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HSJ Awards 2022

By Linda Wilkinson Dec 08th, 2022 Article

HSJ Awards 2022

WINNER:  East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSCT):-

Clinical Associate in Psychology (CAP) : An apprenticeship model for a future sustainable and diverse psychology workforce

The NHS needs to increase the psychology workforce by 60% by 2024. Yet in England in 2020 only 18% of psychology graduates were accepted onto Clinical Psychology courses via traditional training routes. To address this, a Trailblazer Group was established in 2018 bringing together clinical psychology leads from three NHS trusts, and the CAP apprenticeship programme was created. Dr Ravi Rana (ELFT) Dr Greg Wood (EPUT) and Dr Linda Wilkinson (SHSCT) are the Trailblazer co-chairs, and these NHS providers have been the flag bearers of the development and implementation of the CAP role.

The vision is to build a sizeable, sustainable, diverse psychology workforce representative of communities themselves. The new CAP role has helped increase the national number of qualified psychologists and offered talented graduates who might have faced barriers to training the opportunity to train on the job. It has encouraged greater diversity among the workforce, with between 45% and 70% of apprentices from across London, Sheffield and the East of England coming from black and ethnic minority groups.

All three Trusts are pilot sites for the national NHS Community Mental Health Transformation Programme and developed the apprenticeship CAP role to increase the number of people working in psychological services to meet increased demand for their help.

This national Health Service Journal award is recognition of the huge contribution apprenticeships can make in addressing the immense and intractable workforce problems we are all facing across our heath and care services. We are thrilled that through the Clinical Associate Psychologist role the psychology professions have been able to take a lead in demonstrating how apprenticeships can successfully bring innovation, diversity, inclusivity and stability to our workforce.

Caroline Waterfield, Director of Development and Employment, NHS Employers, who chaired the Workforce Initiative judging panel said “This was a very powerful and practical workforce initiative which hits the purpose of this award on the head. The work the team have led on has brought different professionals together, from different providers, to find solutions to entrenched recruitment problems…”  

We are very proud to have won the award on behalf of our partners including: Bhavena Patel and Angelo Vartto Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Paul Fisher University East Anglia, Peter Keohane University of Plymouth, Barbra Mason University of Hertfordshire,  Ciaran O'Driscoll at University College London, and Gillian Hardy University Sheffield.  And finally Professor Ken Laidlaw who pioneered the programme.


Linda Wilkinson Clinical Director SY MHLDA Provider Collaborative; Director, Psychological Services & Consultant Clinical Psychologist; HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist