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Artemis: Children's Workforce Induction Programme

Summary

Artemis: the Children's Workforce Induction Programme was launched in January 2009 as a response to the need, to ensure that all professionals working with children and young people had a common approach. Six Children's Trusts in the West Midlands took up the challenge to develop an innovative and comprehensive e-learning programme, which together with some portfolio work complies with the Common Core Standards and Government Standards. We are now rolling out this programme to other Local Authorities and wider partners.

'Jan Britton; Interim Chief Executive Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council endorses Artemis'

"I became Interim Chief Executive of Sandwell two months ago, having spent a considerable number of years working in Local Government for a number of Local Authorities. Children's Social Care is a key risk for Sandwell and I recognised from the first moment I needed to rapidly increase my understanding of this area, so was really pleased to learn Artemis was available to me, just as it is to any member of the Children and Young People's Workforce. I loved this way of learning as it enabled me to fit it around the busy schedule of a Chief Executive and the ability to take up from where I left off the last time, is fantastic. The comprehensive nature of the topics covered enabled me to reinforce knowledge and understanding from my past experience and learn new areas as well. Artemis provides great context and the additional information contained in the resource facility helped to extend my knowledge base considerably. I like the way the learning is facilitated through a series of pen pictures of children and young people, based on real case studies, as this made the learning come to life. Artemis is one of the best designed e-learning programmes I have ever seen and I am proud of the fact Sandwell MBC has been involved in this project since its first inception."

Why the initiative was created and how we did it

Artemis was born out of a need to train the children's workforce to be able to work together to help children and young people achieve the 5 Every Child Matters outcomes. Historically many organisations, areas and departments were working in isolation not realising or effectively communicating who was doing what. We came up with a ground-breaking solution!

What we did

Within the West Midlands, we decided to build an interactive e-learning programme to serve as a Children's Workforce Induction programme, and use it for both new and existing children's workforce staff. Having secured funding from IEWM, six Children's Trusts came together to form a project board. Following a European tendering process the development of the programme was initiated with over 26 key subject matter experts who worked alongside the technical partner Active Mind Solutions.

How we did it

Before commencing work, all subject matters experts attended a concentrated three day workshop to explain the aims and objectives of the programme and to develop a focus of learners achieving the expected learning outcomes. Whilst keeping a focus on standards, the key importance was on developing a tool that offered the essential learning to the entire integrated workforce from the crossing patrol officer to frontline social workers.

Role of IEWM

Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands have supported the development of this e-learning programme since its conception. It met their criteria of enabling improvement to take place in authorities across the region, and offers a very cost effective way of doing this. The programme has been self sufficient since it was launched and we welcome the ongoing development and improvements that are continually taking place. We now have a core of the Children's workforce within the region who have the same basic skills and we are delighted that other Local Authorities outside of the region continue to take up the programme.

Risks

The scale and scope of the programme were larger than initially anticipated and the number of partners added to the complexity. This was overcome through the leadership and commitment of the Project Board and project team. The programme continues to develop, and each and every evaluation has been scrutinised by the Artemis Development Group to commission small bites of work to improve the learner experience.

We know this resource is very much in need within the children's workforce and Artemis will continue to develop and improve the programme, maintaining high outcomes, but with a focus on ensuring it is affordable to the public sector market.

Adding up the benefits - ROI

5:1 Return on Investment over 5 years based on an estimated return of £2,053,000 and costs of £408,765, funded by subscriptions.

To date 3000+ people have accessed the programme. The programme improves how professionals work with children and young people. A particular benefit of the programme is that each candidate is tested thoroughly throughout the course to ensure learning is understood and embedded. The programme is motivational and intended to produce a competent, confident and world class workforce. The e-learning approach results in cost and time effectiveness as well as reduction in the carbon footprint of learners and trainers.

Identified Benefits to an Organisation

  • The learning is cost effective and subsidised achieving 87% reduction than proving the same training via face to face.
  • The continuity of learning never changes however is continually maintained and updated due to the infrastructure Artemis has in place.
  • The ability to embed the learning into the recruitment process.
  • Proven quality of content with 26 individual subject matter experts contributing to the course and certified by CPD
  • The ability to customise the course to suit a particular local area.
  • The option to use the software as a training administering tool for their own organisational needs.
  • Optional use of workbooks to compliment the induction.
  • Comprehensive support in place.

Identified Benefits to an Individual (learner)

  • Quicker completion time than completing traditional face to face course.
  • Allow learners to progress their own personal development.
  • The ability to learn at users on pace.
  • The ability to learn at own workstation or at home.
  • A safe learning environment where users will learn from mistakes without repercussion.
  • Access to a well-supported and maintained programme
  • Access to a large resource database.
  • Access to other learning modules developed by Artemis
  • The ability to leave the course and return later without losing any progress.
  • The ability to allow learners to have their say and contribute to further development.

Benefit to Children

  • A well trained workforce
  • Better outcomes for children.
  • Consistent approach from collection of LAs when staff move.
  • Parents can understand the programme and even take it.
  • Provides training to those who might not get it like receptionists etc so more likely to get better help first time

Next steps...

We believe that we are moving from working in partnership to delivering services in a truly integrated way. This will improve the efficient use of public money and provide a more effective range of learning.

Our current road map for development is:-

  • To make the eLearning content more accessible in line with our disability policy.
  • To continue to develop courses in partnership with local authority partners and affiliated organisations.
  • To refine and improve our signposting resource website
  • Develop more online learning modules using existing infrastructure and process in place.

This is a very exciting project and I hope it will eventually be recognised and utilised nationally. We believe this initiative marks a turning point in partnership working offering a better value and a sustainable product.

Contacts and further information

For more information, please contact:

   
   
Name: Matthew Davis
Job Title: Project Manager
Organisation: Artemis / Stoke on Trent City Council
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 236185
Email: matthew.davis@stoke.gov.uk
Web: www.artemis-online.org.uk
Herefordshire's launch of Artemis:

Herefordshire launched Artemis across the County in early October 2009. The launches were attended by over 300 people from every sector of the workforce. Herefordshire Council's Children and Young People's Directorate has been leading the way by using Artemis as part of the central induction programme with all services working through the programme. Whilst this is an extensive time commitment those who have used this tool have found it very interesting!


Our 14 - 19 team and CAF teams have been trail blazers but we have also had some really good response from private, voluntary and independent sectors especially early years and child care settings.


Some tools we have used to engender enthusiasm for the programme have included a pledge card and a wall of fame for completers to be able to see their name in lights!

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Specialist Services use the LMS feature:

The LMS has dramatically changed the way we administer our training courses for Specialist Services in Stoke. Gone are the days of spreadsheets with lists of names and crudely written out attendance registers on Microsoft Word.


The LMS has enabled us to provide a training catalogue in which everyone has access to from any location, whether that be from work or even from home. Below are a few reasons the LMS system has saved us so much time (and headaches) over the last year:-

  • Streamlined booking system and manager approval system.
  • No need to remind and re-advertise courses.
  • Venue finding made easier
  • Instant course evaluations done online

There are plenty more reasons I could list but in short the Learning Management System has helped us to deliver a smarter and more accessible training plan to the staff who need it most.

Sandwell rolls out Artemis to Elected Members

Sandwell is a traditionally Labour controlled Local Authority. It has a history of wide deprivation. Like many Local Authorities members therefore come from a variety of backgrounds with a range of abilities. Members have previously accessed learning and development on Corporate Parenting and Safeguarding.


Key members were identified including cabinet members for Children and Young People, Adults and Health, the Deputy Leader for Performance and the Chair of Scrutiny and other Scrutiny Panel members. The training was endorsed by the Strategic Management Team as well as the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Services.

All members had to sign up to a training date; the media attention on safeguarding at the time gave weight to this requirement. Training took place in March 2009 with follow up sessions for those unable to attend.


Evaluation from the training day showed that members were on the way to completing the modules, and Cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Ian Jones said the package was ideal to meet one of the Council's key priorities of Every Child Matters. He said: "I have already started this package and found it to be a fantastic experience. I would strongly recommend it to anyone working with children and young people in any capacity."

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