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The Higher Development Award

In 2016 Learning & Development Leads and Health Care Support Workers (HCSW) in North West London identified what additional training would mean to further develop the support workforce following implementation of the Care Certificate.

In addition to the Government funded apprenticeship there was an appetite for a different kind of course, a personal development programme, for a diverse kind of learner who may have various career or role aspirations but don’t have the confidence/ self-efficacy to consider other study options.

Following collaboration with colleagues from all health and social care sectors, the learning outcomes focused on personal learning needs which underpin the organisational pathways for all clinical and non-clinical support staff - The Higher Development Award

The award aims to build on the expansive knowledge support staff already hold, give further tools to increase awareness and improve patient/service user outcomes. Following contributions from Support Workers in the sector, some of the key considerations were:

  • flexibility - remain in their role whilst studying. Six study days with additional learning in own time.
  • Continue to provide the best possible care to patients and service users based on increasing awareness of their role in organisations.
  • Progression -for those seeking the next step in their career this offers a great platform to take that next step.

Key outcomes

The Higher Development Award (HDA) key outcomes

  • Integrated health and social care collaboration – for employers and delegates on the programme. Added benefit of learning how other organisations run and learning from that.
  • Supports patient safety in terms of escalation and incident reporting.
  • Supports knowledge, techniques, and principles in which to empower and guide thought processes and decision making.
  • Builds confidence in both abilities to study and personal achievement which impacts on patient/client experience. The independent evaluation demonstrated this as a key exemplar of the course.
  • Service Improvement – developing skills as yet untapped and bringing about return on investment and streamlining services and patient/client experience
  • L1 introduction to learning and Functional/ digital skills
  • L2 ILM Team Leader award 14 credits + L2 Functional Skills qualification
  • L3 ILM Leadership & Management 17 credits

The programme will help develop overall confidence, self-belief and motivation. This will have a direct impact on the service, Patient and service user experience and ultimately the learner’s life skills and job satisfaction.


This diagram shows the Multi-professional Development Pathway, which starts with Pre course Screening, flowing down to Level 1 Introduction to the Higher Development Award, Level 3 ICM level 3 certificate in leadership and management and Level 4'5 Trainee Assistant Practitioner, Trainee Nursing Associate and Senior Maternity Support Worker. At the foot of the diagram is a box divided into four parts, Team Leader L2, Principals of leadership L3, Extended Communications Skills (Motivational Interviewing, SBAR systematic communications), Coaching in the Workplace and Functional and Digital Skills.