History and general information

The study program for Peer Support, is the first program at KBT Vocational School.

During fall 2019, the Competence center for lived experience and service development (KBT) got accredited vocational school education. The school is accredited by NOKUT (the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education). The education gives a certificate with 60 ECTS credits. Students who complete the courses will therefore get merit and admission into higher education.

The study program at KBT Vocational School is the first peer support education in Norway linked to the ordinary educational system. In 2020 the vocational school welcomed its first students, and most of the class examined in autumn 2021. We want to be flexible, and the students may choose to take the program part time, over two years.

About the study program

The education program provides both theoretical and practical competence based on the use of personal experience in helping and empowering others. The education are mainly web-based, and we have students from all over Norway. Every semester, we have 2 seminar weeks, where some of the students travels to Trondheim to participate physically. During the course, the students will have 2 internship periods and 3 theoretical subjects.

At class, we have a various range of teaching activities:

  • Group supervision
  • Lectures
  • Group work
  • Plenary discussions
  • Role play
  • Case assignments
  • Exchange of experiences

Form of assessment: folder exam, grading scale in theory subjects, and “passed”, “not passed” of internship periods. The learning process are in focus.

Picture of a teaching situation
Principal Karl Johan Johansen also teaches at KBT Vocational School.

Teachers and lecturers

The teachers at KBT Vocational have various background, and we have both internal and external persons teaching the classes. We have lecturers with

  • Personal experience
  • Next of kin experience
  • Academic background (theory, perspectives, research)
  • Academic education (pedagogical, sociology, organisational knowledge, political science)

Educational frame

  • Recovery as an professional ideology
  • Emphasizing dialogue and reflection between student, school contact, practice supervisor
  • Providing both theoretical and practical competence based on the use of self-experience
  • To qualify people who have self-experience within receiving health and welfare services in mental health and substance abuse, to be able to apply their experiences in work with other service recipients

Educational aim

  • Strengthening peer workers identity and professional role
  • Understanding the position of peer workers better
  • Be aware of own competence
  • Clarify and develop the role of peer workers
  • Achieve recognition
  • Get possibilities to move further with education

What type of competence do you get?

  • Cognitive, social, functional and meta competence
  • Experience from the field he or she will work in
  • A positive view of people and attitudes that all people are equally valuable
  • Knowledge of how the health and welfare system works formally, legally and practically
  • Relationship competence in the form of the ability to establish and build relationships, as well as lead conversations in different situations
  • Ability to reflect on one’s own and others’ role, both in relation to function and ethical dilemmas and issues

Read more about the learning outcomes

Admission requirements

When you apply for the Peer Support ecucational program, we look at 2 things: your educational background and your experience from the field. In Norwegian the last is called “realkompetanse”, and can be translated to non-formal skills. That means, that even though you haven’t fulfilled Videregående skole (High School), you have a chance to get in. Summarize, this is the admission requirements:

Formal admission requirements

  • Vocational education build on level 4 competence in the National Competence Framework (NKR)
  • Based on certificates as a health care worker at upper secondary level or equivalent competence

Assessment of Prior experiental learning 

  • Applicants who have not completed upper secondary education
  • Applicants who have an education from countries other than Norway, and who are 23 years or older in the year of admission
  • Need to show documented knowledge, skills and general competenc through formal and non-formal education

Education for Peer Support Workers | Learning outcomes

The education for Peer Support Workers within the field of mental health and addiction is a vocational education, which gives both theoretical and practical competence based on the use of personal experience to help and support others.

In the education the user perspective is seen as equivalent to professional and scientific perspectives. The education shall contribute to educating reflective professionals with a solid, competent, foundation, who are able to meet the challenges already present, and in the time going forward within measures and services for people with problems concerning mental health and substance abuse. Learning outcomes are categorized as knowledge, skill and general competence.

Knowledge – what do you learn?

After finishing this study program, you

  • have knowledge of
    • historical tradition and the development of the various roles of a Peer Supporter
    • basic ethical theories
    • Norwegian health- and welfare services traditions and construction
    • basic theory and thinking around recovery and recovery-oriented services
    • human rights, living conditions and civil rights
    • communication, interpersonal and therapeutic relationships
    • working with families and networking
  • have insight into
    • various knowledge perspectives withing the areas of mental health and substance abuse
    • experience-based knowledge traditions and positions
    • interdisciplinary collaboration and conflict management
    • the Patient and User Rights Act, the Health Personnel Act, the Specialist Health Services Act, the Health and Care Services Act and the Mental Health Care Act
  • can update your knowledge on understanding of mental health and substance-abuse issues

Skills – what can you do after the course?

At the end of the study program for Peer Supporters, you

  • can apply ethical reflection and understanding in your own professional practice of experiential knowledge
  • can identify
    • own problems from others and your own vulnerability, and can use methods for self-care in the professional role
    • and apply health-promoting, preventive and rehabilitative measures in improvement processes to improve quality of life
  • can survey a situation and identify the need for possible helpful measures for the user
  • can utilize
    • principles of recovery in the collaboration and contribute to the development of recovery-oriented practices.
    • experience-based knowledge in various collaborative relationships
    • communication- and relational competence in collaboration with the user / patient and their relatives, regardless of the user / patient’s age, gender, cultural / ethnic / social background and state of health.
  • can develop positive, trusting relationships with users / patients, their relatives and professionals.
  • can access and apply
    • knowledge of current legislation and case law, as well as apply relevant legislation to assist users / patients and their relatives
    • information and subject matter that is relevant to your own vocational issues
    • relevant and professional tools, materials, techniques and forms of expression
  • can reflect critically on others’ professional practices in collaboration with various professional groups

General competence

The student

  • has an understanding of the importance of living conditions and how it affects a persons’ everyday life.
  • has and understanding of what the various Peer Support-roles entail, including legal framework, responsibilities, tasks ethical principles, limitations and the roles’ contribution to social- and service development.
  • has developed an action- and emergency preparedness competence, legal thinking and legal certainty in order to provide fellow human beings with the necessary support and care and safeguard the user’s / patient’s autonomy.
  • has an understanding and respect for users’ / patients’ and their relatives’ perceptions of mental health, substance abuse, life situation and opinions regarding solutions.
  • has an understanding of the factors that affect the quality of life of people with serious and long-term mental health challenges and / or substance abuse problems.
  • have developed a basic ethical attitude in interaction with users / patients, relatives and professionals.
  • has developed good relationship skills with an understanding of what contributes to a positive and equal relationship and what can contribute to an imbalance in power and control.