European Enterprise Awards 2021

20 EU BUSINESS NEWS / European Enterprise Awards 2021 , Nov21226 Best Social Services Association - Central Europe The Asociace poskytovatelů sociálních služeb ČR (APSS ČR) is the largest umbrella association for the social services sector in the Czech Republic. The association represents and supports almost 2000members working in the profession from social services providers to nurses, social workers to industry experts. APSS ČR is currently celebrating 30 years of service to this essential sector. We speak to president, Dr Jiri Horecky, to find out more. APSS ČCR is a multi-faceted organisation in the social sector. It aims to represent the interests of its members with the government, public bodies and other public institutions. The association provides a wealth of services and products to its members and stakeholders of the social services sector in general. Aiming to educate and inform, APSS CR organises national and international conferences, educational programmes and campaigns. With around 20,000 regular readers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, APSS ČCR publishes professional literature and its own magazine “Sociální sluzby” (Social Services). Subscribers to the magazine include social care providers, business owners and universities. APSS ČCR also publishes “Listy sociální práce” (Social Workers Letters), which is another magazine aimed at social workers. Other services provided by APSS ČCR include mediation, legal services, representation and vocational training. Since 2011, APSS CR has run over 20 major national and international projects in 10 European countries. The main focus of the projects is to raise competency and quality of service levels in the social sector. Each year APSS ČCR organises around 20 events including conferences and congresses. It also holds two national contests – “Caregiver of the Year” and “Innovation in Social Services”. Endeavouring to provide unique and valuable training programmes, APSS ČCR has become the largest provider of vocational education and training (VET) in the country. Although APSS ČCR has its competitors in the industry, it prides itself on being the fastest to distribute new information to its members. To this end, recently APSS CR invested in a new App for its members too. Dr Horecky tells us: “As VET providers we regularly invest money into new training. Recently we’ve made our own short films and have explored uses for virtual reality. Every year we come up with new projects, activities and ideas that enable us to safeguard our number one status in the sector.” Globally the social care sector, and in particular long-term care, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It served to highlight how overlooked the sector was. Although the speed and impact of the problem were often overwhelming, the care sector managed to secure care for the elderly whilst protecting its employees. With the social services sector being one of the fastest-growing in Europe, organisations such as APSS ČCR are needed more than ever. Social services employers are also some of Europe’s biggest job creators with currently around 11 million staff, and 2 million new jobs having been created since 2008. With the health and social care sector now being prioritised by the European Commission, Dr Horecky and his colleagues are able to share experiences and innovation with colleagues across Europe. With 19 permanent employees and more than 100 external lecturers and other staff affiliated with the association, APSS ČCR has a specific set of criteria for potential employees. Dr Horecky shares: “We employ workers who are willing to learn new things. It’s not only important for us as a company to grow, but also for the individuals themselves. It’s also important to be innovative and flexible to overcome challenges and obstacles and to be better every day.” Looking to the future, APSS ČCR is working on a new communication platform. It also plans to launch a brand-new training programme for social services managers across Europe next year. Contact: Dr Jiri Horecky Company: Asociace poskytovatelu ů sociálních sluzeb ČCR Web Address: ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ˚ů ^ ^ ^