Finding people to provide training can be difficult, and so we are happy to publish this article about a unique new website which, for the first time, brings together providers and seekers of training together.
www.socialcaretrainers.com is having a significant impact across the social care industry. In a sector that is so diverse and yet specialised, a major frustration for those working on the front-line has been having to rely on word of mouth to find trainers.
The knock-on consequence for the social care industry has been two-fold. Firstly, potential trainers have struggled to put themselves on the training map without expensive advertising and, secondly, commissioners of training have struggled to find new innovative trainers offering quality and value for money.
Yet trainers and commissioners are now increasingly becoming alive to the potential of the internet and how it can play an important part in raising the standards of training for social care staff. A group of like-minded trainers with more than 40 years experience between them in the social care sector got together to try and create a service that puts trainers in direct contact with employers who need to find quality learning providers.
Their experiences have led them to create www.socialcaretrainers.com which acts as a central database between providers and seekers of social care training. With 1.5 million people employed in the social care sector, the potential is obviously vast and, within a month of going online in August, they had almost 200,000 visits to their site.
Mark Hundley-Appleton is the website Project Manager, “The team have experience working both as providers of training and commissioners. As commissioners we found ourselves using the same trainers time and time again or always scratching around for people to provide training such as HIV/AIDS awareness or specialist child protection training. The system relied almost entirely on word of mouth and continues to be a particular problem for those of us working in the independent sector where there are over 25,000 employers. There was no one place where you could find what was available and it was a major frustration. The idea of the website is to provide people with that information.
“The new website simply matches employers searching for specific training with those who provide it. You just choose a subject area and are instantly provided with trainer details from across the UK. The service is completely free to search.
“We are keen to promote quality trainers and have asked commissioners to tell us what they think of the trainers whom they have used – one star for poor and five stars for excellent. Of course, this is subjective but over time the best quality trainers will stand out. Our hope is that training providers will work hard to achieve high star rankings on the site. Increasingly, this should give searchers of the site the confidence to make an informed choice. We are encouraging social care trainers to sign up and the early signs are very encouraging.”
Rose Harwood has spent 25 years working in services for people with learning disabilities and runs the company Learning Disability Training. She said, “The health and social care sector is a diverse, mixed and rapidly-changing economy, and many organisations struggle to find the right training for their workforce. The website fills a gap in the market by providing information and choice to those who commission training, as well as opportunities for training providers – particularly small businesses like mine – to reach a wider audience.”
The site also contains a message board forum where people from the social care training industry can share their experiences and exchange ideas. Every person employed in the social care industry is expected to have a personal development plan, and central Government has set aside considerable funding for the public sector to improve the level of training for staff. Training is currently driven by the General Social Care Council and the National Training Strategy has set aside £100m for social care training in their budget for the financial year 2006-7.
Hundley-Appleton accepts that the website cannot vet every company or individual who registers themselves, but argues that a central database providing feedback, detailed information on trainers as well as a forum for discussions between people working at the sharp end of the industry is a significant improvement on the current situation. “We believe the website will play a part in driving up training standards across the sector in line with Government aspirations for a better qualified and motivated social care workforce.”
- To visit the website go to www.sociacaretrainers.com
- For press inquiries, contact Jeremy Wilson on 02380 647949/07880 907305