Saturday 15 November 2014

EXPERIENCE: Alternative Dispute Resolution for Professionals

Today was an important day for me - I received a new qualification.  No, no, not my PhD.  I am now a nationally accredited mediation practitioner.

The UWA Law School runs twice-yearly Dispute Resolution training courses.  The course is a 10 week, after-hours program that shows how to run mediation sessions according to best-practice research.  The sessions run for 3 hours each week, with half of each session dedicated to practical work.  I thoroughly enjoyed these 'role playing' exercises, and even more so when I got to practice my mediation skills.  The course concluded with a full day exam, including written and practical work.

The course attendees were split pretty evenly between UWA staff members (including myself) and legal professionals.  Most courts require disputes to be discussed in mediation sessions prior to being heard by a judge, so mediation accreditation is becoming a must for lawyers!

While the course is most directly applicable to lawyers, UWA staff members attended for a variety of reasons.  Some wanted to know how to resolve conflict between staff members, others wanted to know if there were tricks to 'managing' their bosses.  I attended because I thought the skills would be valuable alongside my training in the Postgraduate Teaching Internship.  Additionally, if I ever go back to the public sector knowing how to resolve conflict between stakeholders could be useful.

I thoroughly recommend the course to anyone interested in dispute resolution or becoming a mediation professional!