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Trainees and training, Work and occupational

Workforce and training updates - April 2021

Read all the latest news from our Workforce and Training Lead.

12 April 2021

National Assessors

The new Interim Chief National Assessor (Eric Karas) has been working hard with Hannah Farndon (BPS) and the Lead National Assessors to establish a revised operational system to improve the effectiveness of the Scheme. The Scheme will be launched on 4 May 2021 and employers wishing to secure National Assessors for recruitment will then be able to contact the central BPS Team who will enlist appropriate National Assessors and pass their names back to the employer within 5 working days.

Employers that have an existing relationship with National Assessors will continue to be able to contact them directly as in the past and the existing database of National Assessors will also remain available online. The new documentation will be sent to all Heads of Psychology Services across the UK and those Heads will be asked to pass the Guidance to employers to HR in their Trust/Health Board.

New National Assessors will be sought after the 4 May in specialities where there is a shortage. It is recognised that the responsiveness of all involved is vital to the success of the relaunch.

Increase in Training Commissions

HEE have announced a significant increase (over 25%) in commissions for 2021/22. This is in addition to the previous year's 25% increase. This is very welcome news and leaves us now with the challenge of delivery. The distribution of the 2021 places across courses will be variable dependent on the size of increase courses can manage.

In Scotland there has been a parallel increase in commissions of 33% over 2 years. In N Ireland a 25% increase in 2020/21 is likely to be continued in the current year and a smaller increase has been agreed in Wales.

The main challenges are securing placements/supervisors in services, appointing adequate numbers of course staff and the continuing support of the Trusts that employ trainees. Everybody has a role in seizing this opportunity.

HEE funded EDI Initiatives

The initiatives funded by HEE to help address the diversity and inclusion issue in clinical psychology are under way. They include to 27 Clinical Psychology Programmes to: (i) develop ways to improve equity of access and inclusion for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority entrants to Clinical Psychology training, and (ii) develop mentoring programmes for aspiring psychologists from Black Asian and minority backgrounds. HEE has also provided funding to Trusts to develop and deliver paid clinical work experience opportunities to aspiring psychologists from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them progress their careers. Courses and Services are working together to coordinate all this work.

In addition, HEE has provided the funding of a scheme (the RISE leadership and mentoring programme) to provide leadership mentoring and training opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic psychological professionals who are from a qualified psychological profession and working within a mental health setting. ACP-UK has been working with the DCP to ensure the successful delivery of the programme.

Aligning Training to the NHS Long Term Plan

Two workshops have taken place between HEE and NHSE/I and the training community to discuss the alignment between clinical psychology and the long term plan. There is a great deal of agreement in terms of EDI, the client groups particularly covered by the Plan and the importance of being responsive to the plans of the NHS. The issue of secondary accreditations is one area where ther is not unanimous agreement and this will be the subject of ongoing discussions. It is important to note that care is and needs to be taken of the alignment of training to the NHS Strategies and Plans of all the home nations not just England. Further work on these issues is being planned.

Approved Clinician Training Funding

HEE have made funding available for individuals to train to take up the role of Approve Clinician under the Mental Health legislation. These funds also include money for backfill which is hoped will make it easier for people to take up the training. If you are interested you should contact your Head of Service and make arrangements to apply and engage the regional HEE leads.