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Glasgow City Council

Holding hands together

Glasgow City Council (GCC) and The Open University collaborate to bring top quality training to social care staff, which contributes to a long-standing promise of skills development and flexible learning demonstrated far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership is one of six HSCPs within the Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board. The partnership comprises 12,000 employees working across various service areas including social work, mental health, dentistry, pharmacy, home care and more.

Tony Mackie heads up the Learning & Development team which comprises 72 staff based at two training centres; included within the Team is Michelle Currie who also acts as an associate lecturer with The Open University.

GCC has a longstanding relationship with the OU in Scotland, going back 20 years, with the current collaborative teaching arrangement going into its seventh year of delivery. Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care is delivered once a year to GCC staff. The module enables staff to meet the Scottish Social Services Council registration requirements for care managers in selected settings. For Tony, working with the OU came down to the breadth and depth of quality course content.

Working with The Open University allows us to develop our staff via a wide range of qualifications. The quality of the course content, and its availability at affordable costs, meant there was almost no contest when it came to choose the university as our learning partner.

Anthony Mackie
Service Manager at Glasgow City Council

When COVID-19 took hold, GCC needed to quickly adapt how they delivered training to avoid any disruption to their learners’ progress. Across the board, the main challenge that needed to be addressed was the transfer of face to face, practical training, to an online method of delivery which was in-line with new lockdown regulations.

For over fifty years the OU has been a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Perhaps more so than in any other year, the OU’s renowned digital model of learning has proved pivotal to help learning and training continue throughout the pandemic, with Michelle conducting tutor support sessions online during lockdown. The OU also remodelled its assessment strategy for students working in social care settings to increase flexibility and support during this period.

Whilst the last year has of course been incredibly tumultuous, lockdown and periods of social distancing have also presented an unexpected opportunity to focus on some previously under-represented skills challenges.

The impact of the pandemic really forced us to focus on technical and digital skills more than ever before. The use of mobile devices, and the honing of the essential tech skills we need to use them, that came about as a result of the pandemic has actually been one of the more positive things we learned from the last year. Moving forward into an ever-more digital age, it’s essential we continue to work with training providers like the OU to ensure our staff have the requisite digital skill-sets to thrive in the future.

Michelle Currie
Senior Learning & Development Officer at Glasgow City Council