Risk Work: a workforce development tool for community health workers

Through an ongoing collaboration with local (non-profit) community interest companies and building on our research on “risk work”, we have created a free workforce development tool for community health workers, such as health trainers, mental health support workers and maternity support workers. The course is free and open to all. You can download the course materials here.

What is the workforce development tool?

It is a training programme was developed by a team of researchers, community health workers, service user representatives and a playwright, through the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) at the University of Birmingham.

It has been developed in response to research into the experiences of Community Health Workers carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham. The research uncovered lots of issues relating to conveying ‘risk’ to clients and the impact this had on relationships, and the nature of how CHWs delivered interventions. 

What does the tool involve?

The tool provides guidance for organisations to run five group-based sessions with community health workers, lasting around one hour each and delivered weekly. The course is structured around four short films that explore some of the issues around risk knowledge, interventions to reduce health risks and practitioner-client relationships by showing some different challenging situations faced by Community Health Workers.

Who is the tool for?

It has been devised as an advanced development course, suitable for people who have been in the job for more than 6 months and, therefore, it is not a course on “how to” be a community health worker. 

Who funded the development and evaluation of the tool?

The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of their “Impact Acceleration” programme.

Is the tool open access?

Yes, the tool is open access for community interest groups (and other employers of community health workers) here.