Direct Service Worker
Core Competency Based Training Program

DSW Core Competency Based Training is delivered and supported by Sara Riel Inc. and the DSW Steering Committee. Curriculum written by Katherine Hallick, M.S.W. R.S.W.

Introduction & Project History

Welcome to Direct Service Worker Core Competency Based Training!

Core Competency Based Training (Core CBT) addresses the fundamental and essential knowledge and skill development needed by all staff.

In the fall of 2012, a consortium of supervisors and managers in the health and social services fields initiated a joint effort to explore developing a Core Competency Based Training system for Direct Service Workers. There was a recognition that this valuable staff resource was largely untrained and could benefit from a systematic, relevant on-the-job training program. The purpose of this training was four-fold:

  • To promote the standardization of training curricula to assure that knowledge and skills necessary for consistent and uniform practice are delivered throughout the province
  • To standardize key foundational practice principles
  • To build a confident, competent and, committed work force
  • To build agency capacity
  • To facilitate staff recruitment and retention

Following the Toronto Rental Network conference in the fall of 2012, this group of leaders conducted various presentations about the initiative, established a small working group – the DSW-CCBT Steering Committee – and conducted a survey of DSW to help identify perceived learning needs. This survey identified the following "priority topics":

  • Working with difficult clients
  • Advocacy
  • Documentation
  • Working Alone
  • Navigating complex systems
  • Understanding legislation
  • Mediation
  • Human Rights
  • Cultural competency

Competency Based Training is designed to develop a worker’s knowledge, skills, and self-awareness throughout their tenure in the health and social services field. The purpose of this nine module program is to provide all frontline workers (aka Direct Service Workers) with consistent and leading practice based professional training. The curriculum is designed to train adult learners in an applied setting and uses experiential learning and other strategies to promote the transfer of learning and application of content on the job. All trainers have received specialized training to teach at this level and are designated systems experts in competency based work related practice.

This training program is ideal for:

  • Mental Health Support Workers
  • Residential Support Workers
  • Developmental Support Workers
  • Peer Support Workers
  • Social Service Workers
  • Community Support Workers
  • Disability Support Workers
  • Personal Support Workers
  • Home Support Workers
  • Newcomer Support Workers
  • Any frontline support staff working with vulnerable populations.

Course Information

DSW Training Course Outline

Module Descriptions

Click here for the registration form.

For more information, please contact the Manager of Training at Sara Riel Inc. via email at or phone 204-237-9263.