We all know that sinking feeling of being told there’s an online course that needs completing, but for the team behind Care Academy – a winner of the Digital Jersey Covid-19 Community Challenge – offering such learning has had a very different effect on some of the island’s frontline care workers, who really can’t get enough!
“We’ve seen people given the confidence to make the move into the care sector,” says Verity Sangan, the academy’s Head of Training and Education. “When the pandemic hit, the need for care workers was suddenly more acute than ever. We had people moving from hospitality to care, for example, and their ability to do so in a Covid-safe way has been a joy to witness.”
Care Academy was awarded £5,000 last May as part of a fast-turnaround project to identify digital businesses that could benefit from a financial boost to help Jersey tackle the pandemic.
The money was used to develop the back engine of the academy’s digital platform where training courses on a range of care-related matters are delivered, using a multi-media format to keep things engaging and educational, and continually iterated to meet the needs of users and the requirements of the care regulator.
“It’s been a whirlwind journey,” added Verity. “We’ve grown to an incredible 1,600 users who’ve now, collectively, graduated more than 7,000 of our certified courses, from a Covid awareness module based on the best advice from the World Health Organization, through to core workplace essentials such as manual handling and fire safety.”
The feedback has been so positive, as has user retention, that the suite of courses available is now being expanded into more specific areas such as dementia awareness.
“From starting the online platform initially just to support our own staff in the LV Care Group, and not knowing whether it would last five days, we now have a long term plan and a platform that is supporting hundreds of people across Jersey, and is beginning to gain interest and users from other island locations,” said Verity. “We’ve gathered thousands of pieces of individual feedback which is helping us understand, in great detail, what users do and don’t like about their learning experience, about the structure of the courses, and about which specific areas they’d like to see modules and courses focused on.”
The fast expansion, development and continued iteration of a digital platform to meet a specific need was exactly why Digital Jersey created the Covid-19 Community Challenge.
Digital Jersey CEO Tony Moretta said: “What Verity and the team at Care Academy have done is shown how all things digital can be used to make a difference in a real world setting. In the early stages of the pandemic there was a need to fast-track training and understanding in an ever-changing situation. But, since then, they’ve gone on to consolidate that experience to create a digital learning hub which is helping our care sector attract new staff, and helping aid retention by giving both individuals and care providers an ability to invest in their own professional development.”
Something that began “without much of a plan”, to quote Verity directly, is now very much a central part of Jersey’s education provision for carers.
“I just want to thank every single learner who’s join us on this journey,” added Verity. “A simple idea , catapulted forward with the support of Digital Jersey, is now showing how digital learning can make a difference to one of the most important careers in our island, caring for our community and most vulnerable at a time they need us more than ever. That’s pretty special.”