Diary of a trainee manager: ‘Our job is about more than providing personal care’

In her latest piece, graduate management trainee Natalie Crisp says her experience has shown her how social care can help people lead more fulfilled lives, and not just meet their personal care needs.

Natalie Crisp with GB wheelchair rugby captain Steve Brown

As part of the National Skills Academy for Social Care’s graduate management trainee scheme, I regularly attend development days, which enable this year’s cohort of to come together and share experiences, and also contribute towards our Level 4 Institute of Leadership and Management qualification.

This month we had a development day on personalisation and personal budgets. It sparked a debate on what a personal budget can, and should be used for, and more generally how far the state should go to financially support social inclusion. Some of my colleagues believed that in a time of austerity, the basic aspects of personal care – ensuring people were up, dressed and clean – should have a higher priority than promoting social inclusion.

Yet, as part of my placement, I have been based primarily in mcch’s engagement services, and have seen first hand the vital work that occurs there to ensure people with learning disabilities are supported to achieve their full potential and to lead fulfilled and interesting lives. This was further evidenced when I was asked to undertake  a mapping exercise of  the outcomes of the various sessions delivered  in one of the day centres. In addition to this I have also audited all of the service users’ care plans, to ensure they were up-to-date and accurately reflected the needs of the people we support.

Why social inclusion is so important

This month culminated in the organisation of a conference entitled Positive Community Engagement. The conference aimed to demonstrate exactly why social inclusion is so important, and the innovative ways in which it is being achieved. I invited all of the other graduates on the scheme to attend, and was delighted that some of them were able to come. 

The conference showcased some of the innovative work that mcch is doing in the area of accessibility. I attended a workshop on Working with Words, a social enterprise that makes information easier to understand for people with learning disabilities and low levels of literacy, and also a session on social enterprises, and opening up the world of work.

The speaker at the end of the day was Steve Brown, the captain of the GB wheelchair rugby team. His inspiring speech, which centred on his personal life story, told us to always focus on what you can do, and not what you can’t. He ended with the positive message that you should always strive to be the very best you can be. I was a little star-struck on meeting him and, rather embarrassingly, insisted on having a photo!

Unrelated to most of this, I’ve also undertaken a corporate audit of all accidents and incidents over a three-month period within mcch, and presented my findings in a report to the health and safety committee. Some of my recommendations regarding medication errors have been implemented throughout the organisation, and I have been asked to join the medication steering group as a result.

I feel as though I am continuing to learn and develop throughout the scheme, and look forward to seeing what the next month brings!

Natalie Crisp is a trainee on this year’s National Skills Academy for Social Care graduate management training scheme, for which she has been placed with learning disability, autism and mental health provider mcch.

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