The SHEP Certificate in Facilitation Course is an intermediate training in group-work facilitation, intended for those who have completed foundation training in social and health education and who now wish to begin training to support other people in their development.

SHEP Certificate in Facilitation  2024

          Cork area fully in-person SHEP Certificate in Facilitation Course 2024.

Course is now closed for 2024  

To enquire please email or contact Liam Mc Carthy Course Co-ordinator at

SHEP also has a Recognition of Prior Learning Policy to create pathways to the Facilitation Course for people who may have undertaken trainings elsewhere in social and personal health education that could be equivalent to the eligibility requirements for this course.

SHEP Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

SHEP RPL Application Form


The SHEP Certificate in Facilitation is a largely experiential intermediate-level course in facilitation which supports participants to develop a basic competence in the skills necessary to facilitate group processes in a variety of group settings. Practical skills development is complemented by continuing attention to the personal awareness needed by group leaders in order to able to remain grounded and to be emotionally present to group members.

The approach in the SHEP Certificate in Facilitation Course is one which emphasises the use of the self in facilitation. For this reason, the SHEP course provides opportunities for personal and group process work, along with skills development and engagement with theory. The here-and-now experience of the group provides opportunities for learning about group-work theory in practice. Facilitation practice is conducted in pairs, in small groups and in the whole group.

This training course is intended to serve as a foundation for SHEPs specialised practitioner training courses in areas such as the delivery of personal development courses, the provision of advocacy support, and working as a facilitator in community or organisational settings.

Who is eligible to apply?

  1. Those applying for this course will normally have satisfactorily completed the SHEP Foundation Programme which includes two Parts (SHEP Certificate in Personal Development course (SCPD) and the SHEP Certificate in Social Awareness and Community Empowerment course (SACE)). An opinion on each applicant’s readiness for training may be sought from trainers on earlier courses in The Social and Health Education Project. The trainers will be asked only in general terms for their views of the applicants’ readiness to undertake intermediate-level training as facilitators. Issues shared in confidence with trainers by individual participants will not be discussed. It will be assumed that, in applying for the course, trainees agree to the views of trainers being sought in this way.
  2. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process – People may be exempted from the SHEP Certificate in Personal Development (SCPD) or the SHEP Social Awareness and Community Empowerment (SACE) requirement because of equivalent work done elsewhere. Such work done elsewhere, needs to be recognised as equivalent to the SCPD or SACE course, through an application to SHEP’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. In such instances, applicants may be asked to provide a reference from a trainer who worked with them, giving their view as to their readiness for intermediate-level training in group facilitation.
  3. In certain circumstances an application may be considered where an applicant has demonstrated sufficient other training undertaken to assure SHEP of readiness for this programme and a commitment is made to undertake at a next feasible opportunity an unmet aspect of the prior requirements.

Im not sure I want to be a group facilitator – is there any point in participating?

Yes! Many people have found that the course brought many benefits – increased self-confidence, better relationships with family and friends, greater effectiveness at work, encouragement to pursue further education.

When can I apply?

Closed for 2024 (course is full) – expressions of interest for 2025 to or

How are places allocated?

Priority of offer of places will be given first to applicants who have completed both the SHEP Personal Development year and the Social Awareness & Community Empowerment courses, secondly to those with exemptions (through SHEP’s Recognition of Prior Learning process) and thirdly to those who exceptionally are making an undertaking related to an unmet requirement and have demonstrated sufficient other training undertaken to assure SHEP of readiness for this programme. Priority is also given to those who have a clear sense of how they intend to use the training in future years. Some applicants may be asked to come for interview. Places among those considered ready for training will be allocated largely on a first-come, first-served basis. Early application is advised.

How is the course structured?

SHEP is aiming to organise two groups in 2024.

Cork area fully in-person SHEP Certificate in Facilitation Course 2024.

The course will involve 111 contact hours fully in-person in total from March to December 2024 in SHEP Arfoyle, Cork City (Oak Room) with indicative 28 weekly sessions on Monday nights 7.30pm to 10pm and 7 weekend days) with trainers Mary Mangan and Rose Crowley. Commencing on weekend of 23/24th March 2024; we are planning for a group of 16-17 participants.  Over the course of the year, participants are also expected to undertake a total of 18 hours’ collaborative learning in small groups.

Kerry-Mid-West Region blended SHEP Certificate in Facilitation Course 2024.                                

This a blended online and in-person course that will run between April 2024 and December 2024. This is intended to serve participants from the combined Kerry and Mid-West region. Information on this course will be available over the coming month. The indicative pattern will be weekly on-line sessions to facilitate the geographic spread of participants and in-person weekend days at locations that are evenly balanced between the areas.  The configuration of the programme will aim to make it 60% in-person (following the pattering of the course in 2023). We consider this is the optimal choice of course design that supports wide geographic access, the necessity for significant in-person contact in facilitation training and the lessening of travel time and cost.

Early in this type of training, small learning groups will be formed and will commence meeting to discuss and explore material relevant to the theory of groups and the practice of group facilitation. Each learning group will undertake a small project on group facilitation and will prepare and deliver a presentation to the whole training group. The emphasis of the training in the post-summer period will be on facilitation practice, with opportunities being provided for trainees to facilitate in different configurations and with a variety of foci.

What approach is used in training?

A variety of training methodologies is used during this course, including formal teaching, experiential exercises, practice sessions, personal development workshops and collaborative learning in small working groups.

Participants on all Social and Health Education Project training courses are encouraged to reflect on their experience and this emphasis continues in the SHEP Certificate in Facilitation course. Because this is the first level of formal skills training in The Social and Health Education Project’s training programme, this type of personal reflection extends beyond personal awareness to reflection on skills acquisition and practice and to evaluating the knowledge that has been learnt during the training. For this reason, a course requirement is that participants keep a regular record in a personal learning journal.

Is there assessment?

On-going self-, peer- and trainer-assessment takes place during the course. At the end of the training course, each participant will complete a personal learning evaluation and will hear feedback from their trainers in a one-to-one session.

Do participants receive a certificate?

A certificate will be awarded to those who complete the course satisfactorily. Except in the most exceptional circumstances, attendance at a minimum of 80% of both the evening sessions and of the day-long workshops will be considered essential for satisfactory completion of the course.

Does the course lead on to further training?

Those who successfully complete this course have a considerable number of progression options. Some participants will choose, over time, to complete two or more of the options, depending on interest and circumstances:

  • Graduates of this course may apply for one of three practitioner programmes currently offered by SHEP (Specialised Community Tutoring, Community Advocacy Practice, and Applied Facilitation in Community & Organisational Settings).
  • Graduates of this course may continue training with SHEP by undertaking stand-alone, open-access modules, such as the Leadership in the Community course, without committing to undertaking a full programme of practitioner training.
  • Graduates of this course qualify for entry to the two-year part-time SHEP UCC Diploma in Social and Psychological Health Studies (Levels 6 & 7) which provides participants with a very thorough grounding in the theoretical basis for SHEP’s work. (The next cycle will commence in Sept. 2023 with intake early in the year)

What is the course fee?

The cost is €930 (same cost as in 2019) which continues to be significantly subsidised. In exceptional circumstances, and depending on grant funding, a limited number of bursaries (usually €300) may be available. A Reduced Fee Application form needs to be completed if applying for a bursary.  A Mid-West region bursary option is also available. The course fee is payable before taking up a place, although the Project is willing to make payment plans with participants to spread the payments over a period of time. There is no booking deposit.