LimeCulture Expands Training Division to Meet Increased Demand for ISVA Training

In March, when the restrictions imposed as a result of covid-19 were introduced by the Government, LimeCulture Training Division was forced to pause all of our scheduled training for ISVAs.

In any single ‘normal’ year, we have four separate cohorts (of 25 ISVAs each) attending our accredited six-module ISVA Development Programme, and up to five cohorts attending our accredited Advanced Development Programme (ADP) Electives for experienced ISVAs. The reality of this is that at any given time, our Training Division will be working with multiple ISVAs and our training schedule has to be very well planned!

So the restrictions put in place in March were not only a blow to us, but also the 50 ISVAs who were part way through their training with us. A further cohort of 25 ISVAs were due to start their training in May but all of their training was put on hold for the safety of the ISVAs and our staff. Our training schedule went out the window on 23 March 2020 and we struggled to work out how best to manage under increasing uncertainty.

In all honesty, initially we were very resistant to moving our ISVA training online, despite lots of requests from ISVAs to resume training again. LimeCulture has built our reputation through consistently delivering the highest quality training to over 1000 ISVAs since 2011. Our training, developed over the last nine years is continuously reviewed and updated to make sure the content remains relevant and provides a tried and tested method of delivery, which is operational in focus, and equips ISVAs to carry out their complex roles and embed their learning in everyday practice.

High quality training is absolutely key to this, every aspect of the 12-day course has been carefully considered and designed to meet the learning objectives and outcomes crucial to provide ISVAs with the right level of training. This supports them to perform their roles professionally and safely and to support victims/survivors of sexual violence to navigate the criminal justice system, health, social care services and other specialist support services with confidence and competence. 

We are immensely proud of our contribution to professionalising the ISVA workforce and ensure that ISVAs are now recognised as professionals. This means we continue to be the leading provider of ISVA training in the UK, who the vast majority of ISVA Services trust to train their staff.

A significant part of our training is based on the value that is provided by bringing delegates together, from across the country and different types of services – to network, learn from each other and share practice.  Many of the ISVAs we have trained continue their professional relationships beyond their training and throughout their careers. We were concerned that moving the training to online might impact on the quality of those relationships and networking opportunities and so we held firm, possibly rather naively, that we would simply wait until we could return to face to face delivery.

However, in July, due to continued COVID19 risks and associated restrictions it became clear that face to face delivery of ISVA training was not going to be possible any time soon, and with an influx of ISVAs trying to book on to our courses, requests from Managers of ISVA Services for us to start training again coming in almost daily – as well as the backlog of ISVAs who were part way through their courses –  we were forced to reconsider our options….

Throughout late April, May and June, with funding from the Ministry of Justice, our Training Division delivered a series of ‘Coping & Connecting” Sessions to support ISVAs during the first lockdown. Having delivered 38 Online Sessions to 241 individual ISVAs from 77 different ISVA services, our learning from each session, combined with the fantastic feedback that we received, gave us the confidence to look again at how we might deliver our ISVA training in a different format.

Throughout July and August, our Training Division took on the enormous task of redesigning our ISVA training courses for online delivery, working closely with our independent accreditor to make sure that we could retain the quality, and meet their expectations in terms of assessment criteria. For us, the most important thing was ensuring that ISVAs who attend an online training course do not receive a lesser standard of training to those who have attended a face to face course. We’re not going to lie; this has been tricky!

We know the true value of our training comes from the things that happen in the training room – the conversations that take place between ISVAs around a table, the anecdotes the trainers respond with when asked specific questions, the unique characters that make up each cohort and bring light relief to what are often hard subjects to absorb – and we realised that we needed to recreate these opportunities in a ‘virtual’ class room, where people who have never met, feel comfortable and at ease to share their experiences and the professional challenges they face.

After lots of time spent changing lesson plans, moving content, reformatting group exercises and brushing up on our technology skills, we delivered our first online training to ISVAs in late August and…. it went brilliantly! We delivered it to a cohort who were part way through their training when the restrictions were imposed, so we already knew them and they knew each other so that was a helpful starting point. We also incorporated everything that technology could offer – breakout rooms, chat functions, polls, additional screens – and ended up with a fantastic result. The ISVAs loved it and the feedback was fantastic. They were able to share and learn from each other just as effectively, albeit in a different way. One ISVA commented ‘the only downside to online training is that there isn’t the same opportunity to sample the nightlife that Manchester provides!’.

Since then and with more and more ISVAs being recruited nationally, we have seen a huge increase in demand for our ISVA Training with bookings significantly increasing  and resulted in additional programmes being added to our training calendar. We’re working through the backlog of training created by the pause in delivery between March and August and we’ve added a further three ISVA Development Programmes to meet the demand. Our Training Division have done a wonderful job of staying on top of all the requests.

Despite all the ongoing uncertainty created by COVID19, we have our training schedule back in place! We’ve also recruited a new Training Manager to expand our Training division and provide us with additional capacity to allow us do more. We are very grateful to all the ISVA Services who continue to put their trust in us to deliver high quality ISVA training for their staff despite the challenges that COVID19 has put in our way.

We’ve been delivering online training every week since the end of August, and each time we are getting more proficient at using the technology. Its certainly a different experience for ISVAs, but we are assured that the quality that ISVAs expect from LimeCulture has been retained even though we are delivering it differently.

What the ISVAs say about the transition to online training.

‘I think that the training was still at an exceptional level despite the change to an online platform’. 

‘The varied methods used kept me interested and engaged’.

‘Facilitators work well together, the days did not feel rushed.  There was good interaction with the delegates, it felt very inclusive.  An enjoyable course.’

‘It is hard to do training like this over Zoom but you both made it engaging and easy to follow.  Thank you!’

Bernie Ryan, Director of Training, LimeCulture

For more information about LimeCulture’s training for ISVAs, please see our website or contact us by email info@limeculture.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

To book a place on our next available ISVA Development Programme starting in January 2021, please use the online booking form here

To book a place on our next available Advanced Development Programme Elective 1 (Supporting Clients with Specific Needs) starting in March 2021, please use the online booking form here

To book a place on our next available Advanced Development Programme Elective 2 (Supporting Children and Young People) starting in February 2021, please use the online booking form here

To book a place on our next available Advanced Development Programme Elective 3 (Supporting Older People) starting in March 2021, please use the online booking form here

To book a place on our next available Workshop for ISVA Managers, starting in March 2021, please use the online booking form here

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