Training and Development: Finding Time
‘If [funded] time slots were given for the training to be delivered, management could allocate time for this when completing the rotas’
Our respondent is a care home manager with over 14 years’ experience, leading care workers, an administration team and nursing staff as well as working with other specialists who visit the home regularly to provide aspects of care to over 40 residents. Staff at the home do almost all training online. The home uses the standard framework of the UK care certificate for all staff but tries to take account of prior learning. Time for learning is limited due to lack of staff, issues such as unexpected staff absences preventing staff from leaving their primary duties and the requirement for staff to do learning unpaid and at home, which can be difficult for staff to fit in round their home responsibilities.
One aspect that cannot be taught online is lifting and handling. The manager arranged for experienced staff to become accredited trainers so they can deliver this learning in house. The organisation has been able to access local civic authority training for some staff in the identification of sepsis and took advantage of an opportunity to have the ‘Dementia Bus’ visit the site, enabling staff to gain experience (although not training) in living with dementia.
‘The dementia bus offers a virtual reality experience, which is medically and scientifically designed to show someone with a healthy brain what dementia might be like.’
The manager offers staff twice-monthly opportunities for discussion about all aspects of work during which they try to discuss training needs and some staff are taking NVQ qualifications in health and social care. During meetings staff are able o identify the types of learning they would find useful, most particularly wanting greater insights into dementia care, and the differences in types of dementia (vascular, Lewey’s Bodies etc), understanding what sorts of creative activities would help support their residents and computer skills, which are important as all training in this organisation is online, as is record keeping and even some staff meetings.
‘The staff are always keen to learn and develop new skills. Learning while at work would work well for the staff …so completing this while on duty would mean they are already within the building and not having to give up their time on their days off.’
Barriers to training and development opportunities are time and budgets. The manager is confident that in areas where she has expertise she could plan and deliver training, although ideally training should be to an externally validated standard and offer staff the chance to develop a portfolio of qualifications. However, training outside of that mandated (the care certificate) and essential for health and safety (lifting and handling, recording and administration of medications) is unfunded and so difficult to find time for it is almost non-existent.