Employer as Customers of HE- Designing and delivering what the customer wants

Terry Tucker- Director of Learning and Organisational Devlopment-Barchester Healthcare and Chair of the Nursing Apprenticeship Trailblazer

Terry is representing the employer voice today and sharing her experience of workforce development at Barchester. Barchester are a provider of care homes and have 17,000 staff.

Terry developed the Barchester Business School in-house because providers couldn’t meet their demands. They offer mandatory and legislative programmes, catering and hospitality as well as nursing and care qualifications. Most of the provision is at levels 2-3 and meets the needs of the care industry, however some of the provision for Leadership extends to Masters programmes.

It is great to hear from an employer on top of their skills needs and working with various providers to deliver a comprehensive career path. The staff turnover at Barchester is 23% which is well below the national industry average of 46%, they attribute this to the fact that 10% of staff are always on a programme and this reduces staff turnover i.e. a great return on investment. However, the real measure of success is on the benefit to the care of their residents.

The old NVQ’s were unworkable for the business with irrelevant content, therefore they needed to take control of the provision. In all of their provision they try to combine work-based learning, technical skills and academic rigour.

One programme designed with a university has taken 2 years to get validated, unfortunately this not uncommon. Terry told the audience that they need universities to be more responsive, specifically they would like:

-a reliable contact
-a quick response and for contacts having authority to make decisions
-universities to not be so committed to standard academic calendar

Higher Apprenticeship Trailblazer in Nursing

Apparently this is a controversial area and one that is fraught with complexity. Terry is chairing the Nursing Trailblazer and advocating HA as a route through, there is a current block in how universities recognise the level 2 & 3 qualifications as a route into degree nursing. At the minute nursing degrees are in high demand and the only route recognised by NMC (Nursing Midwifery Council). As of yesterday the NMC have decided not to support this route, this route SHOULD NOT be seen as a failed route and should have parity of esteem. There is a belief that this is a misunderstanding and is not dumbing down the profession as it still has to meet the sector standard.

The sessions this morning outlined the structural issues with vocational routes being recognised as a valid career pathway and now we have an example of that in action.

Keep up the good work Terry and stay positive!


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