Austerity: Who needs it and why don’t we focus on collecting all our tax liabilities?

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Sponsored by the Scottish Co-operative Party – the inaugural Scottish Co-operators Lecture.

An increasing number of commentators, including Will Hutton, are calling for corporations to be legally required to behave more ethically – to act in the best interests of a wider collection of stakeholders and to be accountable to them.

The Co-operative Movement has argued this case for centuries and continue to press the case for more diversity of ownership across the economy and especially in financial services.

Prof Prem Sikka (Essex Business School) has been a consistent advocate of more mutual and community focussed financial services such as credit unions. He has also frequently made the point that if more of our big businesses acted like responsible citizens and carried their fair share of the tax burden then there would be no economic argument for austerity. Prof Sikka will be expanding on these themes in Glasgow on Saturday 18th April 2015 @ 12.00pm.

If you would like to participate in this critical discussion, register at info@cets.coop. Attendance is free but limited and places will be allocated on a first come basis.

McCance Lecture Theatre
University of Strathclyde
16 Richmond Street
Glasgow
G1 1XQ
Saturday 18th April 2015 @ 12.00pm

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Making 2013 a great year for Co-op Education

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Diarmuid

‘What could be important in this co-operative initiative is not what is accomplished but what it is intended to do.’
– José María Arizmendiarrieta

One of the key messages of the UN 2012 Year of Co-operatives was to see the celebration not as an ending but as a beginning. We have taken that to heart at CETS and have a variety of activities, resources and projects planned for 2013 that will hopefully improve co-operative education in Scotland and the UK.

  • The first cohort of students will be completing the inaugural SQA Awards in Co-operative Studies in 2013. Offered at levels 4, 5 and 6, the qualification provides secondary students with a detailed understanding of the core historical, social and organisational topics relating to co-operatives. We are working on promoting these awards to other Scottish secondary schools in the year ahead.
  • 2012 saw the development of our interactive online resource on the Commonwealth Games. The Co-operative Games: Succeeding together is aimed at upper primary/early secondary level pupils and covers a variety of topics within the Curriculum for Excellence. We will continue to promote? this resource in the run-up to the 2014 Games.
  • We are always seeking to develop relevant, interesting learning and teaching resources on co-operatives and 2013 will continue this trend. The end of the summer will see the launch of a resource on ‘making your school co-operative’. Loudoun Academy became the first “Scottish School of Co-operation -SSC”. We are now building on our work to create the first cluster of SSC schools in Edinburgh and the first Primary SSC in Angus. We also have plans for a second resource but we’re still at the idea generation stage; any ideas/suggestions are welcome at info@cets.coop.

2013 will also be also a big year for us in relation to our work at tertiary level:

  • In co-operation with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), we are organising a series of screenings of the US employee ownership film, We The Owners, across 3 or 4 Scottish Universities. Open to students, academics, local business people, and co-operators, the screenings will take place during late February, early March; contact info@cets.coop if interested in attending.
  • March will see the completion of an innovative project, supported by Co-operatives UK, to establish a co-operative providing employment to students from a Scottish university. Student-owned and led, the new co-operative will be launched in late March and will be based on a successful model from Mondragón Corporation in the Basque Country.
  • Finally, work continues, thanks to the support of CDS, on disseminating the outputs of a recent Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between CETS and the University of Aberdeen. These outputs include an academic textbook, a collection of essays, an entrepreneurship guide for students/graduates, and a virtual learning environment. We are also delivering a series of lectures across Scottish universities, in particular with the University of the West of Scotland.

What co-ops mean to kids

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CETS and the Clydebank Co-op have been working in partnership with Kilbowie Primary to look at the Co-operative Values and Principles and put them into child friendly language. The resulting pop-ups and poster will be displayed in Kilbowie Primary and Clydebank Co-op, to promote understanding of the benefits of the co-operative business model and encourage people to join their local co-op.

Kilbowie Co-op Poster

Poster created by Kilbowie Primary pupils on what co-ops mean to them

A Celebration of Co-operation – New Lanark 14/06/2012

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Carlogie Primary pupils discuss their fairtrade café

Carlogie Primary pupils discuss their fairtrade café

Over 100 kids, 8 workshops, 5 speakers, and an awards ceremony; the madness that was our annual event is now over. Set in the New Lanark World Heritage Centre, home to Robert Owen’s social initiatives, we were joined by over 100 educators, students, practitioners and co-operators to celebrate co-operative education in Scotland. It quickly became apparent that co-operative education takes many forms, including:

  • A pupil-run fairtrade co-operative serving up delicious treats to primary students;
  • A young co-operative that donates its profits to an impoverished school in South Africa;
  • A cohort of pupils successfully completing ASDAN awards in Co-operative Studies; and
  • A secondary-school in Ayrshire working towards becoming a ‘co-operative school’ (see Peter Flood’s presentation below).

We made some attempt to organise the chaos: pupils were assigned workshops depending on their age, and the adults in attendance were treated to a series of interesting, informative (and occasionally controversial!) talks. This ensured that there was ‘something for everyone’ at the event and kept the wee (and not so wee) ones engaged throughout the day.

Pupil workshops

Presentations

Nick Morgan, Education Scotland – Developing Global Citizens

David Cameron – Co-operatives and Co-operation in Scottish Education

Alan Wilkins, CLADA – A Learning Philosophy

Peter Flood, Loudon Academy – A Scottish School of Co-operation

Stonelaw High Fairtraders – The South African Connection

Ashley Simpson, Reddish Vale Co-operative Graduate also spoke of his experience of attending the UK’s first co-operative trust school.

Our sincere thanks to all who attended and supported the event (especially the volunteers from Robert Owen House in Glasgow) and, after a well-deserved break, we’ll have an eye on next year soon enough.

(There are some photographs of the event that can be viewed on our Flickr account; if anybody who attended has some pictures that they wish to share then please email us at info@cets.coop).

£30,000 PRIZE FUND FOR BEST NEW CONSORTIUM BUSINESS IDEAS

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Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is offering £30,000 worth of cash and support to develop new consortium co-operatives in Scotland.

The inaugural Collaboration Prize aims to encourage businesses to consider working with others to form a new consortium co-operative. Co-operatives are collaborative vehicles that play an important role in creating globally competitive businesses. They enable employees, businesses and communities to work together to fulfil shared interests.

CDS is calling for interested parties to pitch an idea for a new consortium co-operative with up to three winning concepts each receiving a cash prize of £5,000 and a further £5,000 of support to get the business off the ground.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who has backed the initiative, said: “I am determined that the Scottish Government does everything possible to get more businesses thinking about how they can work better together, and the Collaboration Prize is a very valuable opportunity.

“I hope the new prize will stimulate new thinking.”

With a combined turnover of £4bn and employing around 28,000 people, Scotland’s 550 co-operative businesses currently play a key role in driving Scotland’s economic growth.

The deadline for entries is 31 July 2012 and winners will be announced later this year in August.

For more information about the Collaboration Prize or Co-operative Development Scotland, please visit: www.scottish-enterprise.com/cds-collaboration-prize or call 0141 951 3055.

The full package: CETS newest resource aimed at higher education

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Diarmuid

The culmination of  a two-year collaborative project with the University of Aberdeen, today CETS launched its newest resource, its first foray into higher education: Democratic Enterprise: Ethical business for the 21st century.Here’s the description of the text:

The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the International Year of Co-operatives in recognition of the impact that co-operative enterprise has on more than three billion people across the globe. Co-operatives contribute to national and local economies in virtually every country by championing an ethical approach to business underpinned by internationally agreed values and principles. Yet despite the wide-ranging successes of co-operatives, in financial terms as well as in the development of sustainable communities, the study of these democratic forms of enterprise remains surprisingly absent from the curricula of most university business schools around the world.

Designed primarily for undergraduate students, Democratic Enterprise provides an introductory-level analysis of democratic models of enterprise, namely cooperatives and employee-owned businesses. A supplement to any course that deals with these topics, it also stands alone as a template for academics who wish to incorporate material on democratic models of enterprise into courses relating to economics, business studies, sustainable development, enterprise, and organisational theory and behaviour.

The book is free to download and can be accessed here:

http://www.abdn.ac.uk/cets/resources/democratic-enterprise

With our new primary resource and the approval of SQA qualifications in Co-operative Studies, we have provided a pathway or educational journey for students interested in co-operatives, one that starts in the Curriculum for Excellence and culminates in higher education.

Young Co-operatives – Fairlogie Café

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Morag

Do you know how to set up and run a successful Fairtrade Café? If not, but you would like to, get in touch with the P6 class at Carlogie Primary in Carnoustie and they will be delighted to help you!  Over the last few months they have been planning the opening of their monthly fairtrade café.  The first very successful morning was held on the 23rd November, in the local church hall.

I arrived to be greeted and escorted around by a group of very enthusiastic and knowledgeable young people who delivered me into the capable hands of tea and coffee makers, who then engaged me in conversation around the merits of their fairtrade products. They were unfazed by doing mental calculation to give me my change after I had been persuaded to buy other attractive fairtrade products from another stall!

Their easy, relaxed and informed manner created a warm happy atmosphere for all their customers – I counted at least 60 –who arrived from all over their community to support them. Asking the minister to announce their enterprise from his pulpit on the preceding Sunday was obviously also a very good marketing ploy!

At the co-op, we are always trying to explain clearly what our values and principles are – looking at the student’s interpretation of them, perhaps we can learn how to apply them more easily through children’s eyes.

Fairlogie Cafe values

Fairlogie Cafe principles

I also have to mention, for teachers benefit, that to my mind this is a really good example of how to “do” Curriculum for Excellence. There was evidence of true interdisciplinary learning – listening and talking, writing, numeracy, health and well-being for starters, as well as showing how to put the four capacities into action. If you want to see this all happening for yourself – go along to their next Fairtade Café event at Panbride Church Hall, Newton Church, Arbroath Road, Carnoustie, 10am-11.30 on Wednesday 14th December. Remember to take plenty of cash as their excellent sales team will persuade you to buy lots of their excellent products specially selected for Christmas.

There – they have now managed to get me to do some marketing for them as well!

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