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Supporting the development of the AHP workforce and AHP careers

Retaining the talent within the AHP workforce is an important aspect of HEE’s work. As the lead education and training body, HEE is responsible for supporting the development of career paths and the development of opportunities to ensure people can see careers and not just ‘jobs’.

AHP Careers – A Universe of Opportunities

Recognising that the wealth of AHP talent may not always be fully utilised, HEE has  created an online AHPs’ Universe of Opportunities careers resource to raise awareness of the vast array of opportunities for AHPs to develop their careers.

Working with the AHP professional bodies, the resource includes eight core areas that AHPs could consider to develop their career, all whilst potentially continuing in clinical practice. It includes insight from AHPs working within these areas, with voices from across all 14 allied health professions – plus useful information and links to resources to demonstrate the art of the possible for AHPs’ career development. .The resource can be accessed on our e-lfh pages.

 

Supporting the growth of the smaller professions

We are working closely with the Office for Students (OfS)  and developing long term strategies to stabilise and develop the Allied health professions. Work is ongoing tincluding that in:

  • Podiatry
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Orthoptists
  • Therapeutic radiography

We are also proactively working with all the allied health professions to optimise supply. 

Our work: 

Developing clinical academic careers is an important part of our workforce development agenda, in partnership with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

As part of HEE’s review of non-medical clinical academic career pathways, in collaboration with NIHR, we commissioned a survey of factors that enable and inhibit the career progression of applicants for NIHR personal research training awards.

This study brings together, for the first time, an overview of the career progression of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals (NMAHPs) who wish to pursue independent research and clinical academic careers. It also considers the enablers and barriers to progress in this field. The study builds on the recent findings from the NIHR strategic review of training and makes recommendations regarding interventions and initiatives to support clinical academic careers and remove unnecessary barriers.

As more students are encouraged to train as AHPs, there will be a pressing need for more AHP educators. HEE is supporting more AHPs into education, building upon the four pillars of advanced clinical practice and investigating the existing apprenticeship opportunities into academia.

HEE is enhancing patient safety by improving the advanced practice knowledge and skills of healthcare staff in relation to dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), working with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

The RCSLT has developed undergraduate dysphagia skills development and HEE is helping support the review of the ‘Inter-professional Dysphagia Framework (IDF)’, an accessible competency framework. The IDF aims to help healthcare staff develop the skills, knowledge, confidence and ability to contribute more effectively in the identification of people with, and in the management of, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

A very important part of career development is extending the skills of our workforce to meet the needs of populations. This may mean extending skills that were traditionally the remit of AHPs or broadening skills sets across professional boundaries.

Delivering the ambitions of the Interim NHS People Plan to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan will require the NHS to maximise the potential of the whole workforce. Targeted continued professional development that enables a clear clinical career path will help retain highly valued and skilled staff; support service/workforce transformation; and support areas of workforce shortfall.

The Long Term Plan signals multi-professional ‘credentialing’ (the acknowledgment of a recognised and accredited unit of learning) to extend the skills of the workforce. This dovetails with the current multi-professional work on advanced clinical practice (ACP) that is being driven by the needs of populations.

The #150Leaders Student Leadership Programme – run by the Council of Deans for Health offers innovative ways for developing leadership in future healthcare professionals, targeting 150 students of nursing, midwifery and AHP courses across the UK.

HEE is working with the #150 leaders as our reference group for our work to improve the supply of AHPs.

Leadership within AHP training programmes is a vital skill for a modern workforce and will be a key part of our attention as we start to understand our future AHP workforce