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Support workforce

More than 14,000 NHS staff in north west London are employed in Agenda for Change bands 1 to 4 roles, which includes receptionists, healthcare assistants and maternity support workers. One of our key strategic objectives in north west London is to encourage and assist the development of these members of staff .

We are supporting employers in a number of ways so they can make the most out of the contribution of healthcare support staff to safe and effective care, and so they can ensure that support staff have rewarding careers and feel valued.

We have been working in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University’s Institute of Vocational Learning and Workforce Research, and education staff from trusts to co-design and implement its strategy for staff employed in bands 1 to 4. This programme includes:

The Care Certificate

Supporting the delivery of the new Care Certificate. You can read more about it on our Care Certificate page. 

Talent for Care

In October 2014, HEE launched the new NHS national healthcare support worker development strategy called Talent for Care. This is the most comprehensive policy ever addressing support role education, training and development. For more information, please see our Talent for Care page.

New education and training programmes

We are investing in a number of new and innovative education programmes identified by local employers including e-learning platforms, development opportunities for maternity support workers, care navigators roles and a blended learning programme for health and care staff supporting people through end of life.

Growing apprenticeships

Supporting the growth of apprenticeships in the sector including in general practice and across health and social care. For more information, visit our apprenticeships page.  

Study skills

Piloting the new Skills for Health QCF level 3 Certificate – Study Skills Bridging programme designed to assist staff wishing to apply for pre registration degrees. Full details can be found here: http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/standards/skills-for-health-bridging-programme

Allied Health Profession (AHP) support roles

Working with therapy services across north west London, we are identifying the training needs of AHP support staff. A series of workshops have been organised in January and February 2015 to:

  • Consider the implications and opportunities for AHPs with regards to support workers
  • Identify current support worker roles in services, education, training and continuing personal and professional development undertaken by support workers in AHPs and what the career opportunities are for support workers in Allied Health services
  • Identify the opportunities for new roles for support workers in Allied Health services.

Higher level vocational skills 

The main route for staff to acquiring higher level support worker skills and knowledge has been through completion of a Foundation Degree. We recognise the importance of higher level vocational skills and is currently reviewing: 

  • To what extent the current provision of Foundation Degrees meet service demand and health needs across health and social care
  • The factors driving demand for Foundation Degrees from the health and social care employer perspective and the nature and scope of that demand 
  • Whether the current provision of Foundation Degrees is fit for purpose for the future.

Independent review of HEE’s support worker project in north west London by King’s College London

We have commissioned King’s College London to independently review our support worker strategy. This work comprises interviews and surveys with staff across the sector including support workers. The results are expected in the spring. 

North West London Support Worker Skills Network 

Acute, specialist, community, mental health and general practice employers and other stakeholders in north west London will, from April 2015, meet on a quarterly basis to discuss support worker development, national policy and share good practice.

North West London Higher Development Award

The Higher Development Award is a personal development programme for support workers coming from health, social and primary care who “want to be the best while acknowledging their potential”. It focuses on self-development, reflection, lifelong skills, and service improvement, builds on current knowledge and acts as a next step in their pathway/role. It is primarily for those support workers that may have completed the NVQ some time ago and would like to refresh/build on their knowledge. It underpins and maps into the skills required for the level 3 senior health care support worker apprenticeship and it prepares support workers for going further in the future, laying a foundation of learning for those seeking the nurse associate or pre-registration roles.

Please watch our video below to learn more.


For further information on the project please contact nwl.hcsw@hee.nhs.uk.

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