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Talent for care

Talent for care

Talent for Care aims to help people Get Ready, Get In, Get On and Go Further in their careers in the NHS.

From raising awareness of careers in health for young people and those wishing to join the NHS workforce, to supporting individuals to develop in their long-term career including with relevant qualifications, Talent for Care provides a framework for staff at all levels while also retaining a particular emphasis on improving opportunities for the support workforce. 

With a focus on diversity, inclusion and widening participation from disadvantaged or underrepresented groups, Talent for Care supports employers with their workforce supply through programmes such as schools engagement, volunteering, work experience, pre-employment activity, apprenticeships and access to higher education and the registered professions.

Find out more from the national Talent for Care programme by reading the latest newsletter.

Background to Talent for Care 

The Talent for Care national strategic framework was originally developed and published in 2014, recognising that more needed to be done to improve the education, training and development opportunities available to those in the support workforce (typically those in Agenda for Changes roles banded 1-4).

This followed a national focus on Health Care Assistants as a consequence of the Francis Inquiry and the Cavendish Review, with Health Education England (HEE) being given a mandate by the Department of Health to improve the training for this group of staff.  We took the view that the education and development for all staff working in a support role is vitally important, and began work on plans for a strategic framework to address this need and the low levels of investment typically seen across the country. Talent for care now forms part of Framework 15, HEE’s guide to action

This strategic framework focused on ten strategic intentions under the primary themes of:

  • Get In - opportunities for people to start their career in a support role
  • Get On - support people to be the best they can be in the job they do
  • Go Further - provide opportunities for career progression, including into registered professions.

In light of recent government policy changes, the scope of Talent for Care has extended to staff at all levels, particularly with the introduction of higher and degree apprenticeships, while also retaining its emphasis on opportunities for the support workforce.

For all general enquiries about Talent for Care or to find contact details for the lead in your local area, please email talentforcare@hee.nhs.uk.

Widening participation

The Widening Participation – It Matters! strategy was also originally published in 2014 alongside the Talent for Care strategic framework.  The aim is to ensure that the healthcare workforce is representative of the communities it serves, where progression and opportunities are based on merit, not social background, and equal employment opportunities are accessible for all.

The strategy set out five key goals:

  • improve monitoring and reporting of widening participation activities
  • enhance further the visibility and targeting of health careers information and advice
  • increase, through research and evaluation, the understanding and evidence of what and what does not work in relation to widening participation developments in healthcare education and workforce development
  • increase collaborative approaches in supporting widening participation initiatives, including outreach activity
  • stimulate and increase the capacity of healthcare organisations in being able to expand and support work or work related experience opportunities.

Building on this, ‘What comes next?’ sets out the national strategic framework for engagement with schools and communities. The Framework looks at how organisations can create a diverse workforce through sustained partnerships with schools and community organisations. It showcases best practice from across the NHS and outlines an approach that organisations can adopt to more strategically align their priorities with their outreach engagement. The work is critical to the development of a strong workforce that can continue to deliver and improve care for future generations. We are asking organisational leaders to review their position against the framework and take action.

The Widening Participation strategy is currently under evaluation.  Widening Participation continues to be a thread through all of the Talent for Care work, with an emphasis on opening opportunities to those from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups.

NHS Employers were commissioned by HEE last year to deliver a widening participation programme.  The aim was to create a sustainable approach for employers to engage with and recruit from different community groups, while addressing the workforce challenges being faced.

The programme saw the development of a diagnostic tool and a range of resources to support employers to recruit from their community so as to strengthen their workforce supply.

Best practice and case studies

The national Talent for Care team at HEE is keen to share extensive best practice and case studies to help inform development of programmes and work across the country.  If you have something you would like to contribute, please get in touch via

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