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Practice-based learning capacity is currently a national priority. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with the additional healthcare places awarded to education providers by Department for Education in 2020, and an increase in individuals eligible for these places, means education providers and provider organisations need to develop innovative solutions to support our learners to become the workforce of the future.

NHS AHP staff retention in England is currently at 5.4 per cent (data from NHS England & NHS Improvement Workforce Dashboard), it is anticipated that following the second wave of COVID-19 and winter pressures, a large proportion of staff may make the decision to leave the National Health Service (6.8%). This would have the potential to create a workforce gap that will impact care delivery and result in provider organisations losing valuable individuals with extensive knowledge and skills that could be passed onto learners.

Now more than ever we need to focus on growing the future workforce by exploring new ways of working as set out in the NHS People Plan. This together with a commitment to increase undergraduate healthcare places and practice-based learning capacity to grow our AHP workforce are fundamental elements to achieve the goals and ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and People Plan.

Through a crowdsourcing project, HEE sought to generate insight from the AHP community to facilitate and support innovation in relation to practice-based learning. The ideas generated have been built upon to create a suite of resources for provider organisations and education providers to look at delivering practice-based learning in a different way.

In order to support employers to utilise the knowledge and skills of their retired workforce, and to offer an increased number of quality practice placements, this quick reference guide will outline the opportunities available to support the continuation of their service but with a change of focus to supporting the future workforce in practice.