Apprenticeship scheme wins national award
Our work to develop a national apprenticeship scheme for Clinical Associates in Psychology (CAP) has won a national award.
EPUT and our partners East London NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust jointly won the Workforce Initiative of the Year at the Health Service Journal Awards.
All three Trusts are pilot sites for the national NHS Community Mental Health Transformation Programme and developed the apprenticeship scheme to increase the number of people working in psychological services to meet increased demand for their help.
Just under 400 staff are either in training or have qualified through the apprenticeship scheme since November 2020.
The training courses are provided by EPUT and seven universities, with two more universities planning to offer courses soon. EPUT is the only NHS main provider of CAP training.
The scheme has helped increase the national number of qualified psychologists and offered talented graduates who might have faced barriers to training the opportunity to train on the job.
It has also encouraged greater diversity among the workforce, and between 45% and 70% of apprentices from across London, Sheffield and the East of England are from black and ethnic minority groups.
The apprentices have already contributed to improving patient care in various healthcare settings, including eating disorder services, rehabilitation, acute wards, primary care and community mental health services.
And their contribution to patient care has had overwhelmingly positive feedback from colleagues, service users and commissioners.
EPUT currently employs 13 newly qualified CAPs and 15 CAP apprentices. The Trust has trained a further 5 qualified CAPs who are progressing into other posts.
In total the Trust has 44 Clinical Associates in Psychology, who have recently completed or who are currently in training through the EPUT apprenticeship training programme.
Dr Greg Wood, Clinical Director of Psychological Services at EPUT and co-chair of the CAP Trailblazer Group, said: “I am so proud that the hard work that we have put in to address the gap in our applied psychology pathway has been recognised.
“The judges gave lovely feedback about the immense impact of the Clinical Associate in Psychology apprenticeship development, its future sustainability, the extent of partnerships that had been achieved, and the contribution towards promoting and enabling a more diverse workforce.
“The CAPs have proven themselves to be an invaluable addition to our workforce."
Linda Wilkinson, Director of Psychological Services and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Thank you to everybody involved - our clinical associate in psychology apprentices, the apprenticeship leads, universities, and the provider partners for making this all possible.
“We are absolutely delighted with this honour, and now it gives us extra motivation to keep working and ensure that this work has a lasting effect not only in our areas but across the country.”
Dr Ravi Rana, Director of Therapies at East London NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This national award is recognition of the huge contribution apprenticeships can make in addressing the workforce problems we are all facing across our heath and care services.
“We are thrilled that through the CAP the psychology professions have been able to take a lead in demonstrating how apprenticeships can successfully bring innovation, diversity, inclusivity and stability to our workforce.”
The awards ceremony took place on 17 November.