Published: 24/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5944 Page 39

A dedicated and flexible support programme is the REWARD on offer to administrative and clerical staff at the North East London Mental Health trust in a scheme geared to help identify individual training needs.

REWARD (recognise, equip, work together, appreciate, reproduce best practice, deliver) spells out the values implicit in the project, now nearing the end of its second year. It received a successful evaluation at the end of its first year and there have already been encouraging enquiries about a third year due to start this coming April.

The programme is purposefully flexible to allow employees with different experiences and responsibilities to recognise their own needs within a personal development plan.

The vital contribution of the admin and clerical group to the overall work of the trust is stressed at an opening Service and People Development Day. Armed with a more informed understanding of their role staff go on to consider their needs and plan a programme based on their job profile.

One-day courses offered by support staff development coordinator Beverly Hoyte include facets of the knowledge and skills framework such as communication, service development. They include time-management and assertiveness training and are useful in portfolios when applying for vocational schemes.

Redbridge College delivers a mix of on-site NVQ modules in customer care, administration and management and some senior administrators with management diplomas have moved on to two-year foundation degrees.

There are also two secondary advantages to a regular training programme for this staff group.

Many staff had felt more confident about putting themselves forward for other posts. One employee was so encouraged by her training that she moved to an advisory job in a community-based venture. Others, particularly those working in isolated posts, have gained from the more immediate access to information that they otherwise might not have come across.

For more information call Beverley Hoyte on 020-8970 4167.