As Raising Your Game’s regional coordinator in Hertfordshire, Natasha Cock co-delivers Talk about Talk training, with I CAN, to different organisations. She explains how it can be adapted to really make a difference
We recently trained prisoners at The Mount prison in Bovingdon. It was an adapted version of our Talk about Talk communication difficulty awareness training. It’s one of the first adult prisons that Raising Your Game has worked with.
Some of the prisoners were mentors. They are part of a funded scheme, delivered by the Southside Partnership, which trains up prisoners to mentor others who require advocacy support. It focuses on prisoners who may have mental health or learning support needs. We had a total of 16 trainees. Six were already in the role and the rest were on the waiting list to become mentors.
We asked the mentors what they wanted from the training. They wished to learn more about learning disability and communication difficulty, and find out how to support other prisoners who face these challenges. This would enable them to perform their mentoring roles more effectively.
It was a full day’s training. We covered the difficulties that people may have with their communication skills and strategies to support them. The session was interactive, with a mixture of discussions, activities and watching a DVD.
It was the first time many had considered communication. Several prisoners even identified possible communication difficulties in themselves, or their families, as well as the prisoners they were mentoring.
“I won’t make assumptions about what others understand”. That was one comment we got when we asked for feedback. Another was, “I got a great insight into what’s been staring me in the face”. Many asked for another session.
One prisoner intends to use the skills gained from the course in his career on release from prison. We hope that the training will support all the mentors to gain other opportunities – including possible employment, once they leave prison, as well as on the prison’s educational and learning schemes.
Flexibility is a key principle behind Raising Your Game’s training. It allows us to adapt to the needs of the organisation, to enable everyone to get the most out of the training. It means we can reach as many agencies as possible, to increase awareness of communication difficulty.
Talk about Talk training is easy to adapt. It consists of a number of activities with broad learning outcomes. This means that you can pick which activities are suitable to the audience and shape them to achieve the desired aim. Additionally, the training can be delivered in a variety of settings, to any number of participants.
To find out more, call Natasha on 07852 230 832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org