The discussion around whether certification or care is more important for caregivers has been debated in care company recruitment teams for some time. But the idea that one or other is somehow of greater value than the other is a fallacy.
All UK carers must hold a Care Certificate, a position supported by the Care Quality Commission. The certificate is evidence that a carer has undergone a minimum level of training and demonstrated the attributes and competencies to carry out their role to the desired standard.
However, a Care Certificate is just the start for most carers. It gives learners an understanding of the basics of caregiving and knowledge of techniques, best practices and legislation at the time of certification. These are vital tools for carers but must be added to as they develop.
The benefits of additional training for carers
Things move fast in the modern world. Every industry is subject to changing protocols and new ways of doing things. Change must be embraced, not just because it is often a legal requirement, but also because it is often introduced to improve efficiency or reduce costs.
Each care provider must make sure it keeps its staff up to date with emerging trends and amended rules and obligations. This should take the form of ongoing coaching and training. How that training is delivered is a matter for each employer to determine.
Some prefer e-learning modules which give staff flexibility to complete the training at a time that suits their schedule. Others like to get all their staff together for classroom-based or virtual training. There is no right or wrong way to deliver the training. The key is to ensure all staff have the skills and knowledge to continue offering first-class care.
Mandatory training alone, though, will not result in well-rounded carers who are multi-skilled and motivated. In its ‘Top Tips for Retention’ document, the Local Government Association recognises the value of providing ongoing training for careers and creating proper career paths for those who want to progress. This can be achieved through a combination of mandatory training and care work apprenticeships that help develop practical skills and combine training with work experience.
The benefits of experience in the care sector
One of the joys of working in the care sector is human contact. It’s a career path that naturally attracts people who display empathy, compassion and a desire to help others. These are, of course, extremely valuable attributes for any carer.
Other skills required for the role include:
- Good communication
- Critical thinking
- Emotional intelligence
The principles of these skills can be taught, but effectively putting them into practice comes with experience. Throughout their career journey, carers will encounter a variety of different people and situations. They won’t always make the right call, but by understanding what they did well and what they could have done differently, they will grow as individuals, gain experience and become more confident.
This is where experience and training meet. While self-reflection is a good trait to have and is crucial in improving individual performance, without external support it can be counterproductive. Care managers, senior colleagues and trainers should support carers to evaluate their work and identify areas for improvement.
Skills coaches ensure carers get maximum benefit from their experiences by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the evaluation process and its learning opportunities. This approach also helps to validate how the learner changes their approach. Left entirely to their own devices, people are prone to doubt their own opinions. When supported to form an opinion, they are more likely to believe in it.
Certification and experience work in tandem
The best carers are those who have a mixture of experience and training. Certification gives carers (as well as patients and their families) confidence. If achieved as part of a comprehensive induction program, Care Certificate education can also help instil a culture of learning and development within an organisation.
This is a crucial step for all care companies. Change is the only constant, and it’s those companies that don’t have a positive attitude towards learning and development that typically find their employees are resistant to new ideas.
Ongoing training and upskilling of care workers shows a company values its staff and is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients. It also provides those career paths that aid retention and help keep scarers motivated.
Perhaps most importantly, though, regular training enables individuals to use their experience to good effect. While no two situations are ever quite the same, having an inquisitive mind and being open to new ways of doing things promotes lateral thinking and problem-solving skills – which are particularly useful in a sector where employees are frequently asked to think on their feet and juggle multiple responsibilities.
Richmond provides bespoke training for all levels of staff in the care sector. From care apprenticeships that upskill staff to coaching programmes for care managers, our skills coaches help maximise experience and deliver relevant training according to the needs of each client.