Training Hub

Train to become a family mediator

Family mediation is challenging work. Family mediators need to develop their professional skills and practice throughout their working life. They need to reflect on and critically analyse their own performance as mediators. They need to produce professional documents to tight timescales. To become a family mediator you need to be personable, articulate and assertive, with good listening skills and some practical experience of working with individuals and couples.

We are very proud of our Family Mediation Standards Board approved foundation training course, and of the many wonderful mediators who have trained with us using our robust model of interdisciplinary mediation. If you are interested in becoming a family mediator with FMA, we suggest that you think about the following:

We look at every application on an individual basis. We accept eligible applicants on a first come first serve basis. You must attend the full 8 days training.
We ask for a non refundable deposit of £75 upfront to process your application. If you are accepted for the course you will then be required to pay the balance. We recommend applying at least 6 weeks before the course starts to give us enough time to process your application. We require payment in full before the course starts.

Please make sure that your application, supporting documentation and references take account of everything set out on the FMA website, including references to the FMC Standards. Click to here to view the FMC journey to accreditation and anticipated costs.

FMA Foundation Training Programme London

18 – 20 March 2024 (Monday to Wednesday)

10 – 12 April 2024 (Wednesday to Friday)

9 – 10 May 2024 (Thursday and Friday)

Cost £2,550 plus VAT

REGISTER HERE

Please send your supporting statement to info@thefma.co.uk

Call for free the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900, where careers advisors can talk through the funding options for training.

Because it’s the hardest, most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. It is a real opportunity to make a difference to families.

Family mediation has been around for about forty years, and it is now definitely part of the mainstream. Judges and Government encourage it, but, more importantly, it really works. It’s a very rewarding way of combining existing knowledge and expertise with new frameworks and skills. People with backgrounds in therapy, law and social work are likely to have the right experience, but people from other backgrounds may also make great family mediators.

Family mediation has grown up and is a separate, regulated profession. We believe that family mediation works best, and is most stimulating, when it is multi-disciplinary – which is the main focus of the Family Mediators Association .

Making a career in Family Mediation can be hard work, and most people who mediate with families do so, at least in the early years, alongside other (often related) work. Equally, by joining a community of like-minded people you can give yourself a great start. The FMA Foundation Course, one of the first to be successfully audited by the Family Mediation Council, is the best starting point. FMA members are justifiably proud of what we offer our clients and their families, and the contribution we make to our evolving community.

It helps if:

• You have some connection with other mediators in your community
• You have existing related skills and professional qualifications
• You have some existing aptitude in the world of conflict resolution

Why some of our more experienced family mediators are mediators:

• Because I can make a difference to couples who are stuck!
• Because it’s good to support people who want to be able to resolve issues
• Because I want to help people take control of their lives and responsibility for their families
• Because I know there are better ways to resolve conflict and help people move on with their lives
• Having helped a family member to stop spending thousands on a battle between him and his ex- I thought that training could help me to help others do the same thing. It worked
• Because sometimes I can help people who need help
• Because it’s the most inventive, humane and creative thing I do

And because:

• The world needs mediators
• Conversation is where change starts
• Mediation provides dignified, humane answers to conflict, and
• “partnership and cooperation are the only ways to advance our common humanity” (Barack Obama)

So we invite you to:

• Contact us to find out more!
• Come and join us!

The Family Mediation Council says that all applicants should demonstrate the ability to work with conflicts and to manage interpersonal relationships at a professional level. Typically applicants will have two or three years’ experience as a professional dealing with families, or a similar amount of time as a mediator or non-adversarial dispute resolution practitioner in another field.

Most candidates who train as family mediators are qualified members of the family law, social work, social science or therapy/counselling professions. Candidates educated to degree level or equivalent, who hold a recognised qualification, who have been qualified for at least three years as members of the family law, social work, social science or therapy/counselling professions, and for whom 50% or more of their workload has been within family law or working with families and/or couples, are eligible to train with FMA.

Equally, because the FMA is a multi-disciplinary community and positively welcomes applicants from other professions, candidates who are not eligible applying these criteria, may also be eligible via our ‘discretionary route’, which is looking for people who can demonstrate that their particular professional experience means that they are as suitable to undertake family mediation training as the professionals listed above. The training panel considers all discretionary applications. The panel consists of professional family mediators, and looks for candidates able to (a) process and deliver complex legal information, (b) respond sensitively to the range of situations that families going through separation and divorce may face; and (c) provide structured assistance to families.

All family mediators also need to be able to communicate very fluently with clients during mediation sessions and must be able to produce high-quality written documents as part of the process. Every candidate must understand and be prepared to meet these high standards. It is though very important to have a family mediation profession which is open to a wide range of people, including people whose first language is not English and people who have specific issues with processing or producing written materials. Our goal is therefore to work with every candidate and trainee to explore with them what might be needed to ensure that they can communicate in a consistently professional way with families, both in writing and orally,

Eligibility is not the only important consideration. In FMA’s experience, it is extremely difficult for someone to train as a family mediator while going through a divorce or separation themselves. Knowing what it is like to go through divorce or separation can be extremely valuable as a family mediator; we believe that actually going through it while training makes it much harder to become a family mediator. Trainees going through divorce and separation often find it very stressful to discuss some of the topics covered on the course also sometimes find it difficult to be as objective as they need to be about the mediation process and the needs of other families, which may not match their own. We therefore strongly advise anyone who has been through a divorce or separation recently to wait a while before applying.

All candidates should submit a full and detailed application supported by a statement of 1,000-1,500 words describing their relevant experiences and evidencing the reasons why they feel they are suitable for family mediation training by reference to the FMC Standards referred to at the top.

Candidates need to provide details of two referees who can comment on professional knowledge and competence as well as personal and professional suitability and attributes. One of your referees can be a personal referee but neither referee can be a relative.

Discretionary candidates must include at least one reference from a referee who has direct experience of the candidate’s particular professional experience and confirms that this makes them a suitable candidate for family mediation training.

All candidates should complete the section on the application form setting out how they expect to establish a family mediation practice.

When applications are unsuccessful, full feedback will be given. We will provide the candidate with advice on alternative training courses or work experience that may improve any subsequent application for family mediation training .

Training as a family mediator gives you the opportunity to enter a new profession which, with hard work, careful planning and realistic expectations, can be a highly rewarding and enjoyable career choice. However, it is important to realise that completing an FMA training course does not guarantee that you will find work as a family mediator. Successful completion of the training is only one part of building up a successful career in family mediation.

Many trainees join forces and develop practices together. Others use the skills they acquire from FMA in their ‘normal’ job to change career direction. Some trainees find opportunities in local publicly funded or private services. Before you decide to do the training, work out what you will need to do to establish yourself in practice. Establishing yourself in a new profession takes a lot of work and a clear plan. Whether your intention is to practice as an independent family mediator or to link in with an existing mediation service, you will need to understand your options and do some research.

You will also need to make contacts with related services within your local area, for example legal firms, counselling services, your local Citizens Advice Bureau and the local courts. Even as a member of a renowned family mediation organisation such as FMA, you will still need to do a great deal of work to persuade people to choose you, rather than one of your competitors.

Most people who want to ask the court to decide a family issue now have to see an accredited family mediator to talk through the options before they are able to issue an application. Once established in practice this is an important part of the work you will do as a family mediator but you should be aware that completing a training course does not qualify you to conduct these meetings, which can only be conducted by family mediators with recognised levels of experience. Completing an FMA training course is, once again, only one part of the process.

You need to consider carefully the cost and time implications of making the move to professional family mediation and of developing your family mediation practice. It may be some time before you can recoup the cost of your training. Questions to ask yourself might include . . .

Where will my clients come from?
How will I let them know about my practice?
What about premises?

You also need to consider a number of ongoing professional expenses, including FMA or other professional body membership, professional indemnity insurance, the cost of professional supervision and the cost of annual professional training. The Family Mediation Council requires all professional family mediators to complete 10 hours of ongoing professional training a year.

The first and most significant expense is the foundation training course itself but there are other important expenses to take into account, including, very importantly, the costs of becoming an accredited mediator (this involves preparing a portfolio, which is expected to take two to three years).

Firstly, all mediators, however experienced they are, have to pay the following costs each year:

Membership of the FMA, or another Family Mediation Council membership body. Your training fee includes your first year of membership of FMA. We charge a reduced rate membership fee for the following two years (while you are preparing your portfolio). After this we charge the full fee, currently £200 pa.

Insurance. Before holding yourself out as a professional family mediator you will need to take out professional insurance cover which currently costs about £200 pa to FMA members.

Professional Support and Guidance. All professional family mediators have to have a supervisor, called a professional practice consultant or PPC and must see their PPC for at least 4 hours a year. Your PPC will provide you with significant support and guidance throughout your career and in the early stages of your career will do a great deal more than this, making it possible to establish your mediation practice but PPCs do make a charge for this service, usually £80 to £150 an hour, depending on where they are in the country.

Ongoing training. All professional family mediators also have to complete at least 10 hours further training a year to continue to work as a family mediator. Costs vary but on average a day course offering 5 hours of training costs about £230+VAT. However, since COVID most courses are shorter and are available online at a fraction of the cost.

In addition, as mediators coming off the training course, you will be a mediator working towards accreditation, working on your portfolio demonstrating your skills. This means additional time with your PPC, plus various other extra training and work. Our estimate is that will cost £1,000 to £2,000 in total, over the two to three years that the portfolio is expected to take.

The foundation course is an 8 day course, usually spread out over a number of months.

After successfully completing the course you will be allocated a professional practice consultant (PPC) to act as your supervisor. All mediators, however experienced, have a PPC and must have at least 4 hours of supervision a year.

At this stage, you will be able to work as a co-mediator. That means that you can see privately paying clients provided you are working with another mediator who has the skills and experience needed to support you. Sometimes newly qualified family mediators work together as co-mediators. This doesn’t always work well, but provided your PPC believes that the two of you have, between you, sufficient skills and experience, this is permitted. You will need to do 10 hours of co-mediation work before you are able to mediate on your own.

After this, you will be able to work towards getting the training and experience you need in order to gain formal recognition as a mediator accredited by the Family Mediation Council. Becoming accredited requires the preparation of a portfolio containing examples of your mediation work for assessment. It takes most mediators about 2 years of actively working as a family mediator to build up their portfolio. Once you are accredited, you will be able to conduct mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs).

The course is designed to give an introduction to the theory and practice of family mediation. It covers:

• Theories and principles of mediation;
• Understanding the mediation process in practice;
• Conflict management skills and strategies;
• Family dynamics especially those ending relationships;
• The effect of separation and divorce on children;
• Family finance issues including property and pensions;
• An introduction to family law for family mediators
• Assessing suitability for mediation
• Domestic abuse and child protection issues

In addition, the course looks at:

• Popular practice models in family mediation
• opportunities to develop a mediation practice

By the end of the course, trainees will be familiar with the theories and principles of mediation and should be able to decide how to apply them in the context of different styles, techniques, skills and the practical process of mediation.

Courses have up to 18 participants with a team of experienced and qualified family mediation trainers (with a ratio of 1 trainer to 6 participants) using a range of teaching techniques and learning aids, ranging from distance learning, lectures, videos, workshops, pair and group exercises, role-plays and case discussion, to individual and group presentations. All FMA trainers are experienced mediators and training professionals. Trainers encourage trainees to develop their skills, knowledge, aptitude and understanding of the mediation process and theory via interactive role-play and exercises designed to give a full understanding of the various models of mediation practice.

The course is very intensive and relies on the participation of the whole group. Anyone missing even part of a day will be affected – subjects are not covered twice and material missed cannot easily be made up. We will withhold the training certificate if you do not complete your course in its entirety.

The FMA actively supports the need to establish high standards in the training and practice of family mediators. You will only become an FMA member if the FMA training team considers that you have the appropriate knowledge, skill and confidence to begin your mediation practice. This assessment is designed to monitor your progress and to focus on the support you may need to help you progress further. When trainees require individual information or assistance, our trainers can be ‘on the spot’ to provide it.

Assessment involves the tutors observing your active participation in all exercises & sessions and also your general ability to demonstrate the acquisition of skills & techniques taught on the course. In addition there are 2 written assignments. We sometimes use video recording of exercises to help you learn. The written assignments are an essential part of the course. They help the trainers gauge how well you have understood the information provided and we believe that they also help trainees to think through some of the theory and practice they have heard and experienced during the training modules.

After you successfully complete the foundation course, we send you a certificate  confirming that you have successfully completed FMA foundation training in family mediation. You will then immediately be able to start work as a co-mediator with privately paying clients and also to start thinking about the next stage of qualification and the preparation of your portfolio of mediation work.

If you are still interested in becoming a professional family mediator, have a look at our guide to the courses currently scheduled.

For more information on training contact the Administration Office
Tel: 01355 244 594
E-mail: info@thefma.co.uk