Like most people I have a number of projects that I am particularly proud of, and these pages will showcase some of them for you.
They are on the list because I had fun doing them, or I worked with a particularly talented
colleague, or the outcome exceeded expectations. In some cases the sheer relief of
finishing them gets them a mention!
I've picked a range of examples that fit an unexplainable and somewhat idiosyncratic set of criteria.
ADVANCED SUPERVISION SKILLS
Advanced Supervision Skills could have been placed in with Training Packages in this Show-Offs list but sits separately and at the top because of my active and on-going involvement for over 30 years. In 2013, thanks to some Government funding an opportunity that led me into partnership with Curtin University and working alongside Kate Duncanson in presenting to Allied Health Professionals. Since then we have facilitated courses in Perth, Albany, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Singapore with more than 1000 people attending.
It makes the show-off list because co-working alongside Kate has generated fresh energy and provided the chance to critically reflect on every aspect of the 3-day course. We have continually made adjustments and believe we offer one of the most comprehensive and practical courses on the topic in Australia.
I wanted to test out a theory that motivation was just a state of mind and therefore in my control. I wasn’t particularly interested in dance but decided to run with an idea I picked up in London. The idea was to organise a
10-hour dance event where people attending would
get a basic lesson in 10 different styles ranging from
line-dancing to tango, swing to salsa.
500 people attended the first event in the Fremantle Town Hall so we repeated it the following year and also took the event to Bunbury.
THE GREAT BIKE HIKE
The Great Bike Hike left Perth on 19th August and cycled into Broome on 15th September. Rest assured I didn't actually go anywhere near a bike but I was contracted, along with Cindy, to support the project in the communities they passed through on the way. The project aims were to promote the Count Me In State Government initiative. Count Me In a guide for all Western Australians when responding to people with disability - politicians, disability organisations, mainstream agencies, businesses and communities.
Our job was to engage and support the communities on route. As it turned out some personal issues meant I had to return to the
UK for a few weeks and with other work commitments Cindy did the vast share of the work. It was however a great success and I'm very proud to have been involved.
A YEAR IN HACKNEY
Senior Child Protection Training Officer
In 1999 I moved to London and spent a year working in the London Borough of Hackney. The post had been vacant for 18 month. There were no records to be found and I was offered a computer that had less functionality than my current mobile phone. Hackney is not without its problems but I was well supported by Yolanda, my boss.
I set about putting systems in place, running some basic courses and generally being the 'happy-chappy' around Morning Lane, the
run-down offices in the heart of the Borough.
I'm particularly proud of the multi-agency training I developed and ran, the Memorandum of Good Practice programme that I
co-facilitated with Debbie Townsend from the Metropolitan Police, and the introduction of the Assessment Framework. This later work allowed me to once again work with Liz Gosling who has been an inspiration and mentor over many years. I assisted with the proposal for Quality Protects funding and, after I resigned, I developed and presented Management Training on a number of occasions for the Early Years section.
I have fond memories of Ann Hollerbrand (finance), Isabel Trowler (then policy, now running the world), Paula Yeoman (now back in NZ as a journalist), Donna Lafaiette (lost in translation), Yvonne Sparks (from Education and now running the UKs best B&B) and Cynthia David (from Early Years, and still with the Learning Trust)
Hackney was an organisational nightmare, a political nut-house and an administrative maze - I loved every minute of my time there!
FAR SOUTH-WEST PRACTICE TEACHERS CONSORTIUM
In April 1989 The Central Council for Education and training for Social Work (CCETSW) approved a new strategy for tackling concerns about the quality of practice learning opportunities for students undergoing qualifying training. A key element in this strategy was the agreement that all students would eventually undertake practice under the supervision of an accredited practice teacher in an agency approved by CCETSW for that purpose.
Along with Avril Bellinger I was contracted to co-direct the inaugural programme. My main responsibility was the development of the policies and procedures to be used for assessing the practice teachers and the management of processes with the first intake.
Our work that year laid the foundation for further development and although I left it behind to come to Australia it was in safe hands with Avril.
As a very early contract in my freelance career its success was a great confidence booster for me to continue in private practice.
Strong Families was an across-Government programme that was very close to my heart. It brought together agencies to develop joint strategies for helping families with complex social problems. When the tender was advertised I was very anxious to win it, and thrilled when I did. I was guided by the highly talented Project Officer Rae Markham, and co-worked the training with Darryl Henry over a 2 year period.
The 12 newly appointed co-odinators were highly motivated and the programme soon gained a reputation for quality outcomes. I maintained contact with Rae and Cheryl Mavor who followed her in the job and many of the original 12 coordinators. The programme recently ended but my belief in independently facilitated action plans for families remains as strong as ever. Recently I was lucky enough to present part of the course I developed to 60 Family Service Centre staff in Singapore.
Understanding and Responding to Domestic Violence
Just 6 weeks after arriving in Australia a chance encounter at a birthday party led to me writing Undertsanding and Responding to Domestic Violence for the Office of the Family. As is often the way with Government it was a good few years before it was published, but nonetheless it was run many times. In doing the work I met Lois Gatley, and that led to an enduring friendship with both her and Patrick, her husband. Lois was a constant support and inspiration to me for over 20 years.
Joint Approach to Child Abuse
Arriving back in Australia after a year in London, I was asked to re-design the Police and Social Worker training in Joint Interviewing in
cases of Child Abuse. The relationship between the two agencies can be strained, to say the least, as they come from very different philosophical backgrounds and developing a model that they both can use to the best interest of the child is crucial. In the past there
had (from both sides) been resistance to attending the course but I am proud to say that the re-design was well received and the
course very quickly gained credibility - and a waiting list!
A few years later WA opened a specialist unit with a dedicated joint team of social workers and police officers.
The course was extended and is now run in-house.
Preparation for Adoption Workshops
People wishing to adopt a child are required to attend training before they can proceed with the application, and along with
Lana Glogowski, I was contracted by the Department for Child Protection to run Preparation for Adoption, and Separation
and Attachment Workshops.
There are a few things that make these workshops unique; the participants come as couples, which is very different and they are also have an emotional 'charge' as the couples want to be parents and are generally experiencing difficulties with that.
CERTIFICATE IN SOCIAL SERVICE
In 1979 Devon, Cornwall and Somerset Social Services along with Cambourne College, The College of St Mark & St John and Tiverton College embarked on a unique and innovated course for social workers. I was appointed by Devon as a study supervisor and began my career in training and development. The key aspect of this course was that it was both jointly developed and managed and as such gave rise to a healthy conflict which ensured a relevant and contemporary qualification for a group of workers who had hitherto been largely ignored by both employers and academic institutions.
I was most closely involved with the development and monitoring of the assessment of students and have carried that learning and skills as a supervisor all through my working life.
Thanks go to Helen Hill for taking the risk and employing me, to the college tutors Veronica Dey, John Collins and Roy Ledger for what they taught me and to my fellow study supervisors on the scheme. As always, it is the to learners that the biggest thanks should go. It wasn't until many years later that I realised how good they are as teachers.
The whole programme was admirably held together by Yvonne Hensman who kept us real and provided much needed professional aministrative support.