1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a residential care officer I am part of a team that provide short term respite for children with special needs. We offer overnight stays for the young people to have some time away from home to socialize as well as providing parents/carers with a needed break. We offer activities such as bowling/swimming/trips to the cinema alongside a variety of 'in house' activities for all our young people to experience whilst they are staying with us.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The training has mainly taught me to utilize the skills I already had (when working as part of a team how to make the most of this and be effective in doing so). Many of the questions I had to answer through my training made me think about why we do when we do within my job role and how this best enables our young people to develop and grow whilst they are with us.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Although I had not completed my qualification currently I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to take part in this as previously I had only my GCSE qualifications to assist in my future. I enjoy the fact that it makes me think about how I do my job and has made me evaluate why the work we do is so important to the young people I care for in enabling them to develop to each their potential.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I find it is very well organized - set out well online where I can track my progress and see what assessment I will be completing next. The questions I answer online are set out well and lead into the next assignment so that they follow on from each other and are consistent. My tutor is always incredibly quick at responding if I have a query of if I need to make contact to alert them that my assignment may be late due to work/family commitments.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Both my employer and employees have been incredibly supportive - giving me help if there is a question on my assignment I am struggling to answer. I have been allowed time whilst at work to go in the office to complete some of my work as I often struggle at home due to family commitments. My employer has given a lovely review when asked by my assessor which boosts confidence in my ability to complete the course.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I find my tutor incredibly helpful when I email/call for support. My tutor has been very good throughout the covid pandemic, where they would have previously been out to do any assesments within my work place they have been happy to do this over the telephone so that my work does not fall behind. My tutor is always very supportive when giving feedback and whenever I have emailed to say I am not sure if my answer is thorough enough I have always received positive support.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I feel it has really helped me understand my role and understand how the children within our care develop mentally and physically. Although I have worked within special needs for many years I feel the training as been very beneficial as it has put together the pieces I was unsure about (the training got me to look at why the young people display the behaviours they do) which has allowed me to look at the way I work to ensure this best suits the individual young person.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Within my work we aim to allow our young people to participate in as many social activities as possible. Although there are some that our young people would not be able to access (many of our young people struggle to cope with busy/noisy places such as big events/sports events) we do our best to take them to the places we feel they would be comfortable (swimming/bowling/cinema when it is an older film that would not be as popular so that the cinema is not full). Our staff attend a 'team day' each year where the staff complete team building exercises to ensure we can still build and adapt on our own skills and are able to still successfully work as a team.
9a. Would you recommend Lincolnshire County Council to a friend?
Whilst in my role there has been lots of encouragement to develop through training/job opportunities to further my career. During the covid pandemic they have done their best to ensure we where kept safe and accepted when we had to change our working hours due to family commitments. The team that I work with have been supportive throughout and pull together as a team. When I have finished this qualification it will be good to see what opportunities will be ahead for me to continue to learn.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Lincolnshire County Council?
Be well prepared for your interview and ensure you are able to communicate well your skills and how these would work well within your role. Utilise any previous experience you have and ensure you are able to work both independently and within a team. The young people I work with within my role teach each one of us something new on a daily basis and it can give a big satisfaction to see them develop and grow into young adults. This role can provide a great number of experiences when working with these young people and there are often opportunities to go further with training/applying for a higher post when they become available.