We've partnered with Mondragon University and New School, New York as part of their Platform Co-ops Now programme.

What is the Platform Co-ops Now programme?

The online programme is a collaboration between New School, New York and Mondragon University. It's the second time that the programme has run and is split into two parts. Part 1 began in October 2020 and Part 2 started this month, with the overall programme due to finish in late February 2021.

Who is involved in the Platform Co-op Now programme? 

There are over 400 students involved from countries right across the world, with a number of local partners help to facilitate the sessions. Our role is hosting the English Speaking, non-UK group, made up of 15 students from Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Turkey, and Israel. As a new partner on the project, we also shadow Ludovica Rogers, a UK colleague from Unfound and Co-operatives UK. 

What do participants do on the programme?

The first part of the programme focuses on theory, introducing participants to the world of co-ops, whilst part two is practical and leans heavily towards teamwork and creating a prototype.

The approach to the course is: 'team learning by creating' - itself a radical but co-operative notion. The participants learn how to both conceptualise and practically plan a platform co-op start up, as well as exploring how to secure democratic ownership of the digital model. 

They might already have ideas or are just starting out, but they are encouraged to work through the process in teams.

Each week students watch a lecture, participate in a global call and then with their team, do a range of tasks, feeding back via their local group seminar session. The tasks offer support in identifying markets, developing their idea and getting the message across to their intended audience.

What impact does the programme hope to have?

In an ever-changing world of work, the programme is focused on equipping young people with the skills to challenge established tech platforms, exploring socially valuable alternatives. We know at the College how co-operatives can empower people to make a change in their community, and by participating in the programme, we're ensuring that peer to peer learning is at the forefront of co-operative education. 

The focus of the programme is to develop a culture of learning by doing, rather than simply absorbing information. By learning in such a collaborative way, we're confident of creating value far beyond the traditional co-operative sector, inspiring others to take up the co-operative model to make a change in their industries.