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1. Understand the principles of professional development

1.1 Explain the importance of continually improving knowledge and practice

It is important for me to continually improve my knowledge and follow best practice. I need to ensure that I am aware of and follow current RQIA Minimum Standards, Supporting People QAF and NISCC standards. By doing this I am following current legislation and guidelines for continued good practice in my work setting. This then in turn provides the best possible outcomes for my service users. By learning new skills and attending mandatory training with regular updates enables me to increase my knowledge and progress my working practices. It also assists me to be responsive and adaptable when requirements change.

Continued personal development also needs to be extended to all members of the team. When I attend training I can pass on what knowledge I have gained to them however, by providing staff with training and qualifications such as QCF it will improve their knowledge, skills and competence. I also feel that CPD increases confidence and self-esteem within the staff team and promotes good working practices. Triangle provides staff with QCF qualifications that helps to create a qualified workforce as well as promotional opportunities. I feel this will also assist with retaining staff as they do not feel they have to move to a different organisation in order for them to develop within their careers.

Personal development not only benefits me and my staff team but also the organisation as a whole, but most importantly the services users to whom we are providing a service.

1.2 Analyse potential barriers to professional development

Within the workplace there are barriers to professional development. Budget implications can restrict what finances are available to assist staff to avail of professional courses offered in local colleges and universities. Restrictions are imposed on support staff who are eligible to register on QCF level 2 courses, however level 3 is only offered to Team Leaders and not currently available to support staff who wish to progress. Restrictions of the service can also be a barrier to staff who are willing to fund their own professional development course, as I am not always able to release staff to attend classes due to staff shortages. Ambition is individualised and not all my staff are willing to develop as they state they are satisfied within their current role and do not wish to progress in their careers.

Other barriers may involve people’s ability to learn, for example a staff member who has a condition such as dyslexia may be resistant to professional development as they don’t feel they have the ability to achieve. Staff who may have had a poor learning experience in the past may also be reluctant due to lack of confidence in a learning environment. Some staff may have issues within their home life and don’t feel able to commit to development due to other priorities.

1.3 Compare the use of different sources and systems of support for professional development

Formal Support
Formal support systems that are used in Triangle’s workplace to support professional development are the use of formal appraisal and supervision sessions for all members of staff. Another method of formal support that I would complete with Support staff and Team Leaders is Medication competency assessments. All these methods are arranged in advance with the staff aware of what will be discussed and what will be achieved from this.

Informal Support
Informal support systems that are used in the workplace can be identified in the form of emails. E.g. There are new guidelines in terms of recording accidents and incidents, I have referred staff to view the presentation on line to view this information.

Supervision is currently done on a quarterly basis with substantive members of staff. Supervision can be carried out on an individual basis or as a group. Discussions take place to reflect and evaluate performance during the period and how the member of staff can improve their working practices. It can also be an opportunity to acknowledge what a staff member has done well.

Appraisals are carried out on an annual basis and actively involve employees understanding of what is expected of them. By setting agreed objectives with your line manager and then reviewing the results at an agreed later time, the staff member is made responsible for their own performance. Appraisal is an opportunity to review strengths and weaknesses, to take an overall assessment of work content, loads and volume and to look back on what has been achieved already and to set realistic goals and objectives for the following period.

Mentoring in the workplace can be described as a relationship in which a more experienced colleague uses his or her greater knowledge and understanding of the work or workplace to support the development of a more junior or inexperienced member of staff.

Within the organisation

Beyond the organisation

1.4 Explain factors to consider when selecting opportunities and activities for keeping knowledge and practice up to date

Factors which I consider to keep my knowledge and practice up to date as well as my staff members is the importance of attending appropriate training courses as well as updating regularly. Triangle housing provides a range of mandatory training courses such as first aid and manual handling, as recommendations change it is important staff are using the most up to date methods. Factors to consider in terms of training are financial implications, is the training cost effective? What is the staff member going to gain from the training? Can staff be released from their duties to attend?

RQIA, SP and NISCC provide regular newsletters and updates to inform us of any changes in legislation, this is a good way of keeping up to date with current standards and recommendations. It is more difficult to share these changes with staff as some feel “it is not part of their role”. I share updates during team meetings and also display articles and other information on staff notice boards for their attention. However I feel this information is not always taken on board.

During Supervision and Appraisal I look at staff personal development individually. We discuss what training or qualifications the individual would like to pursue and how we can best meet this objective. I again consider cost implications, whether the course is accredited, is it appropriate to their current job role and if it benefits the individual and the organisation.

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