Dogs for the Disabled the Banbury-based charity has received an award for training and development, but its the staff that have earned it, not the dogs! An Investors in People award has been presented to the organisation after it successfully demonstrated investment in its human resources.
As the first of the Assistance Dogs UK organisations to receive the standard Peter Gorbing - the chief executive of Dogs for the Disabled - explained why its important to the charity: Our dogs require a high standard of training and that requires intensive training and development for our staff. The framework of the Investors in People Standard allows us to ensure our staff develop to their full potential.
As training providers we teach our dogs to open doors, pull clothes out of washing machines or press a button to call a lift. Our dog training methods are reward-based and receive praise, play, food or freedom in return for their efforts. For staff, our training methods are a little more routine, but nonetheless important if we are going to continue to be flexible and adaptable.
The Investors in People Standard requires key organisations to create a framework that incorporates four key principles: commitment, planning, action and evaluation. The organisation is then assessed against these principles by checking the paperwork and processes, but more importantly asking staff about how the processes help them.
We are a relatively new organisation and we are growing quickly, many of the requirements for the Standard had already been put in place when we decided to work towards it, but it has helped to keep us focussed. Our aim is to ensure that we repeatedly provide a high quality of service to out clients and the Investors in People continual assessment will help us do that, explains Mr Gorbing.
Currently we have trained over 200 dogs to carry out practical tasks, helping to enhance the quality of life for those with a disability. We would like to increase the number of people who could benefit from a partnership with a dog and so increase their independence. we feel in achieving the standard we are moving in a direction to maximise our potential, says Mr Gorbing.