10th July 2019 Written by Skills for Health

Image: Birmingham City University.Birmingham City University (BCU) were recently awarded with the Skills for Health Quality Mark for a second time, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality training and learning provision. We recently spoke to Gerri Nevin at BCU about the Quality Mark - why they’d decided to undergo the process once again and working with regional director Chris Williams and the Skills for Health team.

Why did you initially undertake the Quality Mark?

In a recent reassessment we’d undertaken, we felt the Quality Mark would enhance the rigour to our programmes. Because of the work Skills for Health undertake across the health sector, in particular the support for the development of apprenticeships in health and social care, we felt for us to be awarded, or be assessed for the quality of the provision we deliver, the Quality Mark would give us the recognition for our courses. It’s an acknowledgement to the hard work we all undertake.

The mark provides our apprentices with the confidence in the level of training they undertake. It demonstrates the rigorous assessed quality approved programme from an external body, validating the quality of our courses, so they can be assured what we provide will help them in their careers.

From undertaking the Quality Mark, is there anything you learnt along the way or any changes that you’ve made to your teaching or delivery since going through this process?

Nothing regarding our teaching and delivery, however it has validated the partnerships we have with our employers and confirmed the feedback we’d previously received from the apprentices. It’s always useful having the comments and feedback in areas that we could look at; we welcome that as it’s an evolving curriculum which never stands still. And of course, receiving validation to say you are meeting the mark is always reassuring, especially with the ever-changing landscape, so you need to be mindful of that.

However, undertaking the Quality Mark is not an easy task, it took us a lot of time due to the number of health programmes in the faculty. For colleagues wishing to undertake the Quality Mark, I would recommend that they work in partnership with their employers from the beginning as Skills for Health meet with the learners and the employers to validate the evidence which has been sent to them. It is rigorous, it’s a rigorous process which we welcome.

If other institutions wish to go through this process, I would recommend that they do. However, they need to understand this is not a quick process, it’s not just a case of coming in and ticking boxes, it’s more thorough than that.

If another organisation was to undertake the Quality Mark, what one piece of advice would you give them?

Maintain the relationship with Skills for Health. Look to them for support, ask them the questions you need to help you through the process, Skills for Health are willing to help, don’t be frightened to ask them for the support you need.

Be aware you will need to find a few staff members who will purely focus on collecting on the evidence and data you need to ensure you that you have the available resources to enable you to go through the process. Focus on having the right people to help with the application. It’s rigorous but rightly so.

Once again, don’t be afraid to ask Skills for Health for help and guidance. They have been very supportive with us, we had a couple of hiccups along the way, approval events, a key member of the staff passing away and OFSTED all coming along at once, which threw us a little bit. I kept going back to Chris Williams at Skills for Health, he was really really helpful. I think it’s important that people understand that you’re not just there to tick the boxes, you are there to provide support throughout the process.

How did you find working with Skills for Health?

I found working with Skills for Health very collaborative, always available to ask questions; you responded very quickly and timely to us when we’ve had any queries. Working together felt like a partnership, you were very very supportive. Whenever we’ve had to ask any questions, you’ve been very quick to come back to us and clarified when there was something on the forms and documents which we weren’t quite sure of. Skills for Health were very quick to get back and reassure us that what we were doing was correct, clarifying any queries we had regarding the evidence. Really really supportive.

Chris (Williams) and his colleagues were brilliant, really really supportive and enabling. Overall, a rigorous yet supportive process.

If you are interested in undertaking the Skills for Health Quality Mark, contact us by calling 0207 388 8800, or alternatively if you want to find out more about the Skills for Health Quality Mark please click here