Health CommitteeWritten evidence from NHS South of England (ETWP 97)

South West Strategic Health Authority

South Central Strategic Health Authority

South East Coast Strategic Health Authority

1.1 Apprenticeship leads response to the Health Select Committee inquiry on education, training and workforce planning.

1.2 Please accept evidence to support the investigation of the Health Select Committee inquiry on education, training and workforce planning around apprenticeships and how they can support some of the challenges occurring in the development of the Healthcare workforce.

SHA

High and consistent standards of education and training

That the existing workforce can be developed and re-skilled for the future response

Open and equitable access to all careers in healthcare for all sections of society

Other comments

1.3 South Central

In May 2009 a Continuing Personal and Professional Development Framework for Bands 1–4 was published across NHS South Central. It was identified that flexible and accredited pathways of learning, both personal and professional, are needed to enable transferability of skills and competences between organisations and improve quality assurance, monitoring and enhancement of education provision. Staff members working within bands 1–4 were found to value education and training which is of high quality, is relevant to their role, and is nationally recognised and therefore transferable and delivered in a consistent manor.

Apprenticeships are being used to secure relevant, service focussed education and training opportunities for staff in bands 1–3. Value for money is secured via development of economies of scale across Trusts. Apprenticeship demand is pooled to drive down costs of provision. This is essential to secure future development opportunities for staff in bands 1–4.

Apprenticeships are a valuable tool to up skill and educate members of the existing and future workforce, helping to ensure staff employed across the career framework is working to the best of their ability. Apprenticeships can be used as a tool to address youth unemployment, which has reached a record high. They open up career opportunities to people who may not have considered the NHS as a viable employment option in the past. Apprenticeships offer Trusts an opportunity to develop their relationships with local communities and effectively represent the views and interests of the people living within them.

QCF Certificates and Diplomas and Apprenticeships do provide an element of consistency in education and training for staff in bands 1–3. However this cannot be said for staffs who work at band 4. Little consistency exists around education and training at academic levels 4 and 5 and therefore the Assistant Practitioner role varies greatly. Opportunities exist for implementing high and consistent standards of education and training via higher apprenticeships.

1.4 South East Coast

Recognition is need of bands 1–4 within any plans created and continued funding ring fenced provision, needs to stay on agenda.

Robust monitoring and evaluation of quality levels including the development of national Return on Investment tools to establish value for money.

Is there nothing that this committee could do to ensure employers had an obligation to take on young apprentices as part of their funding criteria.

Concerned on implications of FE loans on the future of education and training.

Further work done on developing a system that fairly recognises vocational training and academic study putting them on a the same rating system, eg, moving on with UCAS recognition of apprenticeships.

Need to encourage organisations to build apprenticeships into workforce planning.

The Future Jobs Fund worked well down in Brighton (not so great in others) in particular could they look to develop national, regional or localised schemes that could work to encourage employers to take on young apprenticeships.

Increasing the kudos of apprenticeships as a viable career route.

Encourage the development of career pathways using traditional academic routes and further development and recognition of vocational routes via specific pathways. Recognise that the academic route doesn’t’ suit everyone.

Robust monitoring and evaluation of quality levels including the development of national return on investment tools.

Workforce plans should be encouraged to include apprenticeships.

1.5 South West

With the introduction of the Specific of Apprenticeship Standards for England, apprenticeships are now able to deliver frameworks which are consistent and able to support an equitable service delivery across England’s health service.

The components of the apprenticeship framework through the employer rights and responsibilities part of the apprenticeship can ensure a workforce which is flexible and adaptable to support service delivery.

Apprenticeships can be used to actively recruit from local communities, contributing to a workforce that reflects the population it serves.

Using Apprenticeships in the health sector can support patient safety and deliver consistent service outcomes.

Apprenticeships can be used to support the re-deployment of staff and up skill the workforce to be responsive to service needs; this in turn can reduce the need for costly redundancies.

Further development work is required by Skills for Health and the National Apprenticeship Service with employer ownership to support progression and access into academia, particularly around a fair and equitable comparison of functional skills against Maths and English GCSE routes.

There is a requirement to support the development of a Health Higher Apprenticeship framework Level 4/5 which could potentially secure patient safety and ensure an increase in productivity in the “support” healthcare workforce.

There is a requirement from the Department of Health to encourage healthcare organisations to engage with the ‘Getting Britain working’ campaign and use this initiative to change the ageing demographics of the healthcare workforce.

These productivity gains are not being explored fully as the current policy document, “Liberating the NHS” is focused only on the registered workforce.

December 2011

Prepared 22nd May 2012