Every day we come into contact with other professionals such as lawyers and nurses who are part of registered professions and it has always felt that social work is bottom of the pile. For me, PRTL is about raising our profile and putting the profession on a par with other workers. Social work requires a huge amount of skill, knowledge and experience and we should be acknowledging that and reflecting it as a profession.
For my PRTL, I’ve undertaken work-based training provided by my employer and I attend evening classes – at the moment I’m learning sign language. I’m also a registered foster carer so undertake training for that. If you are a motivated person and can think creatively about your learning you will find opportunities. Some professionals have struggled with the concept of development being something other than sitting in a training room and writing notes. If the guidance were more prescriptive, it could help those people – for example, asking for 50% structured development, but the guidance shouldn’t be restrictive. I think that the ninety hours is about right for full time staff but I think part-time workers find it more difficult and there should be flexibility for them, perhaps pro rata it with their hours for example.
In any profession, but particularly in social work, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and not take time out to look at what we do and why we do it. There’s been a huge amount of change in the sector in recent years, such as the safeguarding agenda and new initiatives on domestic violence, multi – agency initiatives etc., when changes like this happen, it’s easy for people to say ‘I didn’t know’ or ‘no-one told me’. PRTL places the responsibility back with the individual social worker to make it their business to know. It also assists managers to keep training on the agenda and make the links with staff development processes.
I do get disheartened that some social workers see PRTL as a hindrance or a chore. But the people who complain about PRTL are often those who also complain about feeling undervalued by the rest of society. What they don’t see is that PRTL can help with that – by valuing ourselves and improving our skills and experience, we will in turn be valued by others, and the profession can get the recognition it deserves.
Team manager, Children with Disabilities and Complex Health Needs
Visit the Community Care PRTL Zone