Workplace Change Makers Award
Ceredigion Council Learning and Development Team
When the first UK wide lockdown hit during the Covid19 pandemic, Ceredigion Council’s Learning & Development team knew they had a big task on their hands. Debbie Ayriss, Learning & Development Manager, explains: “We cancelled the next few months’ worth of face-to-face training and as the situation unfolded, we ended up cancelling everything in the diary for 12 months.”
“We quickly started upskilling ourselves to deliver training online and we also needed to adapt our courses so they’d work virtually. It was a huge challenge. I’m really very proud that our little team got up and running within a matter of weeks and one of the first courses was on dealing with loss and grief as a care-worker.” “We wanted to help social care workers during this time. We put together e-learning modules which would normally take three months to develop and test but we managed to pull together and get the courses out in four weeks.”
While the team were helping council staff get to grips with online working, modules such as Introduction to Social Care and Personal Care, Manual Handling, Infection Prevention & Control were also rolled out: “Many staff had been newly recruited including the Test, Trace & Protect Team, while some existing staff were redeployed to frontline roles working in the community, so really needed the training.” Before Covid, Jenny Thompson was working as a kitchen assistant in a school and a cleaner at the council’s Independent Living Centre. She was redeployed into the Social Care Enablement Team who provide care and support in people’s homes. First working on a relief basis, she has since secured a permanent role as a Care & Support Worker.
Jenny said: “I completed lots of training including moving and handling of people and this eased me in and made me feel more equipped for a new role. I am now doing a job I enjoy and without the training I wouldn’t have got as
far as I have.” Together with Wales Union Learning Fund, Hafan Cymru and Ceredigion County Council’s Employee Health and Wellbeing Officer, a significant programme of Wellbeing and Mental Health support was also provided which included, for the first time ever, a series of Menopause Awareness sessions. The provision of online training has seen the number of staff attending courses increase. A total of 11,577 staff joined sessions between April 2020 to March 2022, an increase of 4% on the previous two years and planning continues for the future. “We have made changes that will have a lasting effect and they are some of the positives that have emerged out of Covid. But we still have work to do on digital skills which is next on our To Do list”.