The paper highlights the innovative features of the team’s approach. The team’s first activity was a wide-ranging analysis of skills gaps in the workforce, as well as a review of the courses already on offer in the region. This meant that the CLAHRC West offer was tailored very precisely to fill these gaps.
The free courses are open to everyone who works in CLAHRC West partner organisations such as the NHS and universities. But another unique feature is that they are also open to the voluntary sector, who have more limited access to training and smaller budgets. The team have developed courses specifically aimed at voluntary sector staff.
The programme offers everything from how to get an article published to using Twitter to promote your work, and the basics of evaluation, data and statistics and health economics.
During the first 18 months, the team delivered 31 courses and trained 350 participants. Feedback was excellent, with courses evaluated on a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent) and a mean score of 3.6.
Attendees came from secondary care (20 per cent), voluntary sector (18 per cent) and local authorities (18 per cent). Professionals working in mental health comprised 11 per cent, commissioning was 6 per cent, primary care was 3 per cent and community care was 4 per cent. The largest professional group trained was public health, followed by medical, nursing and allied health professionals in roughly equal proportions.
Abby Sabey, Senior Teaching Fellow at CLAHRC West and one of the key leaders of the programme, said:
“We are proud of the wide-ranging audiences our courses reached in the first 18 months, as well as how well evaluated our courses are. We are now working to evaluate the impact of our programme over the lifetime of CLAHRC West to help inform our training plans for the future.”