A lot is made of Basic Skills, or Skills For Life as it is now known, and quite rightly so.  At a recent Social Care Institute of Excellence conference, one of the break-out sessions was to discuss questions around the SISCo project.

Now Skills For Life is an umbrella term for basic numeracy and literacy skills, described by NCFE as:

“the ability to read, write and speak English and to use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and society in general”.

Okay, fine and I am not going to argue that a certain level of English (both written and spoken) and basic Mathematics should be a key (‘Basic’) skill for Care Workers, but I will argue that there are other areas that I would determine as ‘basic skills’ that should also be considered and tested as part of a ‘Care Skills For Life’ programme.

NCFE agree with one of the areas –

“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and ESOL (English for Speaker of Other Languages) are also recognised and included in this definition of Skills for Life”.

One area that I raised at the conference was that of Time Management – consider these scenario’s:

1. A care worker incorrectly spells the word Paracetamol on Mrs. Jones’ Medication Chart.
2. A care worker is late arriving at Mrs. Jones and as a result misses giving her 11am medication.

Which one has more impact on the Service User?  Poor time management is almost expected in many walks of life, I am not the best – how many times have I been rushing through the nursery door at five past six saying “sorry I’m late”?  But in Care it is vitally important.  If a Care Worker cannot plan and manage their day – arriving at the correct time for visits, getting people up at the time they have asked for, etc, the disruption for a Service User is potentially immense.

Yet I have not yet met a Care Provider that includes Time Management training in their portfolio of courses.

Perhaps Basic Skills for Care does not conform totally with the Skills for Life definition?