Category Archives: Workforce Planning and Development

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

Knowledge for Healthcare CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Programme

The Knowledge for Healthcare CPD group have published a brief overview of the programme for 2019-20. During the last year there were over 90 CPD events taking place across England. Some of these were organised at a national level whilst others were provided regionally. The events covered a wide range of topics as illustrated below.

Feedback from events was positive and provided evidence that all levels of staff were participating in the programme.

Plans for 2020-21

The CPD group were planning the programme for 2020-21 when COVID-19 struck. In response to this they provided a variety of virtual courses on critical appraisal, resilience, supporting staff, facilitating virtual meetings, and delivering virtual training.

As things begin to settle down the CPD group is now working on the programme for the remainder of the year. Using information from the 2019 Development Needs Survey, the group is planning events around topics including emerging technologies, literature searching and information retrieval, and equality, diversity and inclusion.

A virtual library assistant study day is planned for the autumn and a nine-month Senior Leadership course is currently being finalised. This will run virtually and will start in October 2020. Places on this will be advertised in the next few weeks via the mailing list and the Knowledge Service Briefings

Work is under way on how to raise awareness of self-directed learning materials for the workforce. The move to a new website will provide an opportunity to review and refresh the Learning Zone . The group is  currently considering the best way forward for this resource.

If you have any questions or suggestions for development activities, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the group.

CPD Contacts

Holly Case Wyatt – HEE London and HEE South East (Kent, Surrey and Sussex)
Sarah Lewis –  HEE South West and HEE South East (Thames Valley and Wessex)
Catherine McLaren – HEE East of England and HEE Midlands
Gil Young –  HEE North East and Yorkshire and HEE North West

The Knowledge for Healthcare CPD Group
July 2020

Support for Library Assistants

Over the past couple of weeks members of the National Continuing Professional Development Group have been working with Library and Knowledge Service colleagues across England to pull together two resource sheets.

The first lists ideas and suggestions for activities that library assistants and those staff working in bands 2-4 within library and knowledge services can do from home or while services are quiet because they are physically closed to users.

The second lists suggested continuing professional development opportunities that library assistants and those staff working in bands 2-4 within library and knowledge services could take the opportunity to explore.

If you have suggestions that you think could be added to either of these resource sheets please email Holly Case Wyatt or Catherine McLaren