Milton Keynes Council has recently achieved enhanced accreditation for their contact service. Part of the process of enhanced accreditation involves the scrutiny of the training of the staff at the centre. Lorraine Carter, FAST/CONTACT Deputy Team Manager, Children and Families at Milton Keynes Council has given us an insight into their approach to induction and training development…
Upon recruitment, candidates need to have some level of understanding of childcare or child-protection – preferably with a diploma / degree / previous qualifications or training in a relevant field – for example, Nursery Nurses, Nannies, Child-Minders, Teaching Assistants, Family Support Workers, Youth Workers, Residential Child-Care Work, Health Visitors, Playgroup Assistants / Leaders, Social Work Assistants and Social Workers. Some of our workers have been chosen for the social work degree path which is funded or part funded – places for these courses are highly competitive.
We offer training to staff including mandatory training in Safeguarding, Corporate Induction, Health and Safety, Cultural Diversity and Equal Opportunities. New starters are given an induction pack with relevant policies, which they must read. A two-week shadowing induction plan is put in place with regular feedback sessions. At the end of the two week induction the worker gives feedback on the induction and any areas that they would like to re-visit.
Workers are encouraged to attend other training when possible including:
- Drug and Alcohol Awareness
- Domestic Abuse
- Mental Health Signs and Symptoms
- Mental Health in children
- First aid (adults and paediatrics)
- Challenging situations
- African and other cultures awareness training
- Working with parents who have a disability
- Report Writing
We also encourage workers to arrange shadowing experiences in Social Work Teams – this gives the contact worker insight into where they ‘fit’ into the children’s journey. As part of a larger corporation we are in the advantageous position of being able to access Children’s Social Care Training provided in-house. We also hold monthly contact team meetings where we have speakers attend or one of the team will share their training experiences and what they have learnt.
Monthly or six-weekly supervision and mentoring sessions are held where we look at training and professional development with annual appraisals where professional developmental goals for the following year are set.
Lorraine Carter, FAST/CONTACT Deputy Team Manager, Children and Families, Milton Keynes Council