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Transition Training- in the beginning....

We began Transition Training in late 2007 in response to the deluge of people wanting to know how we did what we did in Totnes, and how could they do it in their town.

small group work transition trainingThe first training we ran took place in Totnes, October 2007. We had 16 participants squeezed into the TTT meeting room, elbow to elbow and generating huge amounts of excitement and good will – which was lucky as were at the start of a steep learning curve in how to teach Transition. One thing that stands out- always- in the whole Transition experiment; there was tremendous heart and desire behind the project.

By the second training, in Bristol, we were clear we would never do a powerpoint on Peak Oil again, and were well our way to making the two days as interactive as possible. Sophy came up with the idea of looking at context issues through the participants sharing information on cards in large groups. The ‘peak oil mingle’ allows serious topics to be communicated and explored while learning about the concept, getting practice communicating about it (an essential skill to do transition), getting to know each other, and building a sense of fun and community. Not bad for a 10 minute exercise!

Oriental women doing the peak oil mingleThe training has evolved since and now is the product of many people with many ideas and learning from delivering the training. For each topic we have built in as much experiential activity as we can, and use fewer powerpoint presentations and more interactive learning methods. So the learning goes in rapidly, right from the mind to the hand – and heart. And participants are absorbing information and have fun while doing so. We feel this co creative process has enabled us to create trainings that go far beyond what most of our experience has been in conventional learning environments.

It’s been interesting to see how differently we learned to communicate Transition to the ways Rob uses in his books and talks – the training is designed so specifically for those who are interested or active in doing Transition, so it gives structure and specific content which is most useful for this.

two participants discussingMany of the people who came on those early trainings went on to be organisers and leaders for their local transition project. I came across some evaluation sheets from early courses in my filing system recently, which read like a bit of a who’s who of transition.

The training pretty much took over our lives for the next two years – we had thoughts of lots of other courses, of other activities with groups of trainers - but keeping up with demand took most of our energy. Just eight months after that first training we were back in the TTT office running our first training for trainers to share the load – twelve people with great goodwill and patience once again discovering with us how to do it. That course has changed even more radically than Transition Launch, as we have now trained our tenth group of trainers.

The world tour where Sophy and I took the training to six countries USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong was another moment where it feels like everything changed very rapidly. We arranged this ‘world tour’ in response to the wish that many people abroad had to experience the training and who were travelling in numbers to the UK to do it. So we thought, “better expend one lot of CO2 to travel”, and decided to offer both the 2 day workshop, and to train local trainers in as many countries as we could. In some places this might have been a bit early, and we learnt a lot again from what didn’t go so well as well as what did. Many memories live with me from that training, from the flaming row we had on the fire escape at the beginning of day 2 of the San Francisco training when I (Naresh) wanted to completely change the programme, to the bush fires that cut short our visit with David Holmgren in Australia.

flipchart simultaneous translationMany dedicated and resourceful trainers worldwide have contributed to creating the Transition Training decentralised model. We currently have trainers in 25 countries delivering essentially the same course (with some local, individual and cultural differences). The training mirrors the movement; we are doing variations on the same model, thus enabling us to learn from each other, doing what we do better and faster.

These last five years have been a roller coaster, and we are still evolving. Transition; Thrive is the latest training, responding to the needs of Transitioners who are some way down the Transition path and are looking for renewed inspiration. We also have other trainings; Inner Transition, REconomy, Effective groups, Permaculture for Transition, and others either running or in development. I think that Sophy and I, and the rest of our trainers, have probably the best job in Transition. We get to meet the wonderful, inspiring, and dynamic people who are doing Transition all around the world and spend two intense days exchanging information and understanding with them often in beautiful surroundings. How good is that?

Naresh Giangrande and Sophy Banks

Tropical training