This case study covers: Issues for teams – Employing our own service users
I work for a supported housing project and supervised a GROW trainee. He was receiving support from a similar Thames Reach project during his traineeship. Before the trainee started with our team, various team members expressed concerns around him continuing to receive support from a Thames Reach project as a client, while working alongside Thames Reach staff as a colleague.
They highlighted that if the trainee was still receiving support from Thames Reach, maybe he was not ready for the traineeship. Staff also talked about the way in which they were expected to behave and whether or not they would have to change their behaviour to ‘set a good example’. Once the trainee started, these fears were allayed and he became a member of the team like anyone else.
Nonetheless, we were faced with some difficulty when a staff member was successfully interviewed for a job in the team that was supporting the trainee. The colleague was worried that he would now have the role of support worker to someone he had been socialising with outside of work. Issues of confidentiality came up as, under normal circumstances, one would not socialise with a client. Now the trainee would have the relationship of client to someone who was once a colleague.
The manager of the other team was notified of the issue and ensured that the colleague would not be supporting the trainee on a one-to-one basis. Although these fears and concerns were justified, all involved maintained their professionalism and the issue was managed extremely well.
Anne, placement supervisor in supported housing team