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Learning and development

We’re really proud in AfC of all the learning and development opportunities that we have available.

We have over a thousand events that we run every year and that includes one day training courses, through to face-to-face training and opportunities for staff to access accredited learning. So that might be a degree or a master’s in their business area.

Not only do we run those kinds of opportunities, staff have access to a whole host of additional support mechanisms. So for example: coaching, mentoring, and opportunities to access action learning sets.

We want to make sure that anybody that comes to work in our organisation has access to the most professional development opportunities to support them in their career development.

Our offer

At Achieving for Children we understand that training and development needs vary from organisation to organisation, and from individual to individual. That’s why we believe in the personal touch: all of our staff have access to a professional development lead who works with them to design a package to meet their needs.

This includes a tailored induction, access to a wide-ranging in-house programme, and opportunity to access a range of post-qualifying awards.

We provide a comprehensive training package for our workforce, enabling them to keep up to date with professional developments and re-registration requirements, enriching their learning and professional development experiences. This includes a structured induction, access to a wide-ranging in-house programmes, and opportunity to access a range of post-qualifying awards.

Our training offer has been praised by Ofsted, and is multi-professional where appropriate.

A clearly set out and accessible learning and development pathway is available to all staff once they have completed their probationary period. This includes:

  • funding for external and post qualifying courses
  • development pathways
  • coaching and access to training resources
  • annual professional development scheme

We have a dedicated continuing professional development website for staff.

Company induction programme

A tailored induction programme is available to support our new colleague to make the transition into your new role as smooth as possible. This includes a manager’s induction programme covering their first six months in post.

Access to Social Work Teaching Partnership opportunities

As Lead Partner in the Developing Together Social Work Teaching Partnership, our staff are able to access a regular programme of events and opportunities, including annual social work awards, practice education conferences and research programmes. You can find out about all of the breadth of benefits of working for Achieving for Children on our other pages in this section.

Developing our staff

Developing our staff extends beyond offering great training opportunities. Watch this video about the career path of one of our Business Services team to find out more:

So, five years ago, I joined AfC as an apprentice, where I completed a Business Level 2 and Level 3 course in Business Administration.

I then was provided with an opportunity to move on to a business support role, where I focused more on the day-to-day running of the Twickenham Training Centre, so, going into the rooms, making sure that it, operationally it was working to time, and also managing the reception desk.

After that, my manager at the time, encouraged – she was moving on to a different role – she encouraged me to actually apply for her role, which at the time I was a bit like, OK, I don’t know how I feel about that, but yeah, it provided me with great self-confidence, which I think I needed at the time, being quite a young person.

Everyone in my team will tell you how quiet I was as an apprentice, so I think it was a real big confidence boost.

From there, I managed to get the role, you’d be pleased to know, and then after that, I recruited my team, which was only a team of two at the time, and we focused on the day-to-day running of the Twickenham Training Centre and administration tasks from the Workforce Development leads. In between that management role and where I am today, I received a number of training opportunities, so classroom-based, as well as e-learning.

More importantly for myself was the talent management programme, which my manager at the time, kind of pushed me and nominated me for. I was also given coaching opportunities into an area which was kind of in my role, but was kind of also something a bit more personal to me of where I want to go with my career. So that was really helpful, and I think that programme really helped me shape myself and how I wanted to be as a manager and where I am today.

So I’ve now been, I’m now in a role as the Events Training Facilities Manager, across two sites, the Twickenham Training Centre and the King Charles Centre in Surbiton, where I’m looking to create commercial opportunities I’d say, for businesses who are looking to hire out our rooms. But I also manage six staff across those two locations, and our main focus is to commission the training for AfC staff and for outside partners.

Overall, I think that AfC provide the opportunities and the management that I’ve have really pushed me, but it’s also down to yourself I think. I’ve worked hard, I’ve taken those opportunities that’ve been given to me, so yeah, so yeah, that’s my story, I guess.

Social work career path

In this video, one of our social workers talks about her career path:

I have been at Achieving for Children for five years. I started my social work journey with Kingston. I completed the Frontline programme and was placed here as a student where I did my on the job training. And I did 170 days of placement within a team with a CSW, Consultant Social Worker.

And at that point I sat within a safeguarding context. So I was holding child in need cases and coworking cases. I then completed my assisted and supported year of employment in Achieving for Children, where I moved over to a referrals and assessment team.

And I spent two years in that team where I really kind of honed my assessment skills, my knowledge, and really kind of got a good feel about what thresholds were like in Kingston. And I got to do some of the work that perhaps I wouldn’t have done if I’d have gone straight into safeguarding, because you just see so much more in a referral and assessment team.

Within that team, I was supported by a really, really great manager who saw my areas of strengths, and she saw the areas where I needed to be pushed a little bit farther and where I needed to have that little bit of support to help me to develop and grow into the social worker that I am today.

So even though I was in a referral and assessment team, I was able to complete parenting assessments for the safeguarding team, which gave me some experience of court work, all be it a very small kind of snapshot of that.

After two years, I then moved over to the safeguarding team where I became a senior practitioner and I got a little bit more experience in the court arena. And I had that experience of working longer term cases of working cases where we were considering removal or had to remove children.

It’s a part of our job, but it was about doing that in a way that was positive. And was as positive as could be for that family. And I was supported all the way through that. I never felt alone in those moments. I never felt that I had to make a decision on my own. It was all about the management support that I was getting to help me and to reflect on, you know, why we were making those decisions.

So I did that for a year and then I’ve stepped up now and become a team leader. So my progression has been quick, but I’ve always been supported. I have been pushed at times when I’ve not necessarily thought that I could do things. I have had access to some of the most incredible training.

So I was funded to do my achieving best evidence training with the police. I’m now being funded to do my practice educator training. And it it’s just about me having that opportunity to expand my skillset. And that’s something that Achieving for Children really push and promote.

They want their social workers to be the best social workers that they can be. And we have the opportunity to do that. If there’s an area that you are interested in, then there is a space for you to have those conversations with your management team and to look at how you can increase those goals. And so, at the moment, I sit as a life story work champion.

So I have an interest in developing life story work for the children that we work with. And I’m on a team of people that can think about how we push that forward and how we implement that. And there is a real view of kind of bottom up thinking at times, you know, it’s about what are we saying? What are we as practitioners saying, and this is what we need. And we have a space to have those conversations with senior leadership and to really sort of explore that with them. And I think that’s just a really positive thing.

I think I’m really, really supported within this team and within this service. And I think that’s something that I can’t get across to you guys enough, is that the reason that I’ve been here for five years is because I work with wonderful people and not just my team, but the back office staff, the senior leadership team, you know, there’s a real drive for us all be together and to you know, do our jobs to the best of our ability.

And I think that’s probably why I continue to work for Achieving for Children.