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Institute of Vocational Learning and Workforce Research in Health and Social Care (IVLWR)

IVLWR logoIVLWR is the only institute of its kind in the UK focusing on the health and social care unregistered workforce. We undertake research, evaluation, public policy support, role and learning deployment and development. We work across all occupation groups including maternity, pharmacy, and mental health, adult nursing, allied health professions, non-clinical support roles, as well as integrated roles and across health and social care boundaries and agencies.

Latest events

Event - People Matter Widening Participation in Health and Care

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Current projects

Health Education North West London (HENWL)

IVLWR has been working in partnership with HENWL since April 2014 to deliver a substantial project in respect of support worker education and development (to be completed by August 2015). The aim of the project is to support the delivery of the national priorities and programmes, as set out in Health Education England's Mandate and the recently published Talent for Care strategy, along with identifying and responding to local requirements to ensure healthcare providers have the right number of support staff with the right skills and values to provide high quality and safe care and support.

The project has the following specific objectives:

  1. Delivering the Care Certificate
  2. Designing and implement a quality assurance framework for vocational learning
  3. Designing and implementation of new support worker education programmes
  4. Stakeholder engagement
  5. Delivering bridging programme into pre-registration
  6. Increasing apprenticeship starts
  7. Undertaking an independent formative and summative evaluation of the project

Additionally IVLWR has worked with HENWL and NWL employers to:

  • Research employer's perceptions of HENWL funded foundation degrees
  • Review the training and development needs of therapy assistants
  • Raise awareness of Talent for Care
  • Increase engagement between schools, colleges and local hospitals as part of a strategy to increase employment of local young people in the NHS

The project has been featured in The Training Journal magazine's February 2015 edition and The Nursing Standard (19 November 2014).

Central North West London (CNWL) NHS Trust e-learning (band 3s)

IVLWR has been working with CNWL to develop and design an innovative e-learning programme for the trust's band 3 support staff.

Research into the effectiveness of interventions to widen participation in NHS funded degree programmes

IVLWR has been awarded research funding by Health Education England (HEE) to investigate strategies aimed at widening participation into NHS funded pre registration degrees. Last year HEE published its national widening participation policy - Widening Participation, It Matters! This set out a range of challenges universities, colleges and the NHS face to ensure people applying for and entering degree courses, including medical degrees, reflect the wider population. The policy also noted that there is limited evidence on which widening participation strategies actually work. The research IVLWR will be conducting is based on three case studies in London, the North West and South West. The research will gather data from universities, employers and colleges to see what difference the interventions make. The focus will be on adult nursing and radiography degrees and we will be talking to degree students, college students and trust support staff amongst others. The research will be conducted in partnership with Kings College London.

Maternity Support workers and home births

While birth rates in England have continued to rise, the number of mothers giving birth at home has fallen. Traditionally home births have been attended by two qualified midwives. The University of Birmingham Hospitals Trust has developed an innovative training programme designed to provide band 3 maternity support workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to support a qualified midwife at home births. The aim of the programme to increase capacity to support safe maternity care for women are able to chose to give birth at home. IVLWR has been commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the programme and the impact of the new role.

Apprenticeships in primary care

Supporting the development of primary care apprenticeship recruitment and training in North West London, including ongoing appraisal of interventions to identify impact and success.

Schools engagement

Consultation across North West London to identify current and potential activity to support young people's aspirations into careers in health and social care. Read the report here (pdf).

Health Education Thames Valley development of an outreach tool for Year 6 school students to raise awareness of NHS careers

Initial consultation underway regarding development of a learning resource to be used with Year 6 students to introduce them to roles within health and social care.

Delivery and evaluation of the Care Certificate in general practice

Resources are being developed to support delivery of the Care Certificate in General Practice in NW London. There will be further resources available shortly to support assessment of the Care Certificate in General Practice including an e-learning module and a short video to explain the process.

A workbook for all HCSWs to use within General Practice will be available to download in the near future. A number of HCSWs are due to complete training programmes in various locations across NWL and an evaluation of these will be completed in September.

Integrated Health and Social Care Support Worker for the Frail in South East Hampshire

Mapping the skills and knowledge of a new joint health and care support worker who will be able to provide and coordinate a broad range of services for frail people in the community.

Completed projects

Health and Social Care Network

The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) meets for events and discussions about topics covering the wide range across the sector.  In the past we welcomed speakers from Health Education England, ECCA, skills for Care, The Royal College of Nursing, Centre for Workforce Intelligence and Health Education Thames Valley.

The Network also has a dedicated Blackboard site on the Bucks New Uni intranet which is accessed by password.  This contains regular updates of events and publications which are of interest to members.

IVLWR newsletters

News and publications

Who we are

Richard Griffin
An economist, Richard has been working in health and social care vocational education and research for twenty-five years including for the Department of Health. Most recently he was an advisor to the Cavendish Review and is a member of Health Education England's Talent for Care Management Group and the Council of Dean's Health Support Worker Group. His main research interest is training impact evaluation. He is the author of Complete Training Evaluation (Kogan Page, 2014).

Mary Sommerville
Mary is an enthusiastic, efficient and committed Project Manager with experience and knowledge of the Health, Social Care and Education sectors. She is conscientious, self motivated and efficient, working hard to meet deadlines for projects whilst maintaining a communication flow with clients.

Mary has experience of over thirty years within the Education, Social Care and Health sectors, and in recent years she has worked on numerous and diverse projects resulting in many contacts and strong networks across London and the South East. Her strengths revolve around the ability to listen to colleagues, and conduct consultations, either face to face, telephone or by group facilitation. She is then able to process findings into succinct reports which then inform future planning and activity. Training and education programmes at further and higher education level has been a feature of much of the work undertaken to date, particularly around the Support Workforce and the increasingly important interface between the Health and Social Care sectors.

John Bateson
John has over 15 years' experience in the health sector, as a service manager and a change manager, and is a member of the Institute of Health Service Managers. He led the North East London Coronary Heart Disease Collaborative Modernisation Programme and pioneered innovative national work to place patients at the heart of care improvement initiatives. Working for the sector skills council, Skills for Health, John was involved in many areas of workforce planning and training delivery, including leading widening participation projects on behalf of NHS London.

Contact us:

Richard Griffin
Director, Institute of Vocational Learning and Workforce Research

Mobile: 07788 183 758
Twitter: @IVLWR

Further information

1. Cavendish
The government's response to the Francis Inquiry and Cavendish Review, published in November 2013, signalled major changes in the way that unregistered health and social care staff are recruited, trained and progress their careers. Nationally Health Education England (HEE) is leading the design of a common Care Certificate, quality assurance framework and vocational routes into pre-registration programme. IVLWR's Director is a member of HEE's national reference group.

Locally IVLWR is working closely with care providers and other partners such as the sector skills council and professional bodies to support both Health Education (HE) North West London and HE Thames Valley's support worker development strategies.

This ambitious project is utilising an Analyse, Design, Develop, Implements and Evaluate (ADDIE) and 'end to end' whole systems approach. The strategy comprises:

  • Pre-employment strategies
  • Value based recruitment
  • The Care Certificate
  • Quality assurance of education and training programmes
  • Continued professional development
  • The utilisation of new learning technologies
  • Workplace learning support
  • Widening participation

Working through Skills Partnerships, the aim of the project will be to ensure that all unregistered staff have the necessary values, attitudes, knowledge and skills to provide high quality, effective and safe care and support that meets the needs of local people.

The project is aligned with national policy developments such as HEE's Mandates and also draws on the latest skills policy such as the Whitehead Review and research.

Details of the government's response to the Francis Inquiry:

2. Delegation
IVLWR is working with Professor Ian Kessler from Kings College and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital's maternity service to investigate the factors that support or inhibit delegation of tasks from registered midwives to maternity support workers (MSWs). The project is also supported by the Royal College of Midwives.

The research, which will be completed in spring 2014, comprises:

  • A literature review
  • Focus group discussions with midwives and MSWs
  • A survey to all maternity staff
  • One to one interviews

This is the first research undertaken specifically on the factors influencing or preventing delegation of tasks to support staff.

In 2012, IVLWR worked with an expert group convened by the RCM to identify the roles and responsibilities appropriately trained, supported and supervised MSWs could perform. The research was published as a guide that can be downloaded from the RCM's website.

3. Community Education Provider Network project on End of Life Care
IVLWR is a key member of a Community Education Provider Network, supported by Health Education North West London, designing a blended learning programme aimed at improving the care of people approaching the end of their life. The learning is being designed around the needs of people on the end of life pathway and is aimed at staff employed in Agenda for Change bands 1-5 (or equivalent).

Partners include Macmillan Cancer Support, Trinity Hospice, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, The Royal Marsden, West London Clinical Commissioning Group, St Christopher's and Skills for Care.

The three month learning programme, which will be piloted between February-May 2014, has the following elements:

  • Learners will rotate through placements in acute, community and specialist settings
  • E-learning
  • Guided workplace learning and experience

The aim of the programme is to:

  • Increase care worker's knowledge and skills
  • Improve behaviours
  • Improve end of life care

4. Community Education Provider Network project on Pressure Sores
This project will build a learning network and educational package that incorporates evidenced, standardized, auditable documentation, for the prevention and management of pressure ulcers for use by all NHS partners,  patients, unpaid carers, domiciliary care and nursing homes. To identify the arrangements required to sustain the currency of the network and materials.

Further information can be read here (pdf).

5. Evaluation of Macmillan Living Well project in Berkshire
The Institute of Vocational Learning and Workforce Research is undertaking an evaluation in order to assess the impact of the Living Well Project's three strands on: participant's physical, social and emotional needs and experience and service outcomes.  The evaluation will continue throughout 2014 and be completed early in 2015

6. North West London development of distance learning package for recovery workers
This project aims to establish an online learning platform which all support workers in the organisation can access, and which can be refreshed and adapted regularly. The intention is to provide a CPD programme to enable support workers from different services to learn from each other and enable clinical teachers and experts to engage with this part of the workforce.

There will be a focus on concepts, values and principles, and an emphasis on workplace learning processes, particularly clinical supervision. It will be an addition to the formal learning we already offer and additional to any new qualifications.

7. Development work around opportunities for supporting recruitment and retention of Registered Nurses in Nursing Home settings
A group of employers of social care services has been facilitated by the Institute in order to identify and address some of the issues facing the recruitment, retention and professional development needs of Registered Nurses in Nursing Home settings.  The group undertook some research of other employers and produced a report which highlights some of the issues.

The report can be read HERE (pdf).

Current activity is focussed around development of a tool for assessment of competence of applicants for Nursing positions in Nursing Homes

8. Non medical theatres workforce redesign (2013)
Working in partnership with West London acute trusts, his project resulted in the design of four new perioperative Assistant Practitioner roles and the design of two Human Factors training programmes:

  • a one day study day on Human Factors in the Operating Theatre Environment aimed at clinical bands 1-4, to be delivered at our Uxbridge Campus or at a Trust venue
  • a 30 credit short course entitled Human Factors aimed at clinical bands 5-8, and delivered over five taught days at our Uxbridge Campus.

For full details of the programme, please contact David Waters.

9. Social Care Personal Assistants (2012)
Commissioned by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence and supported by the Department of Health, IVLWR undertook a review of the factors that influence the supply and demand for personal assistants.

10. Evaluation of a healthcare leadership programme (2013)
Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust commissioned IVLWR to undertake a summative evaluation of a leadership education programme for the trust's senior clinical staff. The evaluation used mixed methods and found evidence of the positive impact of the programme.

11. Midwifery staff's attitudes to pay, employment and conditions (2013)
Working with Kings College and commissioned by the Royal College of Midwives, IVLWR undertook a mixed methods research project investigating the attitudes of midwifery staff to their pay (levels and determination), terms and conditions and employment. The findings were submitted to the NHS Pay Review Body and the results were extensively covered by the national media including the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Telegraph.

12. Evaluation of GP Practice Nurse Education
This mixed methods evaluation investigated the effectiveness of a Practice Nurse training programme called Open Doors delivered in Tower Hamlets East London.  The evaluation found evidence that the programme improved services by providing nurses with role relevant competences.

Download the report here.

13. Evaluation of Band 3 (2013)
Commissioned by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, IVLWR undertook a formative and summative evaluation of a new formal education programme for band 3 adult nursing Healthcare Support Workers. The findings were included in the Cavendish Review.

14. Social care Higher Apprenticeships: workforce intelligence research (with Aylesbury College)
In March 2013 Bucks New University's IVLWR and Aylesbury College completed a BEST supported review of demand amongst social care employers in Buckinghamshire for the new Higher Apprenticeship framework. The project had three principle outcomes:

  • it identified only weak demand for Higher Apprenticeships in the sector
  • it increased the profile of the university and College with local employers and other stakeholders such as Skills for Care's Workforce Development Group
  • it did identify demand for non-apprenticeship training for unregistered staff including a specific proposal for short 'bite size' programmes.

The full report can be read here.
The update report can be read here (updated 31 August 2013).

15. New band 4
Northwick Park Hospital in partnership with IVLWR successfully bid to become one of ten national Skills for Health UKCES supported pilots for new higher level community facing support roles. The project, which will be completed by the end of 2014, is designing a band 4 role to provide immediate support for people discharged after an emergency admission. It will combine clinical and social support responsibilities.

16. Future supply and demand for maternity staff (2013)
Commissioned by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence and supported by the Department of Health, IVLWR undertook mixed methods (literature review, interviews and structured discussions with key stakeholders) research to identify the factors that will influence the future supply and demand of maternity staff. Read the report here.