Training Blog

16th August 2018

by Gillian Austin, TSA Training Associate


The summer has been a busy time for learning, education and training.  Lots of services are accessing the one day CPD training days that support Call Handling activities, as well as the Assessing for Telecare day that supports dispersed installation activities. I’ve travelled all over the country and met committed and dedicated people who are keen to validate existing skills and learn new ones.  Services are provided in lots of different ways, but always with the same purpose of supporting people to stay safe and independent, in control of their health and wellbeing and making positive choices about their care.  I always enjoy these days, we have some great discussions, some challenging debates and I’m happy to say most people come away from the days feeling they were of use and valuable.


As you know, recognised training within industry standards for the TEC sector is hard to come by, our sector is not a recognised profession as such, and some of our roles have quite unique elements that no one else really ‘gets’.  These one day sessions meet the need for role specific training and recognise how unique some of our activities are, but what comes next?  Don’t we want to continue to develop skills and knowledge that ensures a well-trained and qualified TEC workforce? Of course we do.  Do we need very specific standalone qualifications for everything we do? Or perhaps to build general skills and knowledge in area’s that cut across the health and social care landscape. 


Flexible and often free!

I did say the summer had been busy and in June we launched the ‘Flexible Learning’ qualifications in partnership with Learning Curve Group, and showcased these at Health+Care on 27th & 28th June, followed by a rollout to all our members.  These are generic qualifications that cover a range of topic areas, and levels.  Level 2 qualifications are a great next step to continue to build that foundation of learning.  The beauty of these are in their flexibility and designed to be completed on-line.  Most courses have 2 workbooks where the learner has 3 week window to complete each one.  Learners are allocated their own ‘tutor’ who they can contact via email, text message or phone.  

Once the first piece of work is submitted, the tutor has 7 working days to mark it and feedback to the learner which is done electronically.  If the criteria is not met, the learner can review and re-submit.  Tutors can sometimes do this over the phone, or leaners can submit paper-based or electronically - whatever works for them. These qualifications are designed to build skills, knowledge and awareness and there is no pass or fail like in the old days of exams. It’s about encouraging and supporting until the level of knowledge is achieved.  There is even flexibility in the 3 week deadline per workbook, if there is a valid reason extensions can be granted if the learner notifies the learner support team. 

The end result is a nationally recognised qualification. Whilst not role-specific they explore topics that relate to our sector and are a great next step from the role specific CPD certified training days.

Of course budgets are a big concern, and if you have a training budget it’s probably not a big one.  These flexible learning qualifications are often available fully funded (depending on location), at no cost to your organisation, so that’s a win-win.  There is a registration and induction process to go through, as always these things are a little onerous, particularly when meeting funding requirements with questions asked that seem irrelevant to some.  This is just a hoop to jump through, the rewards come with the qualifications and the learner’s journey.

We have spent some time looking through all the L2 qualifications and identified some that are more relevant to TEC roles, but there are lots more to choose from so don’t limit your options:

  • Dignity and Safeguarding
  • Behaviour that Challenges
  • Dementia Care
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Information, Advice or Guidance
  • Customer Service for Health and Social Care Settings
  • Team Leading
  • Business Administration
  • Lean Organisation Management
  • Falls Prevention Awareness

Skilled through to the core

And just to pull it all together we also have the Core Competency resource, launched in April 2018 as a free resource to members certified to TSA Quality Standards Framework (QSF), or still under Code of Practise (COP). The online tool is designed to assess and test staff to ensure they have achieved or maintained the required minimum level of competence in their roles.  This is the culmination of 12 months’ work carried out with members to meet a need for a standard measure for ‘what good looks like’ across front line roles of Call Handling, Assessing and Installation of TEC, and Responder services.  On-line workshops have been held with early feedback indicating the resource is being well used to assess staff competence, with learning needs identified and support provided where staff are not meeting the required standard. 


All in all, a very busy summer.  It doesn’t stop here though, there is lots and lots to do still to develop a TEC learning pathway, with different levels of learning, formal and in-formal to support all job roles from front line to strategic.  All I can say is how very exciting for us all, and keep watching this space.



26th March 2018

by Gillian Austin, TSA Training Associate


Over the last 18 months I’ve embraced the opportunity to get stuck into something I feel strongly about - learning, education and training. It’s very important to give people the knowledge, skills and understanding to support the activities they do every day, helping service user and their families.


I’ve seen a real commitment from some organisations to support their teams through the delivery of training.  Of course, not everyone wants to attend. And that’s ok - I get that -as long as by the end of the day people get something from the training. Even if it’s just sharing experiences, it raises awareness.



Living well with Dementia – Fulfilled Lives, Carmarthenshire

A brief overview of TSA’s bespoke training package for Carmarthenshire County Council, who are changing commissioning arrangements with home care providers to enable a more proactive response to the needs of service users who are living with dementia.


Client requirements

Moving away from the traditional model of domiciliary care, we are developing a more flexible service called Fulfilled Lives, working with our framework providers, to put people at the centre of provision and to make sure that support is tailored to the individual. The Fulfilled Lives project has been selected as a Bevan Commission Exemplar project in Wales: http://www.bevancommission.org/


The ethos of the proposed model of care and support is to provide holistic support that will allow people to continue to live their life as their dementia progresses. The focus will be on the individual directing the support that they need – in partnership with the provider.


The intention of the model is to coordinate support around an individual’s network, working alongside the service user and the community to help maintain the status quo. The model aims to avoid unnecessary dependency on services and to ensure that people come in to the service at a time in their life when they are able to plan for their future and engage fully in managing their own health and wellbeing.


‘I am a dementia support worker and I have learnt so much on this two day course.  The course was a wealth of information and the group work was valuable.  I can now see that the use of appropriate technology at the right stage could benefit many of the people I work with.  This course has been inspiring’ Ty Dyffryn Extra Care


The Alzheimer’s Society report, Support. Stay. Save.’ (2011) states that maintaining independence along with remaining active and engaged are the key outcomes for people with dementia.


The role of Technology Enabled Care (TEC) is key to the Fulfilled Lives model, enabling individuals to maintain their independence in their own home for as long as possible.


Carmarthenshire County Council conducted a tendering process to commission training for care management and domiciliary care staff to raise their awareness, knowledge and confidence of how TEC should be an essential component of care planning and service delivery for individuals receiving the Fulfilled Lives service.


Working with TSA

TSA were awarded the contract to design and deliver a bespoke training package, for the group of staff involved in the pilot in the Llanelli locality within Carmarthenshire. The aim was to set the training, “Assessing for Telecare – Supporting People living with Dementia”, within the context of meeting the needs of individuals living with dementia, seamlessly blending the TEC aspects of the training with the Fulfilled Lives model aspect of the training. The initial training took place in November 2017.


‘I can now see how early intervention is so important to keep service users as independent as possible’ Social Worker


Both the Fulfilled Lives project and the training delivered by TSA have been very successful, and the decision has been made to roll out the training to the Amman & Gwendraeth Locality in Carmarthenshire during 2018.


As one of the Senior Managers involved in managing the Fulfilled Lives project, I have been delighted with the quality of the training programme design and delivery by Gill Austin, Training Associate. The feedback from both training cohorts has been excellent, with a few of the comments shown below:


 ‘I work with many vulnerable people who wish to remain as independent as possible. It has opened my eyes to further interventions...excellent training, interesting, informative and clear, thoroughly enjoyed and learnt’ Social Worker


As the roll-out of the Fulfilled Lives project continues throughout the county, we intend working with TSA again to deliver training to more staff working within our integrated Community Resource Teams as well as staff within the domiciliary care provider agencies we work with.


Debra Llewellyn, Comisiwn Bevan Commission Exemplar, Rheolwr y Rhaglen Moderneiddio / Modernisation Programme Manager


Supporting social care teams to undertake basic telecare assessments

The Telecare service in Dumfries and Galloway is jointly managed by Social Work Services and Communities. In 2017 work began to look at how the council could begin to deliver Telecare services more effectively, use resources more efficiently and ultimately increase the number of people using their service.


Client requirements

The Telecare service in Dumfries and Galloway is jointly managed by Social Work Services and Communities. In 2017 we began to look at how we could begin to deliver our Telecare service more effectively, use our resources more efficiently and ultimately increase the number of people using our service.

From our analysis we had found that a significant number of people coming to Social Work Services for the first time were referred to Occupational Therapy, Sensory Support or Telecare. Sometimes they were referred to two or even three services. This meant that people often saw three different workers for assessment and gave similar information to all three.


Watch the Dumfries & Galloway telecare service video - Live Independently with Telecare https://youtu.be/_HeXJjyGyHY


We started to explore how we could support colleagues initially from Sensory Support, Occupational Therapy and our reablement service STARS to undertake a basic assessment for Telecare. Our basic package is a pendant, base unit, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. More complex Telecare assessments for people who required more equipment would still be completed by our Telecare technician / assessors.


Working with TSA

Working with the TSA we developed appropriate training and initially ran two, one-day courses. We ensured a new process was put in place to enable colleagues who had assessed for a basic package so that installations followed in a timely manner.


Funding was agreed for two years to employ three Carecall officers who would do basic installations, care and repair and uplifts of equipment. This would free up our technician / assessors to concentrate on more complex assessments.


We then began to explore how we could support colleagues across the Health and Social Care Partnership to incorporate an assessment for a basic package into their own assessment process.


Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership was awarded funding from the National Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme, with the outcomes focussed on increasing the number of people accessing Telecare across the region. 


The primary driver behind this was the expansion of responder services into all four localities of the region, but following the creation of a Responder Steering Group it was identified that more needed to be done than just providing response. 


The Steering Group agreed that more frontline practitioners and those working within communities needed to be more aware of the benefits of Telecare. This was required so that they could have good conversations confidently with service users and their families around how Telecare could support them to remain safe within their own homes.


Discussions took place with the TSA about running five, one-day courses for colleagues across the Health and Social Care Partnership.  This training has just been completed and the feedback has been extremely positive.


We have had a great range of professionals attend including duty workers in social work teams, nurses, paramedics, community pharmacists and occupational therapists.  As a result of this, a second block of training has been booked for later in the year.