Train the Trainer workbook 1Well,  it looks as though 2016 could be off to a great beginning at the Smart Enterprise! Next week we’re starting a new project, in partnership with the Westminster Society. They want to employ people they support to be in-house trainers, and in light of our (award winning!) experience in that area, they asked if we’d be interested in devising a ‘Train the Trainer’ course for them. And of course we said yes!

They applied for funding from the Skills for Care Workforce Development Innovation Fund, and what do you know – they were successful! So the planning has all been done, course written and next week is Day 1 of the pilot course.

We’ll be training 8 people with learning disabilities  – each will have a ‘buddy’ from the Westminster staff team, to support them through the 6 day course and to co-train with them afterwards. And hopefully, those 8 people will then end up as employed in-house trainers.

Reflecting on what works

Workbook2It’s certainly been (and will continue to be!) a learning curve for us. Although we’re very used to supporting trainers with learning disabilities, we usually work on a 1 to 1 basis – and of course we know our team members very well! We’ve had to really think about what we do, what skills and qualities we expect from our training team and somehow translate that into an accessible course. And of course, we want the trainees to have fun too!

This Train the Trainer scheme will be a pilot – it will be fully evaluated for Skills for Care, and I’m sure that we’ll all learn a lot from the experience. We’ll definitely post another blog when it’s all over, and let you know how it went.

The future for the ‘Train the Trainer’

And I have to say that we’re genuinely thrilled to be involved in such an exciting project. We feel passionately that people who use services should be meaningfully involved in training their staff (you can read why we think so in our Guardian article from last year here), and it’s fantastic that leading care providers, such as the Westminster Society, think so too! In fact, we’re hoping that other organisations will follow suit and so we’ll be adding a ‘Train the Trainer’ course to our offer from March onwards.

So if you want to demonstrate your innovative approach to training and run a similar ‘Train the Trainer’ scheme in your organisation, or even if you just want some help to think through how to involve the people you support, make sure you get in touch!