Caron Duffus from SAMH explains what they’ve been doing to get ready for the SSSC Register opening for workers in care at home and housing support

Have you started to plan for supporting your staff to get qualified for the SSSC Register opening for workers in care at home and housing support? Caron Duffus, HR Business Partner at SAMH describes what they’ve been doing to get ready.

Caron Duffus

Get organised

We developed a database to coordinate our SVQ training programme and to record the registration dates of our staff. The spreadsheet includes what qualifications workers already have and whether it meets the SSSC’s registration requirements.

With over 500 people to register with the SSSC, (this includes care homes, care at home and housing support) planning was key.

You can use the SSSC’s registration planning spreadsheet to see when it is the best time for staff to register.

Supporting workers to gain qualifications

At SAMH we give workers time to study and we fund their qualification.

We ask staff to have at least one years’ service before starting an SVQ. This is because we feel new workers often have a lot to learn and having that years’ experience helps and it contributes to their SVQ evidence and good practice.

Before starting a qualification our staff complete core training, such as health and safety, service user recovery, moving and handling, food hygiene and infection control. Depending on the worker’s role they also carry out specific core training, for example recovery focused, alcohol related brain damage. This all helps before they start their SVQ.

Funding available

We have two intakes a year for staff to start their SVQs, with around 15 workers in each intake (April and November). We fund one group through the Voluntary Sector Development Fund (VSDF) and the other group through our training budget. This year the VSDF is for workers in care at home and housing support.

We are also looking into modern apprenticeship funding.

There are other funding options available – see the SSSC’s funding for training page.

Selecting training providers

We have used the same SVQ provider for the last seven years. This works for us because we have two intakes of workers starting each year and it means we are able to negotiate rates. It also helps that the SVQ provider has a specific interest in mental health training which suits our workers and services.

The SVQ provider goes out to services and assesses staff. I get a quarterly update from them to tell me what stage they are at and how they are getting on. This is helpful as it lets me see how workers are progressing. If someone is struggling, it means I can speak to their manager to see what extra support we can provide.

What is the difference in workers who have completed a qualification?

Completing their SVQ reaffirms the workers practice, but also gives them confidence. It makes the worker think more about their practices and increases the options they offer the people they are supporting. Staff have a clear understanding and learn more techniques to use to help someone’s recovery and to promote their independence. They realise how important the work they do is.

Managers also see a difference. Workers are much more practice and person centred and see why we have key policies and procedures in place.

What does it means for people who use services?

I do think it has a positive effect for people who use services but I don’t think they would realise that it’s because staff have completed a qualification. They wouldn’t realise that staff are changing their techniques and understanding through their learning of the SVQ.

What’s next?

With over 40 care at home/housing support services, I’m currently developing a plan of when workers should apply to register. I need to make sure workers don’t all apply at the same time as it affects countersignatories and managers. I’ll be working closely with managers on the plan.

What tips would you give employers/managers?

  • Preparation is key. Have a good database to manage who’s registering when and the qualification requirements. Use the SSSC’s spreadsheet as a starting point.
  • Keep up to date with what’s happening. Make sure you sign up to receive the SSSC’s enewsletter.
  • Voluntary organisations could join the Coalition of Care and Support Providers (CCPS) group. I find it really helpful.
  • Look out for SSSC information leaflets and posters that you can use to promote registration in your service.

Have a question for Caron? Caron’s happy for you to get in touch at caron.duffus@samh.org.uk

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