Posted: Tuesday, 23 August 2016 @ 11:14
The North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NEAS) covers a 3230 square mile area, from the Scottish to the North Yorkshire border and across to the Cumbrian border. In total NEAS serves a population of around 2.6 million from 64 locations, has nearly 400 vehicles and employs 2000 staff. With such a huge number of people depending on the service its staff provide, all those at NEAS have to be confident and capable in their roles.

To ensure this is the case and to develop staff and promote lifelong learning, NEAS decided to put an NVQ programme in place. The idea was to provide information, advice and guidance to all staff wishing to take on a qualification and to support them throughout the whole process of personal and professional development.

“Intec and NEAS have developed a strong partnership in delivering a range of NVQs to staff of all grades and roles within the Trust,” said Karen Gardner, Education and Learning Manager at NEAS. “The environment within NEAS means that it is often difficult to release staff from duty to complete their NVQs and Intec has been instrumental in providing a very flexible approach to delivery to assist us in achieving this. I have been very impressed with the way the assessors have taken the time to understand the needs of the individuals and of NEAS as a whole, helping us achieve the benefits of staff development and learning that we were looking for.”

The assessors travel to all locations within NEAS, change appointments to suit the learners’ altering timetables and have put in place a monthly sign up day as there have been so many learners keen to get started. And due to the nature of NEAS’s operations, assessors have had to learn how to assess in many different ways, such as doing assessments on board a Patient Transport vehicle while staff are collecting patients for their hospital appointments.

Staff at NEAS are currently working towards NVQs in Customer Service levels 2 and 3, Contact Centre levels 2 and 3, Business Administration levels 2 and 3, Storage and Warehousing level 2, Team Leading level 2 and Management level 3.

Gemma Rodgers, JIF Project Co-ordinator, has had good feedback from the staff:

“The staff seem to like the NVQ qualifications and although we haven’t as yet been able to formally evaluate their impact on staff development, the fact that we now have over 120 learners I think proves that staff are spreading the benefits of the training by word of mouth and have taken to the qualifications in a very positive way.”

Some of the original candidates have already completed their qualifications and are looking to the next stage. And its good news for all the staff as NEAS has made it clear it is committed to developing the training programme alongside Intec over the coming months and years.