Learning for Work Award

Paul Barnsley

2020 National Winner

A course offered online by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College stimulated Paul’s interest in learning about mental health issues, learning difficulties and disabilities, as he could see the direct relevance to his work as a police inspector with Warwickshire Police.

I was researching mental health online to help better understand my own experience after I was signed off from work. I signed up for a qualification in Awareness of Mental Health Problems, but as I worked through the course I not only made progress with my own recovery, I also realised that what I had learnt was going to be extremely useful at work. I went on to complete seven more distance learning courses, including Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health Challenges, Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties and Understanding Autism.

The learning has improved the way I interact with police service users and helped me to bring fresh ideas to my working practice and to the practice of the wider police force. More than 30 of my colleagues have now signed up to follow online qualifications themselves and amongst other things I have been involved in supporting Warwickshire Police to set up a Disability Network and establish a Personal Supportive Passport initiative, which enables colleagues to flag support needs as they move around the organisation.

I am proud of these initiatives as they are bringing a better integration of diversity into the way the police force works. My professional life has been re-energised. For me it has been like finding a calling and has helped to get me back on track with my career.

Sally Denning, Paul’s assessor at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “As a result of his learning, Paul has made a tremendous difference in the workplace, helping Warwickshire Police to promote diversity and gain acceptance for learning difficulties and disabilities.”