NES logo resizedThe National Health Service in Scotland (NHSScotland) comprises 22 NHS Health Boards, each delivering high-quality healthcare services for the people of Scotland. NHS Health Boards are divided into two groups: 14 territorial Boards which deliver services across the various regions of the country; and 8 ‘special’ Boards responsible for specific services nationwide.

NHSScotland employs around 160,000 people across the country. Around 40% of all NHSScotland employees work in support roles, providing essential services to ensure that the NHS delivers high-quality care to patients. The SCQF provides important support for ensuring that all staff – including those in support roles – have access to learning and development at a level which is appropriate to their needs, and to the needs of the service.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is the Special Health Board responsible for supporting NHS services in Scotland by developing and delivering education and training for those who work in NHSScotland. As part of its role, NES helps staff and NHS Boards understand how the SCQF can be used to underpin effective learning and development. Some of the support which NES provides is summarised below:

The VQ Finder

The VQ Finder is NES’ online one-stop shop for information about qualifications for support staff in NHSScotland. The website is designed to help individuals, managers and planners in NHSScotland select the most appropriate qualifications for their workforce development needs. The site provides access to:

  • a database of vocational qualifications relevant to the wide range of support roles across NHSScotland. The qualifications are listed by SCQF level and are available across Scotland.
  • access to information about each qualification, including details of SCQF level, type and content of the qualification
  • additional information to aid decision making for learners, employers and learning providers.

In 2014, the VQ Finder will also become the ‘home’ of NES’s Guidance on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for NHSScotland.

NES RPL Guidance for NHSScotland

Much of the learning undertaken by staff across NHSScotland is completed in the workplace. NES, the SCQF Partnership and partners in NHSScotland Boards have worked together to develop projects and guidance to support the formal recognition of this informal and non-formal learning. This work includes:

  • National RPL projects in 4 NHS Boards to trial the recognition of learning undertaken in the workplace. Reports on the outcomes of these projects, along with the scoping study and prompt paper which underpinned this work, can be found on the VQ Finder.
  • NES Guidance on RPL for NHSScotland will be published on the VQ Finder in Summer 2014.

Pathways to Recognition Workshop

The Pathways to Recognition Workshop provides guidance for people who are developing and/or delivering in-house learning programmes. Developed for the Remote & Rural Healthcare Educational Alliance (RRHEAL), this online workshop and accompanying workbook provide online guidance on the options and processes involved in the formal recognition of work-based learning and how to apply these to in-house.

The workshop helps individuals:

  • choose the most appropriate form of recognition for your target audience
  • embed key features of recognition in learning programmes: learning outcomes, assessment and quality assurance
  • choose the most appropriate pathway to recognition for your learning programme

Education Pathways for Support Workers

With more than 40% of the NHSScotland workforce working in support roles, having clear and agreed education pathways is vital to support individual’s career development plans and to underpin workforce planning and development in the service.

As part of the implementation of Everyone Matters: NHSScotland 2020 Workforce Vision, NES has been working with partners across NHSScotland and in the education sector to develop national education pathways for support workers. These pathways will show the different qualifications suitable for different types and levels of support roles. The SCQF provides the organising framework for the education pathways.

The fist education pathways to be launched will be:

  • Education pathway for Facilities Services, which includes roles in service areas such as catering, portering, security and domestic services.
  • Education pathway for Estates Services, which includes roles in areas such as trades and maintenance.

Further pathways are planned, including:

  • Education pathways for clinical support workers
  • Education pathways for administrative services

The Education Pathways will be available via the VQ Finder.

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