Skills and Strategies for Community Engagement

  • 7 hours per day
  • 1, 3 or 4 days


This two-part short course provides an introduction to community engagement. It'll help you develop skills and strategies for effectively working with community groups and users in your professional practice and/or research.

Community engagement promotes collaboration between different stakeholders. This improves the chances of understanding and addressing the right problems and designing the right solutions for local contexts. 

The course consists of two parts. You can book either part on its own, or both parts together for a discount.

In part 1 (one day) you'll learn practical skills to improve how you engage with community groups and users as part of your professional practice or research.

In part 2 (three days) you'll learn management strategies for setting up community engagement initiatives (e.g. the Engineering Exchange) in your own workplace.

The course is delivered by the Engineering Exchange, a group of engineers and community members based at UCL.

Who this course is for

This course is designed for anyone who needs to engage local communities and users in their professional practices and/or research, such as:

  • engineers
  • infrastructure providers
  • urban planners
  • geographers
  • product designers
  • entrepreneurs/SMEs
  • sustainability consultants
  • NGOs
  • sustainability/environmental managers
  • academic researchers

You don't need any previous experience with community engagement to take this course.

Content and structure

This is a two-part course (you can take either part on its own or both together).

Part 1 - Practical skills for community engagement

The first part of the course will cover:

  • The benefits of and needs for community engagement
  • How to address community needs and opportunities directly in your projects
  • How engaging with communities can deliver better project outcomes
  • Skills to improve how you engage with community groups in your professional practice or research

Part 2 - Strategies for developing community engagement initiatives

The second part of the course will cover:

  • Principles, theories and core activities of community engagement 
  • Project management, protocols and evaluation methods 
  • Community outreach and recruitment
  • How to navigate the institution (internal stakeholders, funding, communication) 
  • Site visits to infrastructure projects in London

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, real-life case studies, group discussion and exercises. You'll have access to online learning resources.

You’ll also have the opportunity to network with potential project partners, build professional networks and work with a diverse group of backgrounds. 

Learning outcomes

After completing part 1, you'll be able to:

  • identify the benefits of community engagement and involving users in your professional practice
  • work with community groups to define their needs and objectives for effective engagement
  • describe the value of your work and explain technical concepts to local communities and users
  • identify opportunities for improving community engagement within a specific project or discipline

After completing part 2, you'll be able to:

  • know how the UCL Engineering Exchange works, its setup and business model
  • learn community based research methods through case studies
  • identify the benefits of community based research from research, community and industrial perspectives
  • develop action plans for setting up your own community engagement initiatives and model in your organisation

Benefits of attending this course

By attending this course you'll have:

  • access to a network of community groups and support in instigating collaborative research projects
  • expert tuition from both UCL engineers and community-based practitioners
  • small class sizes, which encourages deeper engagement and the opportunity to focus on your own projects and interests

You'll also get the chance to:

  • network with potential project partners at our community forums and events
  • build professional networks within the field
  • work with a group of like-minded colleagues
  • build CSR credit by helping communities achieve technical solutions

Fees and concessions

The fees are:

  • Part 1 only (one day) - £300
  • Part 2 only (three days) - £900
  • Parts 1 and 2 (four days) - £1,080 (which includes a 10% discount)

A 10% discount is available for students (any university), or 15% if you do Parts 1 and 2. You’ll be asked to provide proof of status when attending the course. Please email to receive a discount code.

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Course team

Charlotte Barrow

Charlotte is Engineering Exchange Manager and a sustainable projects specialist. She manages operations, communications and events, coordinates projects and designs project management systems. She's performed research in sustainable housing, open source design platforms and urban governance and coordinated a research exhibition on sustainable urban sanitation.

Sarah Bell

Sarah is a Senior Lecturer at UCL's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. She's also Director of the Engineering Exchange, which enhances local community engagement with engineering research. She investigates sustainability of urban water systems, particularly social and policy factors, green infrastructure, water reuse, water efficiency and desalination. She uses social research methods informed by science and technology studies, philosophy of technology and philosophy of engineering.

Muki Haklay

Muki is Professor of Geographic Information Science, in UCL's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. He's Director of UCL Extreme Citizen Science, which aims to enable any community, regardless of literacy, to use scientific methods and tools to collect, analyse, interpret and use information about their area and activities. He specialises in interdisciplinary research that can benefit from geographical perspectives, and in participatory research methods.

Richard Lee

Richard is Coordinator of Just Space, a network of community groups influencing planning policy in London. Just Space seeks to ensure public debate on crucial issues of social, economic and environmental justice. He's also active in council tenants campaigns.

Agamemnon Otero

Agamemnon is Chief Executive Officer at Repowering London. He's experienced in providing finance solutions for the energy sector including business development, management and operations. He's Director and Project Manager for Brixton Energy Solar projects. He's former Director of Renewable Energy Project Finance and Social Responsibility at Better World Finance and the CFO of Energy Bank Ltd UK DECC Community Energy Contact group. He speaks on low carbon economies.

Student review

"The sessions were very useful and gave a varied perspective on community engagement."

"Useful theory on engaging communities plus informative case studies. Excellent networking opportunities, including with different types of stakeholders."

"The course was very interesting, especially the case studies. It was great to hear about success stories. Also the point of view of a community representative really brought the message home."

"I enjoyed the course, and I found the information presented to be purposeful and insightful."

Course information last modified: 20 Feb 2018, 10:39