As part of efforts of Management of the Institute of Distance Learning (IDL) to equip its front-line staff at the Zones and Centres to give off their best, a one-day residential training programme was held to equip the staff with basic counselling skills. The Workshop which was facilitated by the University’s Counselling Centre was held on Tuesday, 25th January, 2022 at the Institute’s Conference Centre.
The purpose of the training programme was to equip staff with basic counselling skills to enable them identify students and staff who may need counselling support and refer such people for professional assistance. This way, staff can confidently and efficiently give first aid psychological support to clients in need and make appropriate referrals where necessary. This was part of efforts by Management of the Institute to build the capacity of staff as part of a broad spectrum of student support services.
In his opening remarks, the Director of the Institute, Prof. M. G. Addo said that the psychological wellbeing of students of the University was of paramount importance to University Management. Consequently, efforts and resources have been deployed to avail to students, staff and their dependants, professional counselling services. He added that the Institute serves a cadre of clientele who are special and so may have special needs. It was in view of this that the University has designated a professional Counsellor to see to the counselling needs of the Institute.
Prof. Addo made mention of the fact that majority of the clients of the Institute were adults in the working class but this did not preclude them from benefiting from professional counselling support services. He urged participants to take the training serious, pick the needed professional knowledge and offer services in a more professional manner. He also commended staff of the Institute highly for their dedication, hard work and professionalism. The Director promised that other tailor-made training programmes were being planned to help improve the level of efficiency of staff in the discharge of their mandate.
On the part of the Registrar of the University, Mr A. K. Boateng, he also commended staff of the Institute for representing the KNUST brand across the country. He said as the face of the University in the Zones and Centres, it was very appropriate for staff of the Institute to be equipped with professional skills to be able to identify clients who may be in distress, offer the needed first-aid support and make appropriate referrals where necessary. He therefore, commended the Institute for putting together, the training programme.
Other Management members that were present at the workshop were Prof. Anthony Andrews, Deputy Director of the Institute, Mr. O. A. Debrah, Institute Registrar and Mr Felix O. Boateng, Institute Finance Officer and Mr. Abraham Adusei, Assistant Registrar IDL
The Workshop took participants through the counselling process, skills and techniques, identifying students in distress, protocols for reporting/referring, as well as principles and ethical considerations in counselling. The Workshop was facilitated by Mr Joseph Asamoah-Gyawu, a Senior Assistant Registrar and Counselling Psychologist attached to the Institute, Mrs Bernice S. Ofosuhene Peasah, a Counselling Psychologist at the KNUST Counselling Centre and Mrs. Victoria De-Graft Adjei, the Head of the KNUST Counselling Centre. Other supporting Counsellors were Mr Gilbert K. Langu and Ms Joan Soribang.