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Apprenticeships in NHS Libraries – get involved!

The new Level 3 Library, Information and Archive Services Assistant (LIAS) apprenticeship was approved for delivery in December 2018.

The standard covers a wide range of professional skills and defines the activities of a LIAS Level 3 apprentice as:

“LIAS Assistants help users find the information and resources they need in order to resolve their specific query. They work with people from all parts of society and the workforce, providing essential digital and analogue information services – issuing and returning materials, organizing collections, answering research and information queries, improving customers’ literacy skills, – quite often at the forefront of innovation.”

Within NHS libraries there are a couple of apprentices enrolled on the LIAS apprenticeship already and a few more are due to start soon. It is expected that there will be further LKS apprenticeships, either a level 6 or level 7 (equivalent to a Masters degree) in due course.

As we know in the UK 97% of the library profession identifies as white. Being a mostly postgraduate entry profession presents significant barriers to entry. Apprenticeships are a key route to diversification of the workforce, providing another alternative route to qualification alongside CILIP Professional Registration Certification. In addition, because of the Apprenticeship Levy enrolling staff on apprenticeships is a great way to allow Trusts to recoup funding.

Currently there is only one national provider for the LIAS apprenticeship, LMP. Procurement has been completed via Health Education England so it will be straightforward for LKS Managers to procure apprenticeships locally in collaboration with their Trust’s apprenticeship leads.

From our perspective in North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) Library & Knowledge Service, we were thrilled to welcome our first LIAS Apprentice, Nicholas Ashton in June 2020. With previous experience in sales, Nicholas understands the importance of providing great customer service and being a team player. We are all looking forward to working with Nicholas and supporting him to complete his apprenticeship.

As our main service point is still closed due to the pandemic Nicholas has mostly been working “agile” (AKA working from home) since he joined us. Members of the LKS team have taken it in turns to meet Nicholas in the Library 1-2 days a week to provide supervision and some (physically distant) face to face contact.

Apprentices are required to do 20% or 1 day a week of-the-job training away from their normal working duties. Off-the-job training can take many forms, the main requirement is that it supports the development of new knowledge, skills and behaviours relevant to the qualification.  So far Nicholas’s Tutor has set him tasks to complete during his off-the-job training.  In future I will use our contacts within the trust to provide him with opportunities to shadow colleagues in other Teams and Departments as well as setting up visits to other library and archive services.

At NELFT apprenticeships are also available to staff currently in post. A previous member of the Team, Clinical Librarian Lisa Burscheidt,  completed the Level 3 Team Leader / Supervisor apprenticeship. It was sometimes challenging to release a key member of the Team 1 day a week for off-the-job training. However, in this case nature of the qualification provided an opportunity for me to delegate some of my responsibilities, including supervision of another member of the team, to make up the off-the-job training requirement. Lisa found the apprenticeship very interesting and useful. As a manager I was very aware of Lisa’s development during the programme and how this contributed positively to the functioning of the team as whole.

So Nicholas is actually our third apprentice! Our first, Alice Cleaver, completed the Level 3 Business and Administration apprenticeship last year. We were able to promote Alice to Library Assistant on completion of her qualification. You can read more about Alice’s experience at NELFT here.

If you would like to be persuaded to recruit a LIAS apprentice or to talk about enrolling current team members on an apprenticeship do get in touch.

Natasha Howard, Knowledge & Library Services Manager, NELFT

Place-based Care

What do we mean by place? There is much talk across health and social care about the future being “place-based” and it is not always easy to grasp what this is all about.

Here is an introduction to get you going:


A simple proposition lies at the heart of place-based care: that we blur institutional boundaries across a location to provide integrated care for individuals, families and communities. Energy, money and power shifts from institutions to citizens and communities. Devolution becomes an enabler for a reform programme that starts to deliver on the long-held promise of joining up health and social care for a population in a place, with the ultimate aim to improve the public’s health and reduce health inequalities.”(1)

There is added value in:

    • collaborating at different levels in the system
    • building up from places and neighbourhoods
    • providing leadership across the system
    • focusing on functions that are best performed at scale” (2)

The King’s Fund offer the following definitions:

  • System – area covered by Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) or Integrated Care System (ICS) (size varies but they cover one to three million people)
  • Place – area covered by local authority (tend to cover populations of around 250,000 to 500,000 people)
  • Neighbourhood – smaller geography that might correspond to district council boundaries or covered by a primary care network (PCN) (tend to cover populations of around 30,000 to 50,000 people) (2)

What will this look like in practice?

Groups of organisations including NHS trusts and local authorities will work together as an STP to decide on priorities for their place, and this may evolve to form an ICS and work together more formally. This will mean people with local knowledge developing the right services for their population across a whole area. It is designed to acknowledge the fact these services are not experienced in isolation by the people using them – although they are run by separate organisations, the thing they all have in common is the people from that place. It may also mean trusts agreeing that staff can work across different sites, or for some highly specialised services to be offered by one trust rather than several.


National organisations such as HEE as well as NHS England and Improvement and Public Health England, have teams aligned to each STP or region. These teams will work as a link between the locally driven priorities, and nationally provided initiatives such as those to develop (in HEE’s case) the right workforce to meet the needs of each place as well as the country as a whole.

As a very simple (and entirely fictitious) example, Anytown identifies that they have an aging population and rates of dementia are predicted to increase. They need staff with the right skills to meet their population’s needs, to run the right services such as specialist dementia clinics. This local intelligence can be fed into national plans by HEE to create postgraduate courses for nurses to become specialist dementia practitioners with a number of places offered to nurses from the area. The same local intelligence also identifies that many of the city’s GP workforce is rapidly approaching retirement, and they could be facing a shortage soon. An initiative could see additional placements for trainee GPs offered, to help encourage new staff to consider moving to the local area.

So, it should mean greater collaboration between organisations within a particular area and ideally, seamless care for the person receiving it.

What might this mean for you in your library and knowledge service as you support place-based care? ​

Are there local partners who you need to work with to support and improve your offer across your STP or region?​


  1. The journey to place-based health, Public Health Matters
  2. Health and Wellbeing boards and integrated care systems, The King’s Fund

Emily Hopkins and Katie Nicholas
Knowledge Management Service
Health Education England

Lesson Learnt: Supporting your organisation to capture the learning during Covid-19

Now that we are moving in to the next stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, your organisation may be beginning to reflect on the last three months. This period will be an important time for organisations to learn and develop based on experience and plan changes built on that new knowledge. Library and Knowledge specialists are in a unique position where we can share our expertise in capturing this knowledge for future planning and service development. Have you considered offering to support your organisation in capturing lessons learnt?

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen services undertake an intense and abrupt period of change, some of these changes will now be permanent. Some alterations will be reverted, but it is likely that at least some changes will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

This guide was recently shared on the KM email list and has been written by the RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce). The purpose of the guide is to help organisations make sense of the changes made in response to crisis management. Included is a grid which can help you to reflect on the changes that have occurred. What will remain in place, what needs to be reverted and which old practices have proved to be unnecessary. This is a simple and easy way to capture learning from a team and help them to see how they can plan for the future.

Some Library and Knowledge Services are already running these sessions. The team at Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have been using this framework from Collaborate for Social Care. There are either eight questions to work through to identify how the team are thinking and working in new ways, or there is a deeper thematic questionnaire to work through. This post from Collaborate for Care’s blog on the learning framework and how to use Covid-19 learning to shape the future offers further insight to the value of organisational learning.

The Library and Knowledge Services that are supporting the Nightingale Hospitals have also recently undertaken an After Action Review. This will allow those involved to use their shared learning when undertaken similar projects in the future and alter their practice should they need to in the event of a second wave.

Health Education England’s Knowledge Management Team have produced a suite of resources to support the organisation to capture their own lessons learnt. Katie Nicholas has created this excellent guide which you can use to explain and promote these services within your own organisation. If you are concerned about how to get different departments interested in your support consider running your own lessons learnt session or retrospective review with your team. Showcase how the reflections you’ve made and learning captured will change your service in a positive way. Organisations like to see outcomes in terms of time and financial savings, so consider that while you are writing up your findings.

Holly Case Wyatt
Library and Knowledge Services Development Manager
Directorate of Innovation and Transformation
M: 07741238740