Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Formal learning in the workplace - more than just a qualification

Keywords: Learning organisations, learning to learn, formal learning

Author: Karl Stern (Perth & Kinross Council)

'Learning can be the most vital, engaging and enjoyable aspect of our personal and collective experience, equally, learning can be difficult and a source of much of our pain and failure' (Mayo et al 2000) Within human services in Scotland, recent government policy suggests that continuous learning, particularly through both formal and informal methods within the workplace, contributes to a more confident, competent workforce, which in turn, contributes to a greater quality of service.
The Scottish Executive (2006:58) stated that, 'Social work services must develop a learning culture that commits all individuals and organisations to lifelong learning and development' This goal is now one that most local authorities and related organisations within the sector aspire to and an area being afforded increasing attention both internally and externally.
How do organisations achieve these aspirations? How do they encourage and support staff towards a goal of continuous learning and what mechanisms do they need to have in place to achieve this?
Drawing on findings from a recent collaborative action research project between the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education (SIESWE) and Perth and Kinross Council in Scotland (2007), this workshop highlights, through the use of two case studies, the value of formal vocational learning within the workplace and investigates the relationship both individuals and the organisation have in developing learning cultures and increasing staff confidence and competence to improved service delivery.


Date: Thursday 24 January 2008, 2.00-3.00

Venue: Harris One

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).