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Case Study – NHS Tayside

Achieving 90% employment for students at NHS Tayside with Dundee College

Meeting the flexible workforce challenge using a competency-based approach to develop support staff and open career pathways across health and social care.

NHS Tayside set ambitious plans to develop its wider workforce against a forecast which suggests it could lose 11.5% of clinical staff in the next 10 years. It saw that roles undertaken by these staff are changing, and replacement posts would not be like for like.

NHS Tayside Health Care Academy decided to work with Dundee College to develop a programme to provide students wishing to work within health care with relevant and robust skills in care. The programme reflected the core skills used by Health Care Support Workers and was based around the Scottish Vocational Qualification Level 2 in Health and Social Care.

The Benefits

  • Of those completing 20-week pilot, 90% achieved employment in NHS Tayside and Independent sector
  • Students and staff develop core skills which can be built on, opening opportunities to a variety of clinical environments e.g. theatres, renal dialysis units, mental health, or critical care
  • Supports multi-disciplinary working across health, social care, and independent sector
  • Positive feedback from managers
  • Programmes link with Skills for Health’s Career Framework and so support workforce planning
  • 20-week pilot and 36-week Health and Social Care programme has opened a new labour market for NHS Tayside

“Our support staff were keen for development, and this programme has given them access learning that’s accredited, recognised and portable. Thanks to strong local partnership work and support from Skills for Health, we have developed a sustainable model which allows us to bring people in from an excluded background onto an accredited programme and gain entry to the NHS.

The model has proved it works, it can be replicated, and it delivers the core skills needed for a wide variety of clinical and social care environments.”

Debbie Donald, Associate Director of Workforce Planning & Development, NHS Tayside

How we helped

Key to the project was promoting a workforce with skills that could transfer between Health and Social Care services. Accordingly, the core components of the course were mapped against core competencies used by generic support workers at level 2.

The Healthcare Academy joined with Dundee College to deliver the 20-week course, with support from the Scottish Government Health Department. Skills for Health played an integral part in the ongoing development of this programme through supporting those students who successfully completed the course to achieve the full SVQ2 in Health and Social Care.

Evaluation of the 20-week programme showed strong support from managers. Comments included:

“This course is ideal for the preparation of future health care workers” and “this course will also stimulate many Health Care Support Workers’ desire to seek further study and role development.”

The programme gave individuals an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge, information and clinical skills and provided a platform for many to embark on a career journey within healthcare. This was evidenced by the numbers of completing students who entered a care delivery workplace and have since accessed education in line with the Career Framework.

Taking the lessons further

The 20-week course was an effective NHS pilot for a partnership based 36-week foundation SVQ2 in Health and Social Care.

Taking lessons forward, the Healthcare Academy joined with Dundee College, Social Work-Dundee City Council, and the Independent and Voluntary sector to develop the Dundee Health and Social Care Academy.

This is now in its second year of delivering a 36-week course across health and social care, with placements in NHS Tayside, Social Work Department-Dundee City Council, and the Independent Sector.

As the Sector Skills Council for Health, we help all health sector employers across the NHS, independent and third sector. Since 2002 we’ve been working with employers to get the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time. We are the authoritative voice on skills issues for the health sector and offer proven workforce solutions and tools – with the expertise and experience to use them effectively.