of the most worthwhile things I have ever done and it will affect my future and change/improve the way I do things in many ways.”

“Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

“The best and most intensive training I have ever had.”

“Had an absolutely amazing two weeks. Learnt more than I thought I would, both in terms of theoretical knowledge and practical facilitation skills. Thanks – it’s been a blast!”

“Thank you all for a stimulating, inspiring, thought-provoking fortnight.”

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