Belgium — ‘Life Coach’ training for family assistants
Service d’Aide aux Familles bruxelloises Asbl is a small, non-profit organisation supporting families during illness, disability or social distress. Of all its employees, 90 % are care workers, with 45 % over 45 years of age. Their work — supporting families in the home — is stressful, requires significant technical skills and there is a high rate of sickness absence. Previously, training was not provided on interpersonal skills. The ‘Life Coach’ project (started by Company Director, Marie Arnould) enhances family assistants’ skills and develops career progression by providing 10 two-day training modules on communication, conflict and change management, facilitated by professional trainers Bouche-à-Oreille. Participation is voluntary and government funded. Post-training discussion groups allow participants to share their experiences with colleagues. Evaluation will be completed by Haute-Ecole Paul-Henri Spaak (social engineering department) based on participants’ feedback. Success factors include the partnership between management and workers and the focus on upskilling. The programme is transferable to similar multi-skilled services, particularly if financial support is available.