Members of the ImROC team coproduced, co-delivered and co-evaluated the first peer support training in England in 2007 building on the experience of a user led organisation and the experience of peer support training in the United States. Peer Support Worker training is available to all counties across the globe.
ImROC is leading the way in the ongoing development of peer support training, including organisational preparation for peer support, peer supervisor training, peer leadership training and specialist modules to prepare peer support workers for employment in specialist settings.
A peer support worker is someone employed to support others by drawing on shared lived and life experiences rather than through professional interventions and approaches.
This mutual, reciprocal, Recovery focused support often happens quite naturally as we meet others who have similar experiences – whether these experiences are social, familial, cultural, emotional or physical. Peer support workers are trained to provide safe, appropriate and effective peer support that is based on the strong value base underpinning peer support.
It is non-hierarchical, non-directive, person centred, trauma informed and relational. Health Education England provide a competency framework for peer support workers (see The Competence Framework for MH PSWs – Part 1 – Supporting document.pdf (hee.nhs.uk)
For peer support workers to practice in recovery focused, hopeful, strengths-based ways, they require a supportive, appreciative and reflective space for self-directed learning.
Skilful supervision, facilitated by experienced peer support workers, offers this space. It supports peer support workers to maintain quality, integrity, and safety of peer practice; provides coaching and problem solving to address challenges in practice, develop personal practice and increase repertoire of skills; enables safe and appropriate sharing of the emotional burden of the role; helps them to integrate within their workplace, and provides a forum to raise concerns about organisational policies and practice and share decisions about next steps.
ImROC’s peer support training is a 10 week training programme that provides trainees with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the requirements of Health Education England’s peer support worker competency framework.
The training offer is both face to face and on-line. It is continually reviewed to ensure that trainees’ competence in classroom and practice prior to graduation is of the highest standard. Our courses are consistently rated as ‘excellent’, ‘life changing’, an ‘experience of a life time’, ‘transformative’ and ‘healing’.
ImROC’s diverse and experienced peer trainers provide a safe, mutual, progressive and experiential learning environment with individual and group support for trainees.
An integral part of the training is support for the organisations in which trainees work so that their employment context enables them to work to their full potential.
Volunteer peer supporters deserve tailored preparation for the work they do. ImROC delivers a course that prepare peers for these voluntary roles. The course is accessible and practical. It is offered in a supportive and student-centred manner with an emphasis on experiential learning within the student group. The course includes 15 modules which are aligned with HEE peer support competencies. The introductory courses are usually delivered on-line or face to face over a four-week period.
Through three funded and evaluated peer support projects the offer was refined into nine underpinning principles of peer support that form the basis of the Heath Education England Peer Support Worker Competency Framework.
Over the past 15 years we have continued to deliver, evaluate and refine the training. It now constitutes a full pathway of support for organisations and teams; a range of training courses tailored to the needs of the voluntary sector, statutory and specialist services including training for peer supervisors. ImROC offers the The National ImROC Licence for Peer Support.
Health Education England currently fund Peer Support Worker Training, Peer Support Supervision Training and Family Ambassador Training.
To read more about the evidence base for Peer support click here.