This case study covers: Issues for trainees and placement teams – Managing a placement breakdown
Derek joined our team as a trainee in the first GROW intake. He was enthusiastic about the traineeship and the team were supportive to both him as an individual and the GROW project.
Following his induction and familiarisation with the team and its projects, it was decided that he would work alongside a very experienced project worker at a scheme where he would be able to experience a wide variety of learning.
It became clear early on in the traineeship that Derek, who had never worked in an office, needed further training on the skills and etiquette required for this type of environment, and opportunities for this were provided.
Although this went some way in meeting both his and the team’s needs, his development in this area was slow. In the client-based side of the job it was also apparent that he was having difficulties adjusting to his change of role from service user to service provider.
These and other issues were addressed in regular supervision meetings and also in less formal meetings between Derek, his supervisor and his mentor. Although Derek’s progress was slow he appeared to be gaining confidence, developing his skills and achieving a range of competencies at a trainee level.
At his 3-month review this was acknowledged and an action plan agreed for his continued progress. Shortly after this, Derek took some annual leave to visit his family. Following his return it became clear, almost immediately, that Derek had relapsed and that he was unable to continue on the trainee programme.
For the team, this placement breakdown was upsetting for a variety of reasons. Although they were of course aware that Derek had been a service user, they had quickly accepted him as a colleague and the nature of his departure was, to them, both unexpected and discomforting.
It was felt by some members of the team that it was the stresses of the work and the need to achieve competencies that had caused the trainee to relapse and the placement to break down.
Whilst maintaining confidences, it became necessary to make sure that the team was aware that although this aspect should not be dismissed, in Derek’s particular case, it was other, more personal issues that had brought about his placement breakdown.