Willma King is the Head of Learning and Development at NSPCC Childline and Co originator of the NSPCC and AoCPP Child Protection Trainer’s Award and Conference.  Willma was Chair of Leicestershire, Leicester City and Rutland Multi-agency Training Group and has been Trustee and Board director for two education bodies. She is a social care specialist with a professional social work and NGO background and has authored published articles and training packs.  She has worked with adults and children before specialising in Safeguarding and Child Protection. She has provided training and consultancy to organisations across the private, voluntary and statutory sectors and spoken nationally on various aspects of safeguarding.  She has assisted government departments, international organisations and academics seeking to improve their safeguarding training and service provision

Additionally, Willma has worked in Australia managing a range of human services programmes, delivered to adults, children and their families within the statutory and community settings. 


 Disruptors and child protection training

In common parlance the term ‘disruptor’ can have a negative connotation, but forward-thinking innovators are changing our understanding of what this word means and the behavior it can be used to describe. ‘Disruptors’ are increasingly being seen as people or ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately replace it with more effective and efficient ways of doing things. Examples of how this approach is changing our world are all around us, from the way we watch TV, order a taxi, food or book a ticket for a concert or a flight. Services we now take for common like Uber, Netflix, Airbnb and Amazon.   Most of these innovations are being driven by the harnessing of technology with the smart phone being arguably the ultimate disruptor, giving us a computer, we can put in on our pockets and at a moment of our choosing carry out countless everyday tasks in a matter of seconds.   

 The world of child protection training is not immune to these winds of change sweeping across society. The good news is that rather than being made redundant by technology the disruptors are instead creating fantastic opportunities for humans to reach many more adults and children with vital child protection messages, using increasingly accessible mediums. The emergence of online training is a disruptor that has quickly moved into the mainstream as a way of educating mass audiences cheaply and quickly. Additionally, immersive training now uses virtual reality to replicate real environments for learners to inhabit and has become a welcomed disruptor for delivering this emotional and deeply challenging subject. Meanwhile micro-learning has trainers creating powerful learning that helps people accomplish one objective at a time. With the current changes in the safeguarding landscape child protection training professionals will find it beneficial if not essential to look at how current disruptors to training and child protection training can be constructively used within our field. 

 There is clearly more for us to consider when looking at disruptors that challenge the child protection field. We must constantly be open to capture and synthesis what can really improve our effectiveness in safeguarding children and adults. Disruptors are forceful and just like in other sectors they are most effective when they are laser-like in homing in on just meeting a core task immeasurably better, or just easier than some otherwise long-established practice. So maybe the question is how well are we recognising and embracing the disruptors in our field? What’s needed for us to stimulate more disruptive innovation in our field?