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Personal Skills


Resources for developing your personal skills

Leadership opportunities


If you are a support worker, you will already have a range of skills that make you good at your job. Developing your personal skills can help you to further identify your strengths and talents so that you can thrive within your current role and any future roles too.  

Developing these skills will also help you to face challenges and approach situations that may emerge in your day-to-day working life, making you more resilient and confident, and empowering you to deliver high-quality patient care.   

Personal skills encompass a wide variety of things and can include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Listening skills
  • The ability to manage challenging situations
  • The ability to manage stressful situations.
  • Developing expertise in specific link roles or through motivational interviews
  • Problem solving
  • Understanding change and developing the skills to adapt.

Developing these skills can support you to build confidence and self-belief.  Enhancing your personal skills can also offer important development opportunities.  

Resources for developing your personal skills

Understanding your learning needs - Everybody learns differently, and it is important that you understand how you learn best. This will empower you to further identify your ongoing learning and development needs. This free questionnaire can help you to find out what your unique learning style is.

The Higher Development Award - The Higher Development Award is an overarching personal development programme which covers many of the personal skills listed above.

Underpinned by the Institute of Leadership and Management learning outcomes, this programme contextualises the principles of leadership, increases confidence and empowers people who wish to take the next step in their career as a HCSW. It also counts towards continued professional development (CPD) for those wishing to stay in their role.

The programme aims to develop overall confidence, self-belief, and motivation, helping you to provide the best care you can to patients while enhancing your life skills and job satisfaction.

Find further useful information about the programme on the following websites:

Leadership opportunities

For support workers, leadership can mean many different things. It can be about feeling confident enough to raise any concerns you have and to escalate them through the right channels. It can mean drawing on your own experiences to buddy up with support workers that are new to the role and your organisation. It can also mean identifying ways to improve the care you are delivering and working with your colleagues to change and improve ways of working.

Edward Jenner programme

  • The Edward Jenner programme, developed by the NHS Leadership Academy, can help you to take the first step towards leadership in healthcare, supporting you to develop essential leadership skills.
  • The programme has been designed for everyone working in health and care. It’s highly practical and patient-focused and aims to support people to feel better-equipped to deal with the daily challenges of working in healthcare. Open to all, this programme leads to an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Leadership Foundations.


If you want to develop mentoring skills, ask your manager or education team, if you can become a ‘buddy’. Buddies help ‘new to care’ support workers settle into their new environment and adjust to their role. Buddying can be a great opportunity if you are looking to develop within your role.

If your organisation does not yet have a budding programme, have a look at these buddying case studies and share them with your development or education team to see what’s possible:

Development roles (‘Link’ roles)

As a support worker, you may be passionate about a particular area of nursing practice. Becoming a lead, champion or ‘link’ for your team in this area can be a really good way of developing your skills and knowledge within your current role, whilst developing important leadership skills.   

Types of established link roles and existing resources to support are listed below.

​If you think you might want to become a HCSW lead in one of these areas, speak to your manager about the potential to get involved.

Case studies

This case study has been created with John Walsh, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust about some of the work he has been doing to support those considering leaving the organisation through listening and hearing what they have to say: Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust - Stay Conversations - Healthcare Support Worker Programme - FutureNHS Collaboration Platform

The Support Worker Voice

The Support Worker Voice is a free virtual network facilitated by Health Education England, set up specifically for the support worker workforce. It consists of regular meetings with an agenda driven by support workers.

The network gives you the chance to meet your counterparts from across the country so you can feel connected, share values and opinions, and most importantly have your voice heard. It also offers an opportunity to develop your personal skills alongside other support workers. You can find out more on the Support Worker Voice Network Page or to register your interest and receive your invitation, send an email to us at supportworkervoice@hee.nhs.uk