Diverse routes to qualification – assuring quality, identifying the issues

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Conference
2018 Health Care Service Group Conference
Date
7 December 2017
Decision
Carried

Conference notes and welcomes efforts by employers and policy-makers to diversify routes into the healthcare professions. We are now seeing the development of a variety of options into different professions including traineeships, secondments, apprenticeships and postgraduate fast-track routes like Nurse First.

However Conference is concerned that there does not appear to be any overarching strategy or comparative evaluation of these options, and it is not clear how individuals can make informed decisions about which route is best for them.

Conference is also concerned that these schemes place additional and varying demands on services to find sufficient qualified staff who have the time and training needed to provide consistently good quality mentorship, supervision, training and assessment.

Furthermore, there is the real possibility of friction in workplaces which will throw up complex management challenges. Depending on their training route students/trainees will come into practice placements with differing expectations, and on very different terms. The big divide will be between those on ‘earn as you learn’ programmes where they earn a salary and have their tuition fees paid – and those who are students incurring up to £50,000 in student debt, and trying to support themselves through university while working part-time jobs on the side.

Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:

1)Monitor the availability and take-up of places on the different routes into healthcare professions where UNISON has an interest;

2)Analyse the types of issues encountered by a) students/apprentices/trainees and b) qualified staff involved in supporting, supervising and assessing them;

3)Report back to conference 2019 on the findings;

4)Provide advice to branches as appropriate.