Manchester's ageing population is set to benefit from better levels of service as organisations sign up to develop age-friendly workforces.
The Ageing Studies Certificate has been developed by Manchester City Council's Valuing Older People team in partnership with Keele University and is the first course of its type nationally.
Councillor Sue Cooley, Manchester City Council's Older People's Champion said: "This transformational programme will help to improve older residents' experience of services and to develop an 'age-friendly' workforce. To work with older people currently requires little or no training but we know that, in reality, the skills needed are extensive. We are excited about this unique and exciting programme".
Developed as a series of eight accredited modules, a key emphasis of the programme is on promoting positive change in practice with older people and in organisational cultures as well as enabling students to develop their formal knowledge.
Accredited modules will be complemented by a programme of local training opportunities to improve knowledge about other services and what is available to older residents through partner organisations. In addition, there is a series of academic lectures which will give participants an insight into current research and thinking about urban ageing and meeting the challenges of an ageing population.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Sue Murphy says, "The most important feature of this unique programme is that over 80 local organisations have signed up This means that frontline staff from organisations as diverse as GMPTE, Museum of Science and Industry and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service will be learning alongside each other to gain a better understanding of working with older people and improving their access to a wider range of opportunities.
At a time when budgets are tight and many organisations are only able to fund training that is a statutory requirement, participants can attend by making a voluntary contribution to the VOP Small Grants Fund, meaning that older residents will also benefit from their commitment."
The accredited programme began in February and will run over two three month blocks (February - May and September - December). Due to the high demand this is already full.
However, there are plenty of other complementary opportunities being developed that can be accessed by anyone with an interest in the ageing agenda. To receive a regular update, contact the Valuing Older People team on 234 3391 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This course is run by Manchester's VOP team with financial support from the Local Government Group at the Department for Work and Pensions.
Manchester is the first UK city to become part of the World Health Organisation's Global Network of Age-friendly Cities in recognition of the excellent work that is happening across the city to improve the quality of life of older residents.