Wirral Autistic Society’s head of training honoured with award

vonne Crowhurst from Wirral Autistic Society (centre) celebrates winning the title of Best Care Trainer at the North West heats of the Great British Care Awards. Pictured here with (from left) colleagues Yvonne Smith and Jane Carolan

Yvonne Crowhurst from Wirral Autistic Society (centre) celebrates winning the title of Best Care Trainer at the North West heats of the Great British Care Awards. Pictured here with (from left) colleagues Yvonne Smith and Jane Carolan

The head of training at Wirral Autistic Society (WAS), a charity which employs over 800 staff across Wirral and  Cheshire, has been awarded the title of Best Care Trainer at the North West heats of the Great British Care Awards.

Yvonne Crowhurst began work at the society 28 years ago as a craft instructor, admitting that she knew nothing about autism, and worked her way up the career ladder in a range of roles.

Three years ago, recognising her talents, senior managers at the society offered her the opportunity to found the Autism Practice and Development department. This was to be a world class training facility, helping staff develop the skills needed to give excellent care to people with autism.

Under Yvonne’s leadership, the four staff of the new APD department provide training, advice, individually tailored sessions and internal training conferences.   All new recruits go through an intensive, autism-specific induction programme of 25 separate courses.  Staff are also encouraged to work towards social care qualifications.  The training has proved  so successful that the department constantly receives requests from local authorities and police forces for autism awareness training.

Yvonne’s colleagues entered her into the award scheme because they wanted her hard work and the new department’s successes to receive recognition. The Care Trainer award looks for a person who has shown incredible enthusiasm and determination in identifying training and development needs of care staff, establishing rolling training programmes and proving their ability to enthuse and energise staff to attend and request training.

Jane Carolan, head of client services at WAS, said, “Yvonne is passionate about skilling up staff so they deliver the best possible support to the people with autism who are our clients. She has enthused staff to think creatively and have ambition for our clients.  Training sessions have become more dynamic and interactive and staff engage and learn from these experiences.

“I’m immensely proud of what Yvonne has achieved.  She is very modest; when you point out her successes she prefers to share them with her staff – but that team has a strong and committed leader and one who richly deserves the recognition of her peers.”

Yvonne said “It is thrilling and humbling to receive this award. Autism is such a unique condition that it requires autism specific support by unique people. It is my role and privilege to head a specialist team who train those people to be effective practitioners in the roles that shape and changes people’s lives positively. Many thanks to all who sponsored and supported the awards including the Department of Health and the judges who chose me. I will try my best to live up to the honour.”

Yvonne, along with all the regional finalists, will be invited to attend a spectacular gala dinner, where the winners of the National Awards will be announced. The gala dinner will include a champagne reception, dinner with celebrity presenter and dancing into the night.

About Wirral Autistic Society

Wirral Autistic Society was founded in 1968 and employs 800 people in Wirral and Merseyside.  The society supports 300 plus people with autism and social communication difficulties.  It offers specialist services for families and children, residential care, respite care and supported living, along with a very broad range of day services. www.wirral.autistic.org

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