European Mentoring in Social Care

EMiSC – European Mentoring in Social Care


Partnership: Socialna asociacija Sv. Andrej Bulgaro-Germansko sdruzhenie snestopanska cel (BG), Social Care Training Ltd (UK) , Katrijn Dekoninck (inproof: international project office) (BE) , CUDV Draga (SI) , L.C.EDUCATIONAL LTD (CY) , "Kézenfogva" Összefogás a Fogyatékosokért Alapítvány (HU) , Fundatia Alpha Transilvana (RO) , C.E.C.D. MIRA SINTRA, CENTRO DE EDUCAÇÃO PARA O CIDADÃO COM DEFICIÊNCIA, CRL (PT), Job-Link vzw (BE)

De-institutionalisation & the increasing personalisation of services are changing the skills & attitudes support staff need in the EU care sector. Social care employers across the EU see that big changes are required so that services become person centred & driven by the values of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) such as rights, inclusion, choice & independence.

The workforce is huge, with a strong tradition in many places of the medical model of care – explicitly rejected by the UNCRPD as inappropriate – which needs to be replaced with a new set of values and attitudes based on the social model. This project (EMISC) is about helping bring about that attitudinal change by delineating & supporting the mentoring role in the social care workplace, aimed directly at front line workers who traditionally have had very little training or support, even though their ‘hands on’ role is critical to the well-being of people with disabilities.

This is a contribution alongside other EU wide products (such as the Basic European Social Care Learning Outcomes (BESCLO) & the European Care Certificate (ECC) which are now available in 20 states) to the creation of a European Area of skills and qualification in social care. It offers formal recognition for a role which many experienced staff already undertake when they guide and help new staff. It also opens routes for mentor and mentees to formal recognition of their learning & skill. In this workforce at this level of operation such opportunities for recognition & development are all too rare.

EMISC will produce a set of learning outcomes (LO) covering the mentoring function, with related assessment criteria, a mentoring assessment tool (MAT) and a Mentoring Training Course (MTC) to train new mentors. We will also produce a formal curriculum to support the EMISC LO. We will also produce a Train The Trainer Course as a start-up device for new countries and a formal report on the issues facing the acceptance of transnational learning outcomes, using the experience of our partners.

These products will be tested by 4 cycles of mentoring, with a control group of un-mentored candidates. All will be initially assessed and re-assessed at the end & all will sit the European Care Certificate Exam. Results will be compared to demonstrate what the beneficial impact of mentoring can be shown to be. Universal (in English) & ‘localised’ versions of all products will be freely available.

We conservatively estimate 231 people will be trained and assessed (twice) of which 147 will also receive mentoring. In addition each training partner in each state will have 4 people who are able to train new mentors and they will also have 12 trained mentors, able to use the MAT and undertake mentoring.

The partners will explore formal and informal accreditation options for the EMISC LO, including possibly creating ECVET points and using Memoranda of Understanding between regions/ states/ agencies to promote mutual recognition & acceptance of the assessment of mentors. A formal report will be compiled, using responses collected by partners in their own countries, on the issues facing the acceptance of transnational learning outcomes.

The project’s products will sit alongside the BESCLO & ECC (though they can be used independently of these) & will be promoted by the circle of ECC users in 20 states as well as via the umbrella body EASPD’s wider membership across the EU. The aim is to spread the use of mentoring as a means of driving changes in services.

The impact on service users, individual new staff and mentors will be immediate, personal and professional. Across whole teams and organisations, managers will have more options to track changes in attitudes & actions of staff in their dealings with the people they support. Inspectors, regulators and those commissioning services will also be encouraged to begin looking for mentors in the workplace. This is a low cost means of improving care services and marks a beginning of the transfer of power to people who use services. Issues of power and control lie at the heart of attitudes of staff in care services and the UNCRPD is clear with its slogan of ‘Nothing about us without us’ that staff must be prepared to empower users to get a ‘real life’ – with all that means.

Over time, this is yet another means of eradicating the old ‘medical model’ of care and creating a common foundation across all care services in the EU, based on the rights, inclusion choice & independence of disabled people seeking to take their rightful place in society.

More informations in downloadable pdf file.