Building Internal Capacity
How do you tackle the myriad of problems in health and social care caused by uncertainties and cuts? In this article, we explore the benefits for the health and social care industry to invest in ‘in-house’ trainers.
Recent events have thrown a myriad of problems at the health and social care industry; economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, introduction of the National Living Wage, and widespread cuts to funding, and as a result many social care providers are finding it more and more difficult to maintain financial sustainability or plan for how they will maintain it in future.
This, coupled with an ageing workforce and relatively high staff turnover amongst care providers, means there is increasing financial pressure on these services, leading to fragility within the industry.
Indeed, the CQC’s recently released State of Care report highlights this fragility, reporting on data that shows:
- The number of nursing home beds has remained static since March 2015, despite rising for 5 years up to this point
- Providers have started to hand back contracts as being undeliverable, with local authorities warning of more to come
- People living with unmet social care needs has risen by 800,000 to a figure of over 1 million since 2010
With the social care industry reaching a ‘tipping point’ as defined by the CQC in this report, care providers must find a way to remain sustainable while delivering high-quality care to those they support.
To do this, companies need to develop their staff with the right skills and knowledge that enables them to meet the CQC’s standards and the changing needs of individuals using support services. However, they must be able to do so cost-effectively and mitigate the impact of staff leaving the company after significant investment.
Care providers, therefore, need to adapt to these pressures and find long-term, cost-effective solutions to their training expenditures.
This document will explore how care providers can find a solution by developing their own internal trainers, and utilising them as an internal training division to coordinate delivery of cost efficient learning and development programmes, which will ultimately help their business to achieve long-term financial sustainability.
Advantages of internal trainers
Delivering more for less
Many care providers will turn to external organisations for a large volume of their training delivery, because they provide a high-quality service and offer the specialist knowledge and expertise that ensures desired learning outcomes are met. However, because of their cost, it may prove unaffordable to outsource 100% of training to these providers.
By developing a group of employees to become internal trainers and deliver training to other staff members, organisations can reduce the amount they outsource, meeting their training needs more cost effectively.
This can lead to large-scale savings as companies pay once to develop staff that can deliver, in essence, free training to the rest of their organisation.
Companies that source their training from a mix of external providers and internal trainers will enjoy advantages of both outsider expertise and native cost-efficiencies.
Because this also reduces the cost of investing in employee’s learning and development on an individual by individual basis, internal trainers also mitigate the financial impact of each employee leaving the company once invested in.
Flexible and adaptable
Holding a unique position within a company, internal trainers have the advantage of observing and understanding the daily activities of their organisation.
As a result, they are suited to act as a font of knowledge, reacting to internal change, tailoring organisational practice to meet the changing needs of individuals using support services, and providing information and advice to other staff teams.
This insight enables them to become a flexible and adaptable learning and development department, supplying precisely adapted courses throughout the company. Drawing from this they can ensure the training they deliver meets the exact requirements of the company and will be able to alter it to meet the needs of staff in a variety of work settings.
Because they can deliver training at the exact time and place it’s needed with the flexibility to change and re-arrange as often as necessary, organisations can make training fit around staff schedules, reducing travel expenses, staff unavailability and extra administration.
A long-term investment
A hugely important aspect of the training that internal trainers deliver is that it doesn’t necessarily have a ‘sell-by date’. Because effective internal trainers will possess the ability to undertake research and carry out Continual Professional Development, they can keep their own knowledge and practice up to date and react to legislative and organisational changes, and then incorporate this into the training they deliver to other staff members.
This allows them to prevent their training sessions from becoming outdated, and to grow professionally and expand their understanding of the subjects they teach to continually improve the quality of their training. However, to ensure this happens, trainers will need continual support in the form of access to materials and the opportunity to carry out Continual Professional Development sessions.
What problems might companies face?
There is a risk that after a long period of time, some internal trainers may become institutionalised, losing their drive for continual improvement because they underestimate the need, and overestimate their understanding of the company’s exact requirements.
This reluctance to update their knowledge and adapt the training they deliver means their training may meet staff training requirements on paper but not in reality, and if this remains undetected within the organisation it can lead to huge problems with staff left unable to effectively carry out their roles.
Without some form of quality assurance following their initial training, it cannot be ascertained whether these trainers will continue to provide good quality training.
What have our customers experienced?
Within the social care sector, there is a lack of learning and development programmes that give learners the qualifications they need in order to facilitate good quality learning engagements.
This has led to some organisations developing trainers that do not give other staff members the knowledge and skills they need in order to be effective in their roles.
Staff need the right skills and knowledge before they can deliver good quality training themselves and be entrusted with sharing knowledge with the rest of their organisation.
What should companies look for?
Companies can create their own programmes to develop internal trainers, but without mapping them to the right resources, this may prove an ineffective method and lead to staff that aren’t properly equipped to deliver training. These programmes must be based on not only correct but also up-to-date knowledge and practice, and give learners the ability to keep their knowledge up to date so they can continue to deliver effective training in future.
This learning and development should provide the skills, knowledge and qualifications trainers need to deliver and adapt courses to a variety of settings, organisational requirements and individual learner needs, and give them the ability to carry out research, CPD sessions and self-reviews to maintain and improve their performance.
We realised the need for companies to develop their internal trainers with a cost-effective solution, which had to avoid the pitfalls that other programmes have fallen into.
To assist our customers, we developed several new Train the Trainer courses which include the Level 3 Award in Education and Training. This qualification gives trainers the vital skills to use a range of delivery methods and tailor delivery to the needs of individual learners, to maximise learning engagements and provide good outcomes.
Training, HR and Learning and Development departments will find our Train the Trainer courses most useful, as they will enable them to oversee the delivery of training themselves to achieve the outcomes they need, with a forward-thinking approach to expanding both professional skills and subject specific knowledge.
To prevent stagnation following initial development, learners that attend will also be offered access to a range of learning materials that give them the latest knowledge and guidelines of best practice, and regular quality assurance reviews of the training they deliver as part of our Trainer Membership Scheme.
This will not only provide additional longevity but also provide evidence to the CQC that trainers developed through this programme will be able to continually provide good quality training that meets the essential outcomes.
Why we’re talking about it
Our cause for excitement is that, after a thorough quality assurance process, the course has become the first ever to achieve Skills for Care’s Approved Programme status, for the learning outcomes it provides and innovative approach to advancing the skills of the social care workforce.
Skills for Care certify that courses achieving their Approved Programmes status ‘have been developed with sound educational principles and demonstrate the values that underpin adult social care provision’, as outlined in the Skills for Care Endorsement Framework Handbook.
We’re very proud to have recognition from the leading body in best practice for social care.
This approval, coupled with delivery from us as an Endorsed Provider, means our customers can stop searching and rest assured that this programme is the long-term solution to their training needs.
The CQC will recognise that trainers who undergo this Approved Programme have been developed by sector experts to achieve a fully accredited and approved certificate, and in turn that you supply your staff teams with good quality training to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date.
The level of quality assurance included in the delivery will ensure that all learners achieving this programme are well equipped to deliver training in your organisation.
To find out more about the 1st Skills for Care Approved programme:
Dementia Awareness Train the Trainer,
call us and talk to one of our advisers on 01727 733 999