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Does “Free” Care Training Cost You More ?

Does free training cost more in the long run, for care providers? There seems to be a relentless number of training providers heavily targeting the care sector, offering free qualifications taken as distance learning courses, mostly funded from Adult Education Budget (AEB). Free training sounds excellent for a care provider. You have large numbers of staff who need training, and someone is giving qualifications away free. It’s a no brainer, right? 

Well, the real answer is, it depends. It may be the perfect solution, but for many, it may well do more harm than good. The motivation for the training provider isn’t necessarily how to provide the best solution for the care provider’s learning and development requirements, its to spend the funding budget as fast as possible and then ask for an increase from the fundholder. Rinse and repeat. That’s how they make their money. 

Many training providers offering funding have no practical experience in the care sector

AEB is big business, really big business; £1.5 billion is available for 2019/20. The care sector is a prime target for AEB holders. It offers a large number of staff who fit the eligibility criteria for funding and need training in a sector where funds are tight. So what’s wrong with using the funding to finance training and qualifications? Nothing, at all. In fact, I’d encourage it, and my own company Care Skilled include all funding streams as part of our delivery solutions.

AEB budget is £1.5 billion for 2019/20

However, I see providers time and time again use distance learning as a tick box exercise to ensure “compliance”. “It’s free, and my staff are trained”, is what I hear. However, the question is, have they been trained? Doing a course and getting a certificate is not the same as being adequately trained. Are your staff better at their jobs, following training? Do they deliver better care? Have they retained the knowledge from the course three months down the line and are they applying it? How do you know? Is there any follow-up? 

Unless your staff are performing better, then any training has been a waste of time. Even if training is “free”, you have to spend money. Admin time organising, possibly wages paid to staff for attending and perhaps additional wages to other staff to cover rota gaps, all have a cost attached. All this is wasted money unless the training has been effective. So you have a nicely completed training matrix with lots of Green ticks for compliance. It’s all worthless unless skills and behaviours have improved and you can evidence that improvement. 

Care providers need to demonstrate that their staff have the knowledge, skills and behaviours for the job.

Unless you can demonstrate that your service is Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-Led, then all the inputs of training matrices, certificates, qualifications, etc. are irrelevant. To ensure that your staff are delivering a Good or Outstanding service, you need to be sure that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours for their role. You need to develop a training and development strategy that can deliver on this outcome. If that includes “free” training as part of the mix, then excellent that’s a bonus. Focusing on the “free” section of the delivery first, rather than the knowledge, skills and behaviours may cost you far, far more in the long run.

Your training strategy should come first, then look how to fund it; rather than looking for the “free” option first with no idea how that will achive your desired outcomes. 

If you need advice on how to develop and robust training and development strategy specifically for the care sector, call us. There is no charge and no obligation for an initial chat to find out more.

Teaching methods helped with retention and understanding of information.

Reablement Support Worker | Nexxus Care

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