Continuing professional development is one of the best ways to improve your skill set and progress up the career ladder. There are lots of different courses and seminars available for qualified social workers who want to complete further training. Some of these courses are useful to all social workers, whereas other courses are better suited to people who want to specialise in one particular area of social care.
Social workers are not given first aid training as standard; however many qualified social workers consider this to be a major oversight in the qualification schedule. Social workers in some areas are quite likely to encounter accidents and injuries, so it can be important for them to understand what actions they need to take. Good first aid skills can help to reduce the impact of a serious accident and can help clients to ensure that they get access to the right treatment for minor incidents. Being able to administer quick and correct first aid can help to save lives.
First aid is particularly valuable for social workers who work with a client base who are likely to injure themselves more regularly, due to existing physical vulnerabilities or due to mental conditions which make them less risk averse. For example, a social worker who works with adults with learning difficulties may find that their client has injured themselves whilst trying to make a cup of tea. Their client may be unsure about how to deal with the burn. A qualified first aider can provide initial treatment and assess whether the scald or burn is serious enough to warrant further medical attention. Basic First Aid courses are available from a wide range of providers across the country.
Mental Health First Aid
It is now possible for social workers to do a course in “Mental Health First Aid”. A mental health first aid course helps people to try to spot the first signs and symptoms of a mental health concern. Providing the right treatment for mental ill health in the first instance can help to prevent symptoms from worsening and being harder to treat.
Health and Safety
The Health and Safety at Work Act stipulates that all employees should have relevant health and safety training. Every organisation should provide basic health and safety training to new employees as part of the induction process. There is no definitive list of the points which should be covered during the induction, because each role and organisation has different working requirements. Basic points which may be covered (depending on the requirements of the job) can include; safe use of computer technology, lifting and handling techniques, and advice about reducing slips, trips and falls.
The BASW regularly runs courses about new pieces of legislation which have been introduced which may affect the way that social workers do their jobs. They aim to help to ensure that the standard of care remains consistent across the country, whilst helping social workers to understand the new legislation in an easily digestible way. Legal texts can be difficult to understand, so these courses help to break legislation down so that it is more relevant to the staff who it affects.
The BASW also runs refresher courses on pieces of legislation which have existed for a long time. For example, there are regular refresher courses on the Mental Capacity Act, because this piece of legislation remains relevant to a huge number of social workers in the United Kingdom.
Best Interest Assessor (BIA)
A Best Interest Assessor qualification gives a social worker the tools which are required to make Best Interest decisions. These are decisions which are taken on behalf of people who lack mental capacity, as per the Mental Capacity Act of 2005. A Best Interest Assessor may be required when a person is receiving care or treatment which they are unable to provide informed consent for, due to a lack of mental capacity. Decisions on treatment must be made with the client’s best interests at heart. Their best interest may not always be clear cut, because a person centred approach is needed. A qualified BIA must be able to consider a wide range of different factors and be happy to justify the decisions that they have made on behalf of a person who cannot make their own informed choices.
Risk management training is very important for social workers in various settings. Although basic risk management training is included in most social work qualifications, advanced risk management training enables participants to develop a stronger understanding of how to manage risk amongst the highest risk groups. Strategies are designed to safeguard clients, social workers and members of the public. These courses are ideal for people who want to work with high risk groups, such as violent offenders or those who have been charged with committing sexual offenses.