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10th October 2014

Building a portfolio

Building a portfolioOne of the key issues for a staff training policy is ensuring staff maintain a record of their learning, and that should be more than just a folder of training attendance certificates. It should include evidence of what the staff have learnt, and there are plenty of learning opportunities outside formal training sessions. So what can staff do to show evidence of their learning? A portfolio of continued professional development can be a useful tool in supervision to review learning, help provide evidence for professional registration, is often a feature of vocational qualifications, and can be a useful tool in career progression. The QCS Training Policy and Procedure shows how personal development can help meet individual staff training needs.

Reflective learning

I came across a useful article in Nursing Times when I was preparing for a portfolio building session with a group of Approved Mental Health Professional students. Helpfully this article categorised the different types of evidence that workers might include in a portfolio. You can read the whole article here.

Assessing yourself

First of all the article suggests you compile some evidence of self-assessment. This might include your own reflections on day-to-day work, possibly in the form of a journal. Remember that a portfolio should not include information that could identify a service user (or other worker). It can be a useful learning tool to write about things that went well, or things that didn’t go well. Portfolios of learning should be about what you have learnt, not how good you are!

Getting feedback

Secondly, it suggests you collate evidence of constructive feedback. The kind of things that might go in here are witness statements, from colleagues or managers about a piece of work you have undertaken. Remember a witness statement should be on headed notepaper, and signed by the witness, and who they are. Perhaps you have given a presentation on a course you have attended, or led a discussion at a team meeting.

On-the-job learning

Thirdly, the article suggests evidence of work-based learning. This might include a reading list of books and articles you have read, or perhaps what you learnt on a visit you have made to another unit or team of workers.

If you do use this format for compiling evidence try and get a balance from of each of these three categories. The key to all these pieces of evidence is they are not just a list of things you have done or read. They should all include what you thought and what you felt about these experiences – that is how we learn.

Topics: Mental Health

David Beckingham

Mental Health Specialist

David Beckingham is a self-employed independent trainer, and is also an honorary lecturer with the University of Cumbria. His professional background is as a social worker and he has worked in care homes for older people in Cumbria. David’s main area of expertise is in mental health. Prior to becoming self-employed he was a Staff Development and Training Officer with Cumbria County Council, both commissioning and delivering training to mental health workers and others in statutory and independent sector organisations. Read more

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