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specialised healthcare engineering and estate management learning environment, to complete their studies. On achieving their level 5 Foundation Degree, these students can then progress on to a BSc Honours top- up programme at the partner university. One example to demonstrate this route can be seen at the Medical Engineering Department at University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) UK. UHB has 32 operating theatres, 100 critical care beds and around 40,000 pieces of medical equipment on its asset register that need regular maintenance, testing and calibration. Over the past year it has had a 59.4% increase in the number of medical devices due to the hospital expanding. The Trust’s medical engineering manager currently has a team of 36, 50% of whom are nearing retirement. The manager and the head of technical service and construction actively recruit young talent into the organisation via apprenticeships. They also ensure that all staff have their competences assessed through their annual appraisal system. This, in conjunction with their annual review of the organisations strategic development plan and workforce needs, generates the team’s annual training plan. From new entrants undertaking a level 2

Apprenticeship, right up to the manager achieving her Level 7 Masters in Medical Technologies, the whole department is constantly updating and extending their skills across a range of disciplines. The manager is a fine example of lifelong learning and career progression as she started in what is now her own department as an apprentice over 22 years ago.

Commission provision Sourcing suitable training provision to meet the complexities already mentioned should not be taken lightly. Supply may be limited because of the investment training providers need to make in expensive medical equipment and the development of high quality resources for relatively low numbers of trainees. However, organisations do have a number of options including: • Develop internal training opportunities to meet needs and facilitate the required nationally accredited educational routes.

• Outsource the whole requirement to external training providers.

• Use a blended learning approach where employers work in partnership with an external accredited specialist educational provider to deliver some of the components with employers delivering others, such as mentoring or job shadowing.

Whichever method, or range of methods, is used it is important to ensure that robust service level agreements are in place when outsourcing educational provision. In addition, it is critical to always implement robust quality assurance and evaluative processes to confirm that the actual training


Eastwood Park was commissioned by a leading hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to provide training to enable existing staff to achieve an academic qualification.

‘A defined career path that progresses through the educational levels is required to provide continuous professional development.’

provided was effective. It is also important to work with training

providers who are forward thinking and exploring new delivery models such as BYOD (bring your own device) policies or using a flipped classroom.

Perceived training ‘wanted’ actually needed Eastwood Park, for example, was commissioned by a leading hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to provide training to enable existing staff to achieve an academic qualification. This training was commissioned to reduce the possibilities of non-compliance issues and ensure patient safety. An onsite, detailed training needs analysis identified that what was ‘wanted’ would essentially not provide what was ‘needed’. After presenting their findings to senior management within the hospital the Eastwood Park trainers proposed, and later delivered, the following phased development programme: • Reviewed and rewrote/updated local policies and procedures.

• Designed a training programme based on

these updated policies and procedures that would also facilitate achieving the original academic qualification and an additional competence-based UK qualification.

• Delivered the programme to the staff and supported them to achieve the desired performance outcomes and the two qualifications.

• And, as part of the organisation’s succession planning, department supervisors were trained and qualified to support and assess their own technicians against the new policies and procedures and recognised standards of competence.

This development programme has given them the skills base and on-going structure to drastically minimise future threats and to support new staff coming into the department.

New delivery models The sector also needs to be aware of the developments in education that removes the barriers to providing training for existing staff, such as time away from the workplace and the high cost of developing training resources.

This includes using technology to

support mobile learning, social learning and e-learning. Many universities and organisations such as Coursera are offering free MOOCs (massive open online course). With the internationalisation of healthcare regulations it may be possible in the future for professionals from across the globe to come together to study. In April 2013 a MOOC in Healthcare

Innovation and Entrepreneurship attracted just over 36,000 students, of which nearly 14,000


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