Carol Read interview

I'm Widening Participation Lead at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. I took part in the Skills for Health Widening Participation e-Learning Readiness Toolkit pilot. I've already started to use the tool to influence what we do with e-learning as a whole organisation and have found it very beneficial.


Your job title includes `Widening Participation’. I understand that you have developed a particular approach to inclusive learning.

We have staff that operate a system called Learning Advisors in our Facilities Directorate. You can read a case study about Learning Advisors on the Skills for Health site.

This works really well and was put in place to support staff who might have limited IT skills, ESOL and Basic Skills needs. The Learning Advisors group was set up to manage the barriers that existed for staff working in bands 1 – 4 these include basic skills, dyslexia, English as a second language (ESOL) needs and poor IT skills


How do Learning Advisors operate to help colleagues?

The group works as one, offering a buddy system to learners from all work areas of the directorate. The members of the group get together regularly to manage learner issues and evaluate the delivery of mandatory training. This process is supported by myself and other members of the education team such as the Head of Learning and MLE administrator.


In the pilot there was some concern expressed by participants about whether it was possible to use e-Learning with all staff. Do you use e-Learning with staff working in bands 1-4 and those who may have various difficulties such as the ones you mention e.g. Dyslexia?

All of our initial mandatory training is delivered through our Managed Learning Environment. We are also in the process of contributing to another Skills for Health project related to dyslexia and have a case study going forward that covers clinical facilitators as well as the Learning advisors.

About 3 years ago we made the decision to move our mandatory training onto e-Learning; we monitor the uptake of this training and send regular reports to our Senior managers for their quarterly 3:3s. We have used this data to achieve level 2 for our NHSLA and are well on the way to achieving level 3 as a result.


What are your first impressions of the Toolkit and its role in Widening Participation?

My first thoughts when I saw the site were that it needs to be about all staff, not just bands 1 – 4. We have found that staff higher up the banding structure can also have problems using e-Learning due to a number of factors such as poor IT skills, access to computers etc. I think the toolkit is really helpful for organisations to help them plan their e-Learning strategy across all staff bands.

On the Skills for Health site you can find lots of resources and research which can help you design an effective approach to supporting skills development across the organisation.

The toolkit and the interactive resources on the Skills for Health website complement each other and will assist Education teams to devise a blended approach to learning.

I plan to use the toolkit to evaluate our progress annually against the Bands 1 – 4 staff Learning and Development Strategy objectives. This strategy was developed by the Education team to ensure that our learning approach is inclusive for all staff whatever their learning support needs.

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