2021 was an incredibly busy year for the TEC sector and I think we have all now adapted to our new “normal”. Emails and phone calls are now replaced with virtual calls and meetings, including guest appearances from family members and pets. Introducing virtual delivery of the training last year was daunting, and a learning curve for us all. From my perspective it was understanding how to use all the different platforms, how to engage with people in the same way as we used to in when delivering the training face-to-face. Always learning new skills, and now it feels like the “norm”.
The launch of the Academy at virtual ITEC conference back in March really opened the TEC sector’s way of thinking and changed the way that we develop our Workforce.
We are looking beyond the role and looking at the people. Isn’t that what we encourage our services to do? Be person-centred, focus on the person and what’s important to them. Our Academy has done just that. To support the TEC sector, we have created many new courses that help to build the knowledge, skills, and behaviours of our Workforce, and in return our services. We have been working with teams to help them understand the importance of their role, building the knowledge of services and communities in understanding what TEC is and how people can benefit from engaging with it. The courses are designed to be tailored to your organisation, to your needs, and the needs of the sector. Because of this flexibility, we have had the pleasure of working with several organisations in creating Learning Journeys which will begin to be delivered in 2022. Driving their TEC services forward within their communities, looking at their entire workforce that engages with TEC – carers, family members, support staff, frontline staff, team leaders and managers.
One of the many things I admire having worked in this sector for so long is that we work together. When the going gets tough, we roll up our sleeves and we get stuck in. Even more so since the first lockdown in March 2020. Now more than ever the people who use our services need us, and our Workforce is doing everything within its power to make sure that this is achieved. I have spoken with teams that have rallied round to cover a shift if a colleague needed to isolate, each taking a couple of hours and a night shift starting earlier to ensure that the service continues. This, in conjunction with the more challenging calls is taking its toll on our Workforce. The increase in volume of calls from people with anxiety, or dementia who don’t understand why families aren’t visiting as much, or why everyone is covering their faces. Increased mental health calls, suicide calls or calls with people at the end of their life waiting for an ambulance.
To support our sector, I have worked with Chris, one of our Associates with a wealth of knowledge and understanding in the field of mental health and mental health awareness. We have created two new courses that focus supporting teams to manage these situations – Mental Wellbeing of Call Handlers and Challenging Calls within a TEC Service. These courses look at not only the types of calls that are increasing, how we manage these calls and the organisational policies and procedures; but how they affect us, and how to manage these calls effectively.
In addition, working with Ian, one of our Associates we have developed a Customer Service and Sales Techniques in TEC course. This course focusses on developing the skills of Customer Service Advisors to help them identify the needs of prospective customers to be better placed to advise on solutions available to support individuals and give peace of mind to families. This will help to ensure people to get the right technologies to support their independence and give them and their families peace of mind.
2021 was an exciting yet challenging year. The TEC sector has thrived and working together we have grown to new heights. Our services, and our Workforces are thriving and adapting to new challenges, implementing more proactive services to support people to remain at home. This year, we look forward to beginning to deliver our Learning Journeys, and working with you to develop new courses, develop new skills and broaden the knowledge of your Workforce and our sector even further.