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A busy time for learning, education and training

16th August 2018
by Gillian Austin, TSA Training Associate

The summer has been a busy time for learning, education and training.  Lots of services are accessing the one day CPD training days that support Call Handling activities, as well as the Assessing for Telecare day that supports dispersed installation activities. I’ve travelled all over the country and met committed and dedicated people who are keen to validate existing skills and learn new ones.  Services are provided in lots of different ways, but always with the same purpose of supporting people to stay safe and independent, in control of their health and wellbeing and making positive choices about their care.  I always enjoy these days, we have some great discussions, some challenging debates and I’m happy to say most people come away from the days feeling they were of use and valuable.

As you know, recognised training within industry standards for the TEC sector is hard to come by, our sector is not a recognised profession as such, and some of our roles have quite unique elements that no one else really ‘gets’. These one day sessions meet the need for role specific training and recognise how unique some of our activities are, but what comes next?  Don’t we want to continue to develop skills and knowledge that ensures a well-trained and qualified TEC workforce? Of course we do.  Do we need very specific standalone qualifications for everything we do? Or perhaps to build general skills and knowledge in area’s that cut across the health and social care landscape. 

Flexible and often free!  

I did say the summer had been busy and in June we launched the ‘Flexible Learning’ qualifications in partnership with Learning Curve Group, and showcased these at Health+Care on 27th & 28th June, followed by a rollout to all our members.  These are generic qualifications that cover a range of topic areas, and levels.  Level 2 qualifications are a great next step to continue to build that foundation of learning.  The beauty of these are in their flexibility and designed to be completed on-line.  Most courses have 2 workbooks where the learner has 3 week window to complete each one.  Learners are allocated their own ‘tutor’ who they can contact via email, text message or phone.  

Once the first piece of work is submitted, the tutor has 7 working days to mark it and feedback to the learner which is done electronically.  If the criteria is not met, the learner can review and re-submit.  Tutors can sometimes do this over the phone, or leaners can submit paper-based or electronically - whatever works for them. These qualifications are designed to build skills, knowledge and awareness and there is no pass or fail like in the old days of exams. It’s about encouraging and supporting until the level of knowledge is achieved.  There is even flexibility in the 3 week deadline per workbook, if there is a valid reason extensions can be granted if the learner notifies the learner support team.   

The end result is a nationally recognised qualification. Whilst not role-specific they explore topics that relate to our sector and are a great next step from the role specific CPD certified training days.  

Of course budgets are a big concern, and if you have a training budget it’s probably not a big one.  These flexible learning qualifications are often available fully funded (depending on location), at no cost to your organisation, so that’s a win-win.  There is a registration and induction process to go through, as always these things are a little onerous, particularly when meeting funding requirements with questions asked that seem irrelevant to some.  This is just a hoop to jump through, the rewards come with the qualifications and the learner’s journey.   

We have spent some time looking through all the L2 qualifications and identified some that are more relevant to TEC roles, but there are lots more to choose from so don’t limit your options:  

  • Dignity and Safeguarding
  • Behaviour that Challenges
  • Dementia Care
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Information, Advice or Guidance
  • Customer Service for Health and Social Care Settings
  • Team Leading
  • Business Administration
  • Lean Organisation Management
  • Falls Prevention Awareness  

Skilled through to the core  

And just to pull it all together we also have the Core Competency resource, launched in April 2018 as a free resource to members certified to TSA Quality Standards Framework (QSF), or still under Code of Practise (COP). The online tool is designed to assess and test staff to ensure they have achieved or maintained the required minimum level of competence in their roles.  This is the culmination of 12 months’ work carried out with members to meet a need for a standard measure for ‘what good looks like’ across front line roles of Call Handling, Assessing and Installation of TEC, and Responder services.  On-line workshops have been held with early feedback indicating the resource is being well used to assess staff competence, with learning needs identified and support provided where staff are not meeting the required standard. 

All in all, a very busy summer.  It doesn’t stop here though, there is lots and lots to do still to develop a TEC learning pathway, with different levels of learning, formal and in-formal to support all job roles from front line to strategic.  All I can say is how very exciting for us all, and keep watching this space.

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