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How a competency based approach to developing the workforce helps CPG.

First published:
12 February 2018
Last updated:


The Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Clinical Programme Group (CPG) in North Wales undertook a project to look at the development of qualifications and credits to support a competency based approach to developing the workforce. Traditional educational programmes, written and delivered by staff from Further and Higher Education were seen within the CPG as being too generic and not meeting specific clinical needs, while in-service training was sporadic and variable in its quality. The CPG therefore needed very specific education and training in a timely manner. The project developed 9 new training units aligned to the workforce modernisation agenda in NHS Wales.

Progress and outcomes

The project outputs evidenced positive impacts of quality assured lifelong learning, specifically:

  • The project empowered clinicians working in BCU to identify and develop accredited training packages and units. This empowerment provided an enthusiasm and commitment to new ways of identifying and delivering education and training in North Wales.
  • Quality assured in-service training units are now linked to service and clinician needs in BCU providing a ‘transactional education’ process and transferrable skills. This means theory is quickly implemented into practical application, which in turn proves beneficial for the quality of care given to patients and ultimately patient outcomes.
  • Units that were developed and delivered to meet a clearly defined clinical role were more successful than those aimed at a more generic skilling of staff.

The project has broken down barriers between education and service and there is evidence of cultural change amongst staff in relation to CQFW training needs. Using the educational approach established in the project, it was decided that a competency based approach to developing programmes across all CQFW levels would be undertaken in BCU in line with NHS Wales’s service modernisation agenda.

New roles would link with workforce planning to ensure a re-designed workforce is produced.

‘.....deciding and defining education by clinicians that work in the area is great and I think that is a really good principle. I don’t think we do it often enough. What this does is it defines very clearly what we expect people to be educated to and provides a flexible and transferable process’

Unit Leader, BCU Local Health Board, North Wales

Source: The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales: A qualitative review of its impact