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Partnerships with employers

We work in partnership with health and social care sector employers to support workforce development, including:

  • NHS organisations in acute and community settings
  • local authorities, independent and voluntary social care providers
  • government departments throughout the UK, including the Scottish Department for Health and local health boards in Scotland; the Department for Health Social Security & Public Safety in Northern Ireland; and local Health Boards and NHS Trusts in Wales.

Our learning programmes (which range from short CPD in areas such as dementia care and diabetes management to professional qualifications in Nursing and Social Work) are developed with the explicit intention of improving the experience of service users – an objective shared by our partners, who value the opportunity to develop staff flexibly and cost-effectively to improve services.

Nathan Dixon at work

I couldn’t have done it without the hospital sponsoring me, I’m lucky to have had that support.

Nathan DixonRead more

We consult widely with employers, service users and carers on the development and delivery of learning, and work closely with partners on a shared mission to widen participation in education and training.

Employers rate us highly for:

  • the high quality of our learning and student support (endorsed by professional bodies and external quality reviewers)
  • our strong focus on improving practice and the quality of care
  • the flexibility, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of our learning, delivered and supported largely without staff absence from the workplace
  • the fact that staff carry on working while they learn, and apply their new knowledge and skills from the start
  • the opportunity to up-skill and motivate staff in their existing roles and open up routes to further training and career development, keeping pace with changes in the sector.

There are a number of benefits to providing training and higher qualifications to staff. We undertook some analysis a few months ago where we measured retention for our sponsored students compared to those from direct-entry routes and the results were quite startling. Over 80 per cent of the students sponsored are still with us, compared to just over 30 per cent of those from direct-entry routes. This type of data continues to justify the investment required to retain this absolutely crucial route for people to qualify as social workers.

Jon Day
Workforce Development Manager, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
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What we did here in Milton Keynes was to give that experience to 50 individuals so that when they came into clinical practice, their voice was much, much louder and what we found was their ability to influence and make changes and improvements was considerably enhanced.

It has been a resounding success. We’ve had a great relationship with The Open University during the delivery and creation of this course and I think we are going to work with them quite a lot more.

Jon White
Senior Nurse in Practice Development
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