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Learning and development is at the heart of professional culture

Toby VeilBrandon’s learning and development manager, Toby Veil, explains why continued professional development is so important, especially in social care, and how we position learning and development (L&D) at the heart of Brandon’s professional culture.

In this blog:

  • Learning and development in social care
  • Why L&D matters
  • What is the L&D offer at Brandon?
  • What does learning at work mean at Brandon?
  • Want to work with us?

Learning and development in social care often feels like it’s at a pivotal moment, with positive changes permanently on the horizon for our workforce as we strive to continue developing exceptional staff for the people we support.

That has never been more relevant than in 2024, with the national rollout of specialist Oliver McGowan Autism Training for all Health and Social Care providers and the launch of the Government’s new social care workforce career pathway in the coming months.

The national career pathway will identify social care as a life-long career that will allow people to make recognised professional progress in a sector that they love and thrive in.

Brandon is embracing these changes. Autism has been our specialism for 30 years, it’s our bread and butter, and we will continue to deliver our own best-practice autism training to all colleagues with our frontline autism leads, who have a wealth of experience as specialists.

We are also delighted to be partnering with the Department of Health and Social Care to pilot the pathway scheme to ensure the new roles and skillsets will deliver what the people we support need.

Why L&D matters

L&D is the cornerstone of high-quality social care. We teach and reinforce a consistent approach to support that is always person-centred and focussed on quality, safety, freedom of choice, and outcomes.

Much of the training provided in social care is inevitably designed to be life-saving but we also enable staff to deliver the best possible life-enhancing support to the people we are responsible for.

A good training package allows staff to feel comfortable and confident within their role from day one – and good training will also enable us to spot the potential for abuse and neglect at the earliest opportunity and to report any concerns immediately.

Of course we face challenges; standards change, policies change. What was the right way to do something today, won’t be tomorrow, and we cover more than 40 subjects as in-house training experts.

When a training package is commissioned, it can take up to three months to write and present, using our own Brandon experts if they are available. It takes so long because we make sure training is created collaboratively, to remove the risk of a closed culture in which it is only one person’s opinion or perspective.

We also conduct constant peer reviews and our experts are expected to regularly update their own Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and professional knowledge.

At Brandon, we also prefer to train a team together, allowing for greater conversation and for the sessions to be tailored to the needs and aspirations of the individual/s they support. We’ve also adapted to the new virtual post-pandemic world, which means while we prioritise in-person training, being able to deliver to anyone, anywhere, has its benefits.

What is the L&D offer at Brandon

Our L&D team is responsible to the people we support and to the staff who provide the support, and we have exceptionally high training standards we expect to meet.

There are a variety of roles within the L&D team. I’m the learning and development manager and I oversee our operational trainers who deliver the majority of our mandatory courses across all of our geographical areas, including but not limited to, induction for new starters.

The operational trainers all have passions for particular subjects and therefore also deliver bespoke courses as subject experts.

We also have a team of experienced practitioners. These staff hold other operational roles, such as locality managers, team leaders or area managers, but will excel in one subject in particular, such as autism, epilepsy, or positive behaviour support. These colleagues have frontline experience at Brandon and hold high qualifications in their chosen subject.

We also have our specialist leadership team, who concentrate on developing and training new and existing managers, and our early careers lead, who focusses on external qualifications within the varied roles and the exhilarating world of qualification funding.

What does learning at work mean at Brandon?

Learning and development doesn’t end at the training room door. We know that staff will not learn everything they need to know. L&D provides the tools, imparts the knowledge, and explains the ‘why’. We make sure staff are asking themselves:

‘Why do we do what we do?’

‘How does our own behaviour impact the individuals we support?’

‘What would be a better way of doing it?’

The most impactful training is driven by the group dynamic and the way in which the trainer facilitates knowledge through conversation and discussion.

I’ve worked in social care for 22 years and I have witnessed first-hand what can go wrong if training is neglected. I’ve seen training fail and I’ve also seen training succeed. I’m very proud of the work we are doing at Brandon, which is ensuring that we are respecting every individual and enabling the people we support to live outstanding lives and outwardly thrive.

Toby Veil
Learning and Development Manager


Want to work with us?

If you’re looking for a change of role or want a career in social care, you can find out more about working with us and browse all our current vacancies in the jobs section of our website.