PK Learning & Development

PK Learning & Development

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Welcome! You have arrived at the Explore Learning section of our website. Here you will find lots of interesting and perhaps inspiring articles that relate to all different aspects in relation to your learning. You will also find information on practice learning, SVQ and other accredited learning opportunities.

It is important to us to share what we discover and learn with you. Like our team motto says we are “Always learning, Always!"

 Guardianship Practitioners Forum

The Guardianship Practitioners Forum is being established for front-line workers to explore the statutory role of LA Welfare Guardianship and supervision of private Guardians to enhance our capabilities of effectively carrying out this role. Colleagues from the MHO team will be participating in the forum to ground discussion in the principles of the Act, answer questions and enrich the discussions.

Aspects of decision making such as autonomy and protection; care and control; the nature of vulnerability; relationship building and maintenance; attitudes towards risk and support, and appropriate challenge of private guardians, are at the heart of decision making. Therefore, we aim to create a space which gives these concepts their rightful recognition to enhance our confidence in decision-making.

Social workers will have the opportunity to bring cases which are posing dilemmas, or to share reflections and learning of cases, past and present. Initially the forum will be facilitated by Claire Ferrier and Lorna Davage to establish it, in the hope that this role can be shared by others.

“Reflection is often promoted as an individual activity in education, but group-based reflective approaches offer enhanced learning opportunities. They harness the potential of wider perspectives, support the development of co-operative capabilities, emotional resilience and critical thinking skills; and offer containment (a sense of safety for decision making)”.


Guardianship Practitioners Forum - Date: 14 July 2020   Time: 14:00 – 15:00

If you are interested in attending, please click here to register your interest (you will receive a Microsoft Teams invite in due course).  We would ask that you share some thoughts, dilemmas, areas of development or interest related to Guardianship. Please send to Lorna or Claire in advance of the meeting.


Global Definition of the Social Work Profession

“Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work.  Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing. The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels.”


Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act (2000)

The principles are:

Principle 1:  benefit

Principle 2:  least restrictive option

Principle 3:  take account of the wishes of the adult

Principle 4:  consultation with relevant others

Principle 5:  encouraging the adult





Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Social Services and Health Care or, SVQs as they are more commonly known, are based on a person's ability, or competence, to carry out their job to National Occupational Standards (NOS).   SVQs are offered at different levels.  The Social Services and Health Care Awards start at Level 2, and progress through to Level 4 (the different levels are a reflection of the candidate’s job role).

SVQ assessment allows someone to demonstrate and reflect on the skills required to do a job well, as well as understand and reflect on how it is done. The awards are built on the idea that people who do not already hold a relevant work qualification, but have the necessary experience, values, knowledge and skills to work competently, can be assessed during  hours of work whilst undertaking usual work activities, and achieve a qualification that way.  As with most qualifications, SVQ requires commitment to personal study time but it is based on writing about your work role and the things you do every day.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) SSSC registration is the responsible body that manages the register of the social services  workforce. 

Our highly experienced Assessors and Verifiers will support you through the qualification from the day you begin.

We have lots more interesting information to add to our website relating to SVQ assessment, so please bear with us while we do this. If you have any queries, thoughts, ideas or questions relating to Social Services and Healthcare SVQ's please contact:

Wyness Glennie on 01738 477894 or email on


SVQ Application Forms

SVQ 2/3 application form

SVQ 4 application form

Manager's support statement, ( SVQ 2/3/4)


SVQ Resources ( restricted access)

 SVQ Resources

Practice Learning

Welcome to Practice learning!

Welcome to practice learning! This section is for those currently involved in supporting student learning, and those who would like to become involved. Whether you are a practice educator, linkworker or practice supervisor for social work students, are mentoring a student, or hosting an HNC student placement, we have information and resources to support you.

We can support you to access a range of developmental opportunities including the practice learning forum, linkworker training and the Professional Development Award (PDA) Practice Learning. We also have information and resources to support both social work practice learning placements, and HNC placements.  


We provide a range of supports to those working with Social Work students during their learning in practice.

Practice Educator Support:

  • Practice learning forum
  • Individual Support and Consultation

Linkworker Support:

  • Practice learning Forum
  • Individual Support and Consultation

Mentor Support:

  • Supporting a piece of work for a student who may be based in your own, or a different, team


Practice Educator

Professional Development Award in Practice Learning

The Professional Development Award in Practice Learning (PDAPL) is a post-qualifying award at SCQF 10 (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 10) which is honours degree or graduate diploma level. Everyone who achieves this award will have demonstrated their competence across a wide range of learning situations, and be equipped to support the practice based learning of others who may be working towards the degree qualification in Social Work, or a different learning outcome. The award is delivered in partnership by a group of 6 local authorities in Scotland and generally takes between 12-18 months as candidates will work as practice educator to a social work student placement as part of the programme.

Applicants must have some experience of supporting the learning of others in order to meet the selection criteria, and while this is most often achieved through acting as a linkworker, supporting the learning of colleagues or service users can be equally relevant. For Further information please download the Information form and Application pack.

If you have any queries about the course please do get in touch with:

Gillian Muir on 01738 477446 or email on


Linda Grierson on 01738 477445 or email on


Support to Practice Educators

  • Practice learning forum
  • Individual Support and consultation to practice educators (rusty, tools, challenging situations)


Link Worker

Link worker training

Developing CPD opportunities for staff to support and supervise the day to day practice social work students

Social work practice learning placements

Our main partnership are with the universities of Robert Gordon, Stirling and Dundee (social work students)

Development across service of quality placements-sometimes different work in different teams

A Linkworker supports and supervises the day to day work of a social work student, usually when the student’s practice educator is based in another team. Sometimes linkworkers also provide some work experience in a different team to the student’s host team. Becoming a linkworker is a great way of supporting the learning of others and is a CPD opportunity for staff who are looking for a new challenge and enjoy sharing their learning and experience with others. Linkworkers support the induction of students, are involved in workload allocation, provide support, advice and direction, and also contribute to the assessment of the student.

To support linkworkers development we have a Linkworker training programme, please contact Gillian Muir or Linda Grierson.


Mentoring and practice supervision

Mentors provide support to learners but are not involved in any assessment of them.  While we do not have any formal mentoring programme, we do have informal mentors who support students with particular pieces of work, or co-work with them, and share their expertise. This is a great way of developing your CPD and deciding whether you want to become a linkworker in future.

We also have observational placements for social work students and allocate a mentor, or practice supervisor; this person will arrange shadowing for a social work student at the early stages of their course and provide an introduction to social work practice. They can develop their understanding of social services but without undertaking direct practice. This role is one which might be of interest to Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW) or those who are considering becoming a linkworker.


HNC placements

We currently offer HNC placements to Perth College and students are placed in residential or day settings for two or three days per week over around an eight month period. Each student requires a mentor within their placement base, who supports and supervises their work. The college staff provide assessment of the student and will visit and observe the student during the placement. An information pack will be provided by the college and support offered by college staff.

If you are interested in providing and HNC placement please contact:

Gillian Muir on 01738 477446 or email


Linda Grierson on 01738 477445 or email


What is PRTL and why is it important?

Post registration training and learning (PRTL) is about ongoing learning and development. It's important because it means you take responsibility for your own learning and development. Maintaining and developing effective knowledge, skills and values will help you to deliver good practice when working with people who use services, their families and carers.

Everyone registered with Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has to meet PRTL requirements.

 For further information please follow link:

SSSC Post Registration


Getting Ready For SSSC Registration

You can access the power point presentation from Scottish Social Services Council 'Getting Ready for Registration '  Care at Home and Housing  Support Services' here

 The registration team email address is:

 phone numbers are:  01382207101

or                                           03456030891

 Find more at SSSC What does registration mean?

External links



Newly Qualified Social Worker Forum

Are you a newly qualified Social Worker? Have you been in your post for less than a year? Did you know that we run a Newly Qualified Social Worker forum that meets every month to  get new workers together to explore practice issues and challenges within a space that enables and supports our continual learning.

Whatever service you are based in whether it's working with adults, children's services or criminal justice, we welcome all newly qualified social workers to the group. 

The forum is run and organised by Gillian Muir, Senior L&D officer and can be contacted in relation to any further information that you may need on or 01738 477446

Please click here for more information on dates. 

You can read some of the conversation here.

If anyone would like to borrow the resource please contact us on

Reflective practice

A guide to reflective writing

 At some point in your career, you may have been asked to write reflectively in the form of a reflective account.

This can be as part of evidence of post-registration learning, or as evidence towards an SVQ unit. You may also be encouraged to write about your work practice following a learning event, or as part of your continuous professional development (CPD).

We may have ideas of what it means to reflect, and here are some definitions. 

"Serious thought or consideration..." Oxford English Dictionary, 2006.

"Quiet thought or contemplation..." Collins Free Dictionary, 2003 


So how does reflection apply to our work practice?

 One theory suggest it is the ‘capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning..." (Schon 1983:102-104)

Reflecting on what we have learned can help us contemplate how our work practice and experience can enable change and improvement in the future.  

A story which illustrates this principle is about an individual who comes to visit a monk, seeking to achieve enlightenment.


The monk hands them a cup and begins to pour tea into it. As the cup fills, the tea splashes out, soaking their feet and the floor.  They ask the monk what he thinks he’s doing.

The monk replies that this cup is just like the mind. Because it is already filled with their own ideas, there is no room for anything more unless it is emptied first.



  We all learn differently, and reflective practice takes….well…practice!



According to the idea of transformational leadership , an effective leader is a person who does the following:

  •    1     Creates an inspiring vision of the future.
  •    2     Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision.
  •    3     Manages delivery of the vision.
  •    4     Coaches and builds a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision.


You will find many definitions of Leadership and there are many books, articles, learning programs and talks about how to become a more effective leader who makes a difference.

Whatever you decide yourself what Leadership means to you and why you aspire to it, you will find yourself on a journey of self awareness, behaviour change and thankfulness.


Leadership Quotes

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

― Peter F. DruckerEssential Drucker: Management, the Individual and Society

A good leader takes a little more than their share of the blame, and a little less than their share of the credit.

― Arnold H. Glasow

There’s a temptation for all of us to blame failures on factors outside our control: “the enemy was ten feet tall”, “We weren’t treated fairly”, or “it was an impossible task to begin with”. There is also comfort in “doubling down” on proven processes, regardless of their efficacy. Few of us are criticised if we faithfully do what has worked many times before. But feeling comfortable or dodging criticism should not be a measure of our success. There’s likely a place in paradise for those who tried hard, but what really matters is succeeding. If that requires you to change, that’s your mission.

― Stanley McChrystal

 Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

― Warren Bennis

The temptation to lead as a chess master, controlling each move of the organization, must give way to an approach as a gardener, enabling rather than directing. A gardening approach to leadership is anything but passive. The leader acts as an “Eyes-On, Hands-Off” enabler who creates and maintains an ecosystem in which the organization operates.

― Stanley McChrystalTeam of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

In place of maps, whiteboards began to appear in our headquarters. Soon they were everywhere. Standing around them, markers in hand, we thought out loud, diagramming what we knew, what we suspected, and what we did not know. We covered the bright white surfaces with multicolored words and drawings, erased, and then covered again. We did not draw static geographic features; we drew mutable relationships—the connections between things rather than the things themselves.”

― General S McChrystalTeam of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done.

Leadership is action not position. 

― Donald H. McGannon

Interesting Links on Leadership

Modgility - Lessons in Leadership

Ted Talk - Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Ted Talk - Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

Ted Talk - Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader

Ted Talk - Vineet Nayar: Employees first, customers second

Ted Talk - Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors

Ted Talk - Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership

Ted Talk - Stanley McChrystal

Ted Talk - Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

Leadership courses

Step into Leadership

NHS Education for Scotland - Leadership and Management

UHI- Leadership and Management

NHS Education for Scotland - Organisational and Leadership Development 

Scel Scotland

Thistle Foundation - Leading Others

Service Design

Service Design

Service design is about designing services that work and enable positive experiences through focusing on user journeys.

Please follow the link to this short video by the Design Council explaining how using Service design has enabled user centred transformation within services

Design Council news

Service design involves people and relationships, creating insight into different perspectives and empathising with these perspectives to explore opportunities for making experiences better. The key to service design is participation and collaboration, co designing with people.

We also like this short video below about 'The story of Codesign' by Think Public



There are processes and tools to enable this approach, to help us navigate the complexity.

The Double Diamond Design process is a commonly used framework and within the diagram below Lucy Kimbell’s ‘Social Design Methods Menu’ has been incorporated to illustrate ways to support this collaborative and user centred approach to service design.

The Double Diamond Design Process

The design process is based on collaboration and participation and is committed to the values of these. It has a participatory approach enabling the creation of interest and investment within participants, with the understanding that showing interest and investment in people encourages engagement and commitment.


There are four different phases within this process:


This phase is about creating a true understanding about what currently exists within a situation.

The following methods can be used

  • Interviews
  • Shadowing
  • Observation – understanding about what people do, rather than what they think or say they do.
  • Storytelling – Developing storyboards, customer journey maps, experience maps
  • Surveys – Anonymous, fact finding

Findings from these research methods can be collated and shared to understand What is?


This phase is about defining What matters?

What themes and patterns have emerged from the research?  Is the initial question really the problem? And can the question be re framed to enable us to see things differently, think differently and work towards meaningful outcomes?

We can use tools such as empathy mapping What is an Empathy map, which helps us to really think about our partners. We could also explore and define touch points of services with those who access them. Working together on this enable a group to establish understanding and empathy about what matters and why. Bringing people together like this will benefit the group and their collaborative working.

This time is for defining What matters?


This is the idea generation phase and exploring  What if?

This is an opportunity for the participants to use knowledge and understanding collaboratively, to generate ideas for better and/or innovative ways of working. We can use creative methods such as telling stories, mapping, Affinity mapping, blueprints Service design tools, and modelling, (see Story board) to enable participants to think differently, creatively and collaboratively. These tools will provide the space where participants can use a ‘Yes and…’ approach and add to and develop on each other’s ideas for improved services. Using creative tools can support participants explore further and begin to develop the ideas in more detail.

This time is for imagining what if or could be?


This phase is about testing (prototyping), to find out what works?

Using learning from the previous three phases, participants can creatively prototype ideas. This will begin very roughly and quickly, from modelling and role play to pop ups and testing live with users. The idea of this is to make changes to refine the prototype with each iteration according to feedback received.

This is about refining the idea, to find out What works?

To learn and develop your skills in Service Design, see the Service Design Academy website Here

 Learning styles

What is your Learning Style?

 Learning style assessment

 Vark questionaire

 Mindtools - Vak learning


Transactional Analysis

If you are interested in understanding your preferences and how to identify them in relation to your personal growth and change, you might find the following link useful.

 Transactional Analysis - The DriversTool

Coaching and Mentoring skills


Emotional Intelligence


Emotional Intelligence

 Please click on the links below to explore your Emotional Intelligence further

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Daniel Goleman TED Talk - Why aren't we more compassionate?

More talks on Emotional Intelligence



Which Emotional Intelligence test is for me?

Mindtools - Emotional Intelligence

Test your Emotional Intelligence - Mindtools

Assessing your Emotional Intelligence