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Hans F. Hansen

Continuous Learning vs Mandatory Training

This week I wanted to follow on from the previous two posts around continuous learning because it can be a super-efficient way to save time and money.  Whilst this week might be a shameless plug of our methodology, specifically aimed at managers in care businesses, it is also embedded in the new CQC Strategy… 

Just before we get stuck in, hopefully you all know the Skills for Care document:

Core and Mandatory Training

Much of what will follow at some point will link to what is included in this document.

First of all, there are 19 specific courses listed in the document and the twentieth is “Specific Conditions” which will be different for every person you support, and different across different settings, so for the purposes of this blog we will focus on the 19.  The guidance for “Specific Conditions” is exactly the same as the other 19. 

Skills for Care Guidance

Just to be absolutely clear, this not Grey Matter Learning advice or guidance; this is Skills for Care guidance taken directly from the document shown above:

“Assess knowledge and competence at least annually”

So why is that so important?  Why not just send everyone on the course again next year and make sure they have been exposed to the course content again to be absolutely sure?  Since we started in 2006, we have had this conversation many times and providers have shared that they want their staff to do “their training” so they “can make sure” that staff know it “their way”.

The challenge can be that, “making sure” is expensive (hence what I said at the beginning) and I don’t mean just in terms of time and money.  Clearly it takes time and money to get people through the training, but it can also be expensive because you may start to lose your experienced staff as a result.

I know we have talked about this before, but if you put everyONE, through everyTHING, every YEAR, just in case, it might appear safe on the surface, but it can be costly and ineffective.

Costly and Ineffective?

We have already established that it costs time and money and if that is not costly enough, what about the ineffective bit?

Let’s go right back to the beginning: Recruitment

You recruit two new members of staff: one who has never worked in care before, the other being a qualified nurse with 30 years’ experience who just retired and only wants some part-time work.

Do you do the same induction for both people?  Let’s hope not.  If you did, you would run the risk of demotivating the experienced person, they leave (more cost) and you have to start recruiting all over again (yet more cost).

Imagine being the experienced person on the course and at the break having to approach the trainer to have a quiet word in their shell-like because the information they are sharing is out-of-date. 

So what then?

Well, Skills for Care have given us the clue if you like:

“Assess knowledge and competence at least annually”

The principle is actually super useful if you have a system to facilitate it, somewhere to record the evidence, when we do the learning every day (last week’s post).  So, if Skills for Care are recommending an annual assessment of knowledge and competence, why wait?  Hence, continuous competence…

 It is widely accepted that skills decay within three to six months after initial training.

Once again, this not Grey Matter Learning guidance; the sentence above is also directly taken from the Skills for Care document.  

Why wait?

So we know that experienced people will be demotivated if they have repeat training which they already know and are competent in.  We also know that skills (the purpose of training – to impact on practice / behaviour) degrade as quickly as three months!  WE also know that Skills for Care are recommending a minimum of an annual competence assessment.

What if…

What if we could complete those competence assessments on an on-going basis?  What if we didn’t wait until a new risk is identified?  What if we didn’t wait until there was an incident and then send everyone on the course again?  What if the new CQC strategy was focussed on learning instead of training?

That is what we will talk about next week.. Unless you fancy a chat now?

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