Celebrating the Achievements: Impact of Action Learning Sets

Recently, we celebrated the achievements of social worker professionals from the Partnership who completed a short course provided by London Met. Funded by the Department for Education, the course equips social workers with the knowledge and skills to set up and facilitate action learning sets (ALS) and embed the principles of ALS in their work to support strengths-based practice. 

The unique structure and aims of the training were co-designed with social work professionals, such as workforce leads who work on behalf of local authorities from the Partnership. This collaboration led to the training comprising of group exercises, work-based practice, along with self-reflection that aided individual and organisational learning.  

The training was led by Belinda Pratten, Course Leader for BSc Leadership in Communities, who is delighted with the way the course has taken off:  

Feedback has been very positive – although not without its challenges, people have shown real commitment and creativity in how they have put these principles into practice. 

At the beginning of November, last year’s participants met to celebrate their achievements and reflect on their practice. It was also an opportunity to share their learning and the different ways they had put this into practice since completing the course. Reflecting on the celebration day, Lucy Bristow, ASC Practice Lead from Tower Hamlets, said:    

It was a really helpful session, a chance to catch up with others and share the learning. I found it really motivating, a good reminder of the benefits Action Learning Sets can bring to the organisation. I have left with lots of practical ideas I am taking back to my workplace.  

Jijoy Mathew, Practice Manager from Newham highlighted how training positively impacted both their professional and personal lives:  

It was very motivational session and has given me a lot to think/reflect and made me to motivate/empower my colleagues/staffs especially staff whom I line manage. This training has changed both my work and personal life and it has in a way transformed me in a positive way that I am now less stressed mainly because I started to reflect before I respond and ask the right questions for the other person to reflect and find solutions. This training was very informative and enabled me to think and work differently. 

Seb Jonas, Community Learning Disabilities Team from Waltham Forest described the process as validating, instructive, and empowering, allowing individuals to find their own path through challenges.

What I personally found through the Action Learning Set process is that no-matter how much a problem might relate to a structural or technical issues, at the heart of most of the work we do is a human interaction or a human issue. Social work is incredibly personal, emotional work and even the most technical or administrative of tasks often relate to highly emotionally charged issues, for example as restricting someone’s liberty or removing someone from their home or safeguarding someone against incident of serious abuse or harm. Action learning sets give you an amazing set of tools for dealing with the complicated, emotionally demanding and hugely rewarding job of social work.

On the day, many spoke passionately about the impact they have made on individuals and communities through their social work practice as a result of the training. They celebrated not only individual achievements but also collective growth as they continue to strive towards improving outcomes for the people they work with. This celebration of achievements serves as a reminder of the importance of ongoing learning and collaboration between the University and its partners.