Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - July 2018

First and foremost this month I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who sent good wishes to me following my recent promotion to Head of Learning & Development for the Springhill Care Group. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to the opportunity of sharing and rolling out some new ideas.

I would like to welcome Sophie McIntosh to the Learning and Development Team; Sophie has been appointed as the new Learning & Development Co-ordinator at Springhill Care Home. Sophie is scheduled to start mid-July and brings with her a lot of health & social care experience having worked with us in a training provider capacity for a number of years – welcome aboard Sophie.

It’s been an interesting month as I have been involved in a number of exciting meetings and last week I was invited to attend the Hyndburn Business Awards in Accrington. Springhill Care Home was one of the finalists; we didn’t win overall in our category for Large Business, but having reached that final stage was an achievement in itself.

We are closer to announcing the date when the Associate Nurse/ Assistant Practitioner courses start; its long awaited and I would like to thank the staff involved for their patience – we continue to work closely with the University of Central Lancashire to ensure that when we roll out the Nurse Pathway it proves to be a seamless transition from Assistant Practitioner to enrolment onto the Nurse Apprenticeship.

I am planning to roll out an End of Life level 2 qualification around August and have had a good response from staff wanting to complete this. This qualification will be completed as a distance learning module and will provide additional underpinning knowledge to all staff improving and developing them through training and mentoring.

Jakki Whitehead, our Admiral Nurse at Riversway Nursing Home in Bristol spent time with me during this month too; it was a pleasure to meet up with her and Jakki shared some fantastic information around the subject of dementia that she has developed.  We are planning to roll out her bespoke dementia training in the next couple of months to the staff here at Springhill Care Home, Accrington.

Lowry training have signed up a number staff this month to complete their level 2 and level 3 Diplomas in Health and Social Care – and progress is steadily being made.
At Springhill we understand that the learning and development of staff is crucial and the opportunities that we offer everyone to improve and develop are plentiful; if anyone has any training requirements, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss them further.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone at our other services and building on our exciting learning and development plans for the continued success of our organisation.


Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development




New blog by Matt Nolan - My internship at Springhill Care

This is my first ever blog, and I would like to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone in the Springhill family – you have all made me so welcome and I am learning so much!

The first two months of my internship have literally flown by and provided a thoroughly exciting learning curve, as I become more familiar with the wider Springhill family and the structures and processes involved in operating high-quality care homes and a successful business. It is a fantastic opportunity for me, to work with such incredibly dedicated and talented people across the group, which I both appreciate and enjoy very much indeed.

So far, I have spent the majority of my time shadowing and learning from the Leadership Teams at: Springhill Care Home; Birch Green Care Home and Head Office, whether that has been learning how we ensure good quality and compliance, right through to the methods we employ to help people remain connected and stay in touch with their loved ones, through for example, use of our social media platforms.

I have been very fortunate to gain hands on experience at the front line of care and support, from a young age, during school and university holiday periods, as part of both the Health Care and Lifestyle teams. This provided invaluable experience and insight into the front-line delivery of care and support and a greater understanding of the day to day challenges. This experience also provided me with a platform for further learning and development, including with this internship.

During my first couple of months, it has been interesting to learn how some of the other functions of the business operate, and better understand how everything links together to provide what is clearly a very well developed and effective leadership and management system for the organisation. Many different functions and different responsibilities are of course necessary to achieve this, but what is abundantly clear, right across the group, is how each colleague shares and practices the company values, which are at the heart of everything everyone does, with a dedicated focus and aim of providing outstanding, person-centred, quality care and support.

Recognising the importance of ‘culture’, Springhill places its values at the heart of everything it does; from recognising its workforce as its most valued asset, through to a shared commitment to continuous learning and improvement. This is easy to say, but what Springhill clearly does differently, is they make it happen consistently across the whole organisation! This in my view is the key to the success of Springhill; it makes for a wonderful environment to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives and for people to develop – both as individuals and as part of a team – which is tremendously rewarding to be a part of.

In the next few months I am very much looking forward to gaining even more hands-on experience and insight, which I know will assist me greatly in my forthcoming Master’s degree programme.

Whilst I am excited at the prospect, I already know I will miss you all when I have to leave at the end of the summer!


Matt Nolan
Management Intern



Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - June 2018

It’s been a busy month with training, we have received the dates for our two registered nurses, Sue and Deborah to embark upon their mentorship course at UCLAN, and this will equip them with the necessary skills to become fully qualified whilst at Springhill Care Home.

The functional skills courses facilitated by Accrington and Rossendale College that run weekly at night here at Springhill are progressing well and I understand that the progress being made by the staff attending is ‘fantastic’.  All our learners have been given full access to quality online learning materials and self-directed study materials, clearly this is an example of a successful partnership collaboration within the local community – it demonstrates our commitment to staff training and emphasises the importance of supporting people to achieve their aspirations.

Progress with the Nursing Pathway is ongoing with the University of Central Lancashire and we continue to work closely with the university, making sure all steps to achieve a seamless learner journey are being taken and where adjustment or advice is required, this is sought. 

We are almost ready to sign up the next cohort of Assistant Practitioners (APs) who will be undertaking the AP Apprenticeship under the new standards. Extensive work has been conducted behind the scenes to ensure that the course is tailored to meet the needs of Springhill, all partners involved are working tirelessly to achieve this end result.

So to summarise…

Work on all aspects of training continues successfully; the importance of collaborative working and developing and maintaining innovative approaches remains essential; we are fortunate to have partners and stakeholders in the process, that are committed to support us to achieve our vision.


Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development



Strengthening community links by Virginia Perkins

Springhill Care Group are delighted to have embarked on a joint collaboration with Broadfield Specialist School, Oswaldtwistle via the Enterprise Advisor Network.


Donna Briggs, Managing Director and I were approached last year to be Enterprise Advisors to use our business experience and knowledge to inspire young people.  Volunteering can be incredibly rewarding and has allowed us to develop our strategy skills and gain new experiences as a role model to young people in the communities in which we serve. 


Part of an Enterprise Advisor’s job is to share insights about job opportunities and the key skills that local and national businesses need.  Working with Broadfield Specialist School has allowed Springhill Care Home to offer the opportunity for two students, Ben and Megan, to sample and be exposed to working in the care sector through work experience placements.  Curtis Bennett, General Manager and myself recently interviewed Ben and Megan, which in itself was a rewarding experience, to explore their interests and identify work opportunities for them both.  It was agreed that working within the Lifestyle team would be suitable.  


This being the case, under the supervision of Paige Duval, Lifestyle Co-ordinator, Ben and Megan have helped to organise social activities tailored to the needs and abilities of the residents, as well as group activities including painting, games and chair aerobics.  Ben and Megan visit the Home every Thursday for a couple of hours which allows them to experience working life.  They both thoroughly enjoy their time at Springhill and this is very much reciprocated by staff members and our residents. 


We are looking to further strengthen our links with Broadfield Specialist School and welcome more students to the care sector in time to come.  



Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development



Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - May 2018

Wanting to support our staff to achieve their aspirations is not only key in helping us fulfil our vision and mission here at Springhill Care; but is integral in constantly improving the business so that our staff feel valued and the quality of care, support and hospitality we provide is constantly revisited, reviewed and adapted to meet the needs of a constantly changing dynamic – our residents.

Working closely and in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire is one venture we are proud of within the company. It is our vision that staff wishing to fulfil a successful career within the care sector, in particular nursing, may enter Springhill with little or few qualifications and embark upon a learner journey that can be life changing – So how do we get there?

Starting with a level 2 in Health and Social Care and working closely with our training provider Lowry Training is only the beginning – following a structured training programme of fully supported learning allows new staff to put into practice their acquired skill set.

We recognise that some staff may be happy to remain at this level, they are after all equipped with the skills they require, and development doesn’t stop here for these people, we provide on-going training and we are constantly looking for training opportunities, perhaps in other specialisms of health and social care so that there is continuing professional development - at Springhill we never stand still.


Following a period of consolidation and supervision, those staff wishing to continue on their career pathway, can move onto a level 3 in health and social care, subject to an appropriate skillset being identified; again the learning programme is fully supported by our training partners and builds on a foundation provided by the level 2.

Once the level 2 and 3 is complete, then those staff who can demonstrate their ability and wish to follow a clinical route can apply for the position of Assistant Practitioner. This role supports the Registered Nurse in his/her day to day duties. It is a level 5 qualification that looks at a raft of technical competencies and prepares the candidate fully for the position. It is an important role within our organisation and study requires dedication and commitment –something we are not afraid of here at Springhill.

We cannot over emphasise the commitment it takes staff to reach this juncture and it is at this point that they have to decide in which direction they wish to take their career. Some staff may recognise that their current learner journey is finished and at Springhill we support their decision fully – the role of an Assistant Practitioner is rewarding incredibly important within the organisation.

For some staff the desire to take that learner journey to the next level is important - our current vision here in the training department is that these staff will be given the opportunity to apply for a Nursing Apprenticeship with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) which is in the process of being developed – the Nursing Pathway. At Springhill we are working towards staff having a guaranteed interview with UCLan . The roll out for the Nursing Apprenticeship is now scheduled for September 2019, but these dates have yet to be finalised and the terms and conditions agreed.

In preparation for the Nurse Apprenticeship, we have enrolled two of our registered nurses here at Springhill on a mentoring course so that we can accommodate nursing placements too. Sue Balazs and Deborah Bennett have both agreed to become mentors to support student nurses during their nurse training.
It’s a thrilling time to be part of Springhill!


Want to join our team? click HERE


Mike Lakins

Learning and Development Coordinator at Springhill Care Home


Read Mike's April 2018 Blog HERE


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