More training schemes and study awards for social workers to meet eldercare demand

We thank Mr James Chan Jun Rong for his suggestion to enhance the professional capability of social workers ("Enhance training for social workers dealing with the elderly"; Jan 24).

The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) recognises the importance of having trained social service professionals to provide holistic care to clients. Training can be in varied forms, be it short courses, workshops or longer-term programmes to gain deeper knowledge in a specialised area.

The Social Service Institute (SSI), the human capital and development arm of NCSS, has updated its suite of courses to meet new demands and emerging trends, following an eldercare landscape study.

Sixteen eldercare courses, such as "Counselling for Seniors" and "Person-Centred Care Approach to Dementia", are currently available to all social service professionals.

Up to 90 per cent funding for these courses can be tapped from SkillsFuture and the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund through participants' organisations.

The SSI is also developing courses based on the National Social Work Competency Framework, launched in November last year for 1,600 social workers in social service and healthcare sectors. The framework aims to strengthen social workers' capability to handle increasingly complex cases needing resource mobilisation from both sectors.

SSI has collaborated with partners to align capability-building programmes across the eldercare sector. Our courses complement tertiary gerontology studies and certifications offered by universities, polytechnics and other organisations, such as Tsao Foundation.

In addition, we offer the SkillsFuture Study Awards and the Lien Scholarships to support professional development of social workers. Last year, there were three awardees under the SkillsFuture Study Awards to pursue the Master of Gerontology Programme at SIM University.

We will continue to add programmes and partners as needed.

We have fostered collaborations to develop toolkits for organisations and caregivers, established regular networking platforms for sector professionals to share best practices, and held the first Seniors Empowered! Seminar on practices in other countries.

We welcome ideas on how we can further strengthen our capability in the social service sector to serve the people in our community.

Fermin Diez

Deputy CEO and Group Director

Human Capital Development Group

National Council of Social Service

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2017, with the headline 'More training schemes and study awards for social workers to meet eldercare demand'. Print Edition | Subscribe