Oliver French, Project Manager for Employer Engagement at Skills for Care says that investing in continuing professional development of the social care workforce is an absolute necessity for supporting the evolving needs of those we support today and in the future.
Every year, Skills for Care hosts its annual Accolades awards that celebrate innovation and excellence in workforce development.
The awards which are open to England’s 18,500 adult social care employers, and around 75,000 individual employers, were created to not only celebrate new thinking in finding, retaining and training workers at all stages of their careers. but to also remind ourselves what ‘great’ looks like in adult social care.
One of this year’s categories was ‘Most effective approach to continuing professional development for the regulated workforce; which was won by the Adult Practice Development team at Hertfordshire County Council. An expert panel of judges noted that they’re really respondent to their staff, using feedback to make improvements as well as supporting staff’s mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
This category was created to reflect the need to support the continuing professional development (CPD) of 41,000 nurses, 5,500 occupational therapists and 18,000 social workers who practice in adult social care. But it was clear from hearing from all the category winners and finalists that CPD for their staff at all levels is critical to what wins them a place at this high-profile award ceremony.
Investing in CPD is also a reflection that the demands on people working in our sector changes as the more complex needs of the people they work with change, which means they need to be up-to-date in their day-to-day practice.
It’s also clear that CPD is at the heart of every good employer’s practice and investing in their staff pays dividends, not just from a business point of view, but more importantly in making sure they can help the people they support to live the lives they want.
One of the Accolades winners had brought his registered manager to the awards ceremony. That trusted and experienced manager had started off as a care assistant, but was able to progress her career as her employer has invested in both her training and CPD. Most employers who offer high-quality services will recognise they have similar success stories in their organisations, and the other positive of investing in your staff is they’re much more likely to stay with you as they feel valued.
Skills for Care recognises that investing in CPD can be a considerable commitment, so has created three modules to develop the skills and knowledge of managers and future leaders in care services. It will be those leaders and managers who set the tone in how an organisation is run, and its values, so it made sense to support employers to invest in their CPD.
The modules cover the fundamental building blocks managers need to lead and develop busy, high-quality services focusing on the importance of ‘self-management’, ‘developing a positive workplace culture’ and ‘performance management’.
The CPD modules also offer an important opportunity for managers to think and talk more widely about what practical and emotional support they need, including peer-to-peer networks, supervision, succession planning and recognition. The CPD modules are offered in addition to Skills for Care’s existing leadership programmes like ‘Lead to Succeed’ and ‘Well-led’.
Skills for Care also recognises that effective CPD can require a significant amount of investment in time and resources, so the £3 million Workforce Development Fund (WDF) funding for 2019-20, was designed to support managers and deputies to develop the skills and knowledge they need to lead high-quality services.
Find out more
For information around Skills for Care’s recommendations for developing managers, CPD programmes, funding and endorsed learning providers visit: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/leadersandmanagers