"We have an ambitious vision for the social service workforce. That is of a workforce which is competent to respond to changing needs, confident that it can make a positive difference to people's lives and valued for the contribution it makes to Scottish society. Learning and development is integral to this vision and to equipping the sector to respond to the challenges of the 21st century."
This vision underpins The National Strategy for the Development of the Social Service Workforce in Scotland: A Plan for Action 2005 - 2010. The strategy, developed by the National Workforce Group's Education, Training and Development sub-group, sets out the need for development of the workforce and how this should be done.
The Scottish Social Services Learning Networks support development of the workforce through aiming to embed a learning culture and continuing employee development in the social services workforce. Our aims will bring together stakeholders, enable the workforce to inform national initiatives, engage with employers and facilitate effective communication of key initiatives relevant to workforce learning and development.
The National Strategy for the Development of the Social Service Workforce in Scotland: A Plan for Action 2005 - 2010 has the following key messages:
- Everyone with an interest in social services now needs to make sure the workforce is able to develop and respond positively to changing demands.
- Developing the workforce is critical to ensuring we have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time.
- To be successful in developing a learning culture everyone must play their part.
- Opportunities and choices for staff to choose how to progress in their careers must be developed.
- Users and carers must be involved in workforce development to make sure that we are able to offer services that are suited to their needs.
- We need to find effective ways for people to gain recognition for the skills they already have.
- It is everyone's responsibility to make sure that employee development happens.
- We need to create opportunities for learning and development that allow people to learn in more flexible ways.
- We need to diversify the workforce to fully reflect Scotland's population and to respond to demographic challenges.
- Supporting workforce development can benefit employers through improved staff retention and through improved service delivery.
- Employers and training providers need to work in partnership to ensure learning supply meets the needs of employers.
- Effective use must be made of existing and under-used resources to support workforce development.
- Training and workforce development must be integral to service planning.
- Leaders need to have a clear vision, be realistic about challenges and inspire and support staff to deliver the desired outcomes for service users and carers.
- Managers must see continuous improvement and development as the norm and take their staff with them to deliver their goals.
- Staff need to share the vision, contribute to making it happen, feel valued and supported and be well equipped.
Outcomes for the sector
Excellent services will be delivered by a workforce which:
- is flexible, responsive and prioritises service users' needs and those of unpaid carers;
- is competent and confident with the knowledge and expertise required to meet the needs of the changing environment;
- takes responsibility for their own learning by seeking out opportunities that meet their personal and professional aspirations and responsibilities;
- fulfils their professional responsibility of registration with the SSSC or other regulators recognised by the SSSC for work in this sector;
- is supported by organisations that prioritise employee development and have workforce plans in place;
- is supported to maximise its potential and has clear career pathways;
- maintains and develops positive working and learning partnerships with a range of other professions and across local authority and independent sectors; and
- values itself and is valued by others.
Outcomes for service users and carers
A more valued, competent and confident workforce will help service users and carers to feel:
- valued and respected;
- part of society;
- supported to achieve their goals;
- able to make choices;
- involved in the selection and training of staff; and
- more in control of their lives.