Support Worker Shauna Narine has recently completed her SVQ in record time for Inspire staff (14 weeks!) and so we thought it would be useful to ask her to share her thoughts on the experience and provide any advice she has for staff who may soon be starting the process.
I moved to Scotland 4 years ago, from my home country – Trinidad and Tobago. I came here to study and decided to work for Inspire, as it allowed me to work part-time and on a flexible basis while giving me experience in the social care area here.
I never did this type of work before; it is a marriage of rewards and challenges and is not for the faint of heart. It gives as much as it takes and I learnt that Support Workers who serve on the ground often feel unrecognised. The praise, bonuses and incentives that come with this job, are mainly from the moments of joy you get when you know that your efforts have made the day of someone that you support. While working here, I met some of the most dedicated and selfless staff who often go out of their way and use their own time and resources to make the people they support happy.
Determined to try to use the lockdown to achieve something useful, I asked my manager – Jim Cook, if I might be able to do my SVQ and he agreed that this was a good idea. Before starting, I was unsure about what to expect, and so this uncertainty made me a bit anxious. I spoke to colleagues within my service about it, who had completed it and they shared their experiences with me which eased my mind a bit. When I started, the body of work seemed daunting, but my course facilitator Pauline, was helpful and motivating, which helped immensely.
When I was 7, my grandfather gave me a journal and encouraged me to write weekly, this was a habit I kept throughout my life and I think that this constant writing about my experiences and reflections, is what helped me to complete the SVQ quickly. As a colleague of mine shared ‘it really is just writing about what you do and why you do it.’ I think that completing the SVQ allowed me to learn many theoretical approaches while understanding the ‘whys and the hows’ attached to what I had been practicing.
What I can say to other Support Workers is that, completing the SVQ, is a representation of your hard work and a written journal of everything that you have done, lessons you have learned and experiences that you want to highlight. It allows you to remember the good and bad moments, to outline what you were happy with and wished that you could change and is your record and is a recognition to yourself of the work that you do.
I think that completing the SVQ will help me in my role to be more understanding, reflective and thoughtful and to be more conscious of some of the things in my current role that I perhaps took for granted. In the future, I hope to continue to work within the social care arena and know that SVQ will be a very useful qualification to have along with the understanding of many concepts that it brought about.
If I could give advice to anyone completing the SVQ, it would be, it isn’t as difficult as you think. Once you have access to the internet, the information asked is available there, and for every submission that you write, just try to write as if you are writing your daily notes. The reason I was able to complete it quickly was because I made time once a week to complete the task that I was given, which I tried to submit to Pauline within the week.
Good luck to all completing and congratulations to all who have completed theirs!