Our work to develop a national apprenticeship scheme for Clinical Associates in Psychology (CAP) has been shortlisted for two HSJ Awards.
We have made the final shortlist in the 'Workforce Initiative' and 'Provider Collaboration' categories for our work on the CAP apprenticeship model alongside East London NHS Foundation Trust and Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.
All three Trusts are pilot sites for the national NHS Community Mental Health Transformation Programme and developed the apprenticeship scheme to increase the number of people working in psychological services to meet increased demand for their help.
Just under 400 staff are either in training or have qualified through the apprenticeship scheme since November 2020.
The scheme has helped increase the national number of qualified psychologists and offered talented graduates who might have faced barriers to training the opportunity to train on the job.
It has also encouraged greater diversity among the workforce, and between 45% and 70% of apprentices from across Sheffield, London and the East of England are from black and ethnic minority groups.
The apprentices have already contributed to improving patient care in various healthcare settings, including eating disorder services, rehabilitation, acute wards, primary care and community mental health services.
And their contribution to patient care has had overwhelmingly positive feedback from colleagues, service users and commissioners.
Linda Wilkinson, Director of Psychological Services and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust said: "It is a real testament to the hard work that the whole CAP Trailblazer group has been doing over the last four years.
"Huge thanks go to everyone involved in making the CAP role successful, especially to our CAP apprentices, the apprenticeship leads, universities, and the provider partners who contributed to the HSJ entry.”
Dr Greg Wood, Clinical Director of Psychological Services at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and co-chair of the CAP Trailblazer Group, said: “We’re really pleased and excited to have been shortlisted.
“We have demonstrated that it is possible to build a diverse, sustainable and qualified psychology workforce at pace and scale, even during a pandemic.
“We’re now hoping to support other health and social care provider organisations in building this new workforce nationally.”
Dr Ravi Rana, Director of Therapies at East London NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Everyone involved in the CAP apprenticeship programme here at ELFT are absolutely delighted to be finalists for this year's HSJ Awards.
"It has been a huge pleasure to work alongside our colleagues from EPUT and Sheffield.
“We are very happy to have come this far, and to have proved that the CAP programme works.
“CAPs are already making a significant and valuable contribution to our mental health services, and further developments are now underway to deliver this fantastic new role more widely across our health and care services."
The awards ceremony takes place on 17 November.