Tuesday 27 April 2010

Back to School

Last week we recruited two Expert Patient Trainers (assisted by funding from Comic Relief - thank you) to join Hafal's Learning Centre: this exciting project is a major step forward for Hafal's pioneering work in delivering high level training from the perpective of our mass membership - people with experience of serious mental illness. The expansion has prompted planning of a new phase in the Centre's development and today we decided to recruit a Centre Coordinator to organise our whole programme of training and to support our excellent Principal Irene Hogan (picture). That brings to five our staff dedicated to training supplemented by many sessional inputs by staff from other departments and freelances. We seem inexplicably but delightfully to attract teachers to work for us in all sorts of capacities: they may try to keep it a secret but Irene always finds out in the end.

The Centre has grown from strength to strength and is now able to assess and award City and Guilds, Institute of Leadership and Management, and Agored (Open College Network) qualifications. Customers include the Assembly Government, NHS, local authorities, and private sector hospitals. Hafal's services also experience the great mutual benefit of large numbers of nursing and social work placements in our projects, supervised and assessed by our qualified teachers with personal experience of illness. It will be great to expand this so that we can influence decisively the culture of mental health services in the future.

I have also rather rashly decided to manage Irene directly myself to give a little more independence to the Centre from our service management - I say "rashly" as I have so far managed to keep my head down in the face of Irene's (quite proper of course) "training for all grades" mission but will now I suspect be exposed as lacking some basic IT or similar skill and be sent back to school...unless of course I can keep her too busy to notice my shortcomings: if you would like to give Irene some work contact her at dysgu@hafal.org.