ASA Newsletter – June 2018

Welcome to the June edition of the Advice Skills Academy newsletter.  This month there’s bitesize learning on Fixed and Growth Mindsets, Infographics, and the Eisenhower Matrix.  This month it’s the Festival of Learning ‘Have a go’ month, and June also sees Volunteers Week, and Small Charity Week.

Advice Skills Academy Learning Opportunities

We’re busy arranging the dates for the accredited qualification delivery, and for the next programme of non-accredited training, and we’ll get these dates to you as soon as we can.

For those of you who haven’t had a think about the accredited unit qualifications on offer, it’s not too late to sign up for some of the subjects – some of them are being delivered in two groups, with the second groups probably starting in the new year. Have a look at what’s on offer:

Click on the toggle below for a brief description and a link to view more information about each subject. 

Delivered over 3 days, this course will help learners understand the qualities, roles and responsibilities of leaders; the difference between leadership and management; different leadership styles; vision and strategy; theories of motivation; and the importance of continuous development of the team.

Click to view more information

Delivered over 3 days, this course will help learners understand the nature and purpose of mentoring, the role of workplace mentors; communication skills; barriers in mentoring in the workplace; mentoring models and resources; and reflective practice.

Click to view more information

Delivered over 1 – 2 days, this course will help learners understand the design principles of projects; project planning techniques; how to monitor project performance; and how to evaluate projects.

Click to view more information

Delivered over 3 days, this course will help learners understand how job descriptions, and self-analysis of strengths and weaknesses can be used to aid development of yourself and others; and when training or coaching may be useful methods for development.

Click to view more information

Delivered over 2 days, this course will help learners understand the causes and impacts of stress in the workplace; practical stress management techniques; the relevance of mental health in the workplace; and common mental health illnesses.

Click to view more information

If you’re interested in the accredited learning, you’ll need your CEO to sign off on you doing the learning.  You can only pick one subject.  Once you’ve been signed off by your CEO, your ASA Link person will then provide us with your details so we can send you dates and details when we’ve got them.


Well – it was Learning at Work Week in May, and there were a variety of learning activities in Citizens Advice Halton, Citizens Advice St Helens, Citizens Advice Sefton, and The Women’s Organisation.

Activities during the week included:

  • Classroom based learning on GDPR and on Equality and Diversity, made interactive by using voting buttons on phones
  • E-learning through online quizzes and short courses, including learning for National Numeracy Day and Mental Health Awareness Week
  • Learning sets using Alchemy Assistant
  • Brainstorming activities at team meetings
  • 1-2-1 peer mentoring and learning
  • Quizzes and wordsearches on welfare benefits, employment law, debt and a ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ style signposting quiz
  • Bring your hobby to work day – to share skills, and connect as a group, including felt animal making, painting with acrylics, origami, and a great presentation on photography

Comments from people who took part in Learning at Work Week activities include:

“Thank you very much for the fun week of learning, I’ve really enjoyed it”
– Sam, Citizens Advice Halton

“Loved the interactive quiz. What a fun way to learn.”
– Lauren, Citizens Advice St Helens

Feedback from people taking part in activities is:

  • 91% said they feel more positive about learning, and want to learn more
  • 7% said that getting involved in Learning at Work Week activities resulted in learning that helped them to improve the way they do their job
  • 5% said that time and opportunities to network with colleagues, getting to know them more through sharing and learning was a benefit of getting involved in Learning at Work Week activities
  • 50% said one of the benefits of sharing their own knowledge, skills or interests with others was making connections with colleagues

Learn Something Today

This Month’s Latest Bitesize Learning

Having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset can affect the way that people can learn, grow and succeed. The idea of growth mindsets was first identified by psychologist Carol Dweck, in her 2007 book ‘Mindset’.  Dweck argues that talent, intelligence and education are not the only things that determine success.

The notion that people are born with talent or intelligence, and that nothing can overcome this level of talent or intelligence, is part of a Fixed Mindset.  Dweck argues that through believing that you can become more talented, or more intelligent (through drive, practice and perseverance) can have real benefits.  This Mind Tools article on fixed and growth mindsets provides some short tips on how you can develop a growth mindset.

For a quick way of identifying which mindset you’ve got, take the fixed vs growth mindset quiz.

Taken from ‘Becoming a better learner’, by the Campaign for Learning, this table shows the different attitudes for fixed or growth mindsets:

Fixed mindset
Growth mindset
I believe that my abilities are fixed and any success depends on those abilities that I may or may not already haveI believe that I can grow my abilities through effort and that will lead to success
I’m concerned with the need to demonstrate and prove my abilitiesI’m concerned with developing and improving my abilities.
I am concerned with performing well as defined by other peopleI get satisfaction from achieving my  own goals
I avoid new challenges or give up if there is a barrier that may cause me to fail, as this may bring my abilities  into questionI enjoy new challenges as they give me an opportunity to stretch myself and learn new thing
If there is a difficult task I may give up because I feel I don’t have the ability and can’t do it (helplessness)When there is a difficult task, I think about how I might do things differently or find out who can give  me help so I can learn how to do it
I find it difficult to accept feedback on my work as I see it as a criticismI like getting feedback on my work as this gives me the opportunity to find out how I can improve
If I haven’t performed well at something I think it’s because I don’t have the ability and this can affect my work negativelyIf I haven’t performed well at something I think it’s because I need to improve my abilities and this gives me a focus for my work
I like to do better than othersI like to do better for myself

Infographics are a useful tool for presenting information in a short, visual way that helps to summarise key points or data. The creation of infographics doesn’t necessarily require a high level of design skills, especially if you use templates, but it does need you to think differently about the key points that you want to highlight, the amount of text you use, and what the theme or focus of the infographic should be.

There are a number of websites and blogs that provide a how-to guide on creating infographics, as well as free templates, resources, and ideas to help inspire you. Try the Venngage website for a full guide to how to create infographics, and to sign up to access to free templates, or try the makeuseof website for ideas on where to get free tools to help you design great looking infographics.

For ideas on storytelling at work, why not have a look at the Infographic created by the communications and branding company Alive. The infographic is a great example of an infographic, as well as having some ideas and tips for storytelling, that can help your infographics come to life more.

Some of the feedback from the ASA training ‘Stay focused, stay well’ was about how useful people found the Eisenhower Matrix to help prioritise their workload.  The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, was used by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the US, to decide what was urgent and important, and what needed to be dealt with first, in his role as the Allied Forces Supreme Commander during World War 2.

  • Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.
  • Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are usually more immediate.


Eisenhower Matrix

To use the Eisenhower Matrix, think about all the tasks you do as part of your role, and write a list. Then put all of the things you need to do in one of the categories of:

  • Important and urgent
  • Important but not urgent
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important and not urgent

For all the important and urgent tasks, you will need to prioritise these first

For the important but not urgent tasks, you should do these later, but you do need to decide when you will do them, so you can timetable them

For the not important but urgent tasks, think about whether you can delegate them

For the not important and not urgent tasks, you should try and avoid these, as they can become distractions from the most urgent and important tasks that you need to do.

For more information on the Eisenhower Matrix, and how to best use it, visit Mind Tools link here:

Volunteers Week takes place early June every year, and is a great way to say ‘thanks’ to all the volunteers who make such a big contribution and difference across the country. 

Organised by NCVO, Volunteers Week celebrates the huge range of people who give their time, knowledge, skills and passion. Hundreds of events and activities will be taking place across the country during the week.  Some of the surprising statistics about volunteers are:

  • The work that volunteers do has an estimated value of over £22.6 billion nationally.
  • In 2016-2017 19.8 million people in the UK volunteered at least once a year, and 11.9 million people volunteered at least once a month
  • There are 165,801 voluntary organisations in the UK, many of whom rely on volunteers

Festival of Learning 2018

June is the Festival of Learning – it’s the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in England.  Formerly Adult Learners Week, the Festival of Learning has grown into a month long festival: to celebrate the achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives through the Festival of Learning Awards; to promote the benefits of learning; and to encourage people to embrace lifelong learning.

During the Festival of Learning Have a go month, there are free activities and taster sessions on offer to help inspire people to ‘have a go’ at lifelong learning.

Small charity week

18 to 23 June 2018

Small Charity Week celebrates and raises awareness of the great work that small charities do. 

During Small Charities week there is:

  • I Love Small Charities Day, is a day to raise awareness of the work of all small charities across the UK.
  • The Big Advice Day, for small charities to get free one-to-one advice tailored to their organisation
  • Policy Day which enables small charities to engage with policymakers in London
  • Fundraising Day where small charities can attend the Fundraising Conference (arranged by the Foundation for Social Improvement), or do their own fundraising activities using the Great Big Small Charity Quiz
  • Small Charity Big Impact Day, with the Big Impact Awards
  • Celebration Day to close the week.

International Reggae Day – 1 July

1 July is International Reggae Day, and for 24 hours, the influence of reggae culture is celebrated. Hosted in Kingston, the international celebration day highlights the best of Jamaican creativity, and its worldwide impact, using music, media and communication technology.

For information on the origins of reggae music see: