Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) provide essential mental health and wellbeing support to our communities through Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. The NHS Long Term Plan (see Implementing the NHS Long Term Plan, 2018) requires an expanded workforce to ensure the demand for treatment is met. The PWP Apprenticeship programmes are contributing to this expansion.
However, there are a number of groups of people who may be interested in joining the IAPT workforce, but find it hard to navigate in, including second career entrants or previous service-users who may be interested in delivering psychological healthcare. Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged the psychological professions should be taking further steps to increase the diversity of entrants during recruitment.
To help address this, the Psychological Professions Network South East (PPN SE) has received funding to trial an access course (foundation programme) to enable individuals to apply to the Level 6 PWP Training, either through the PWP Apprenticeship or typical University route. The project therefore has the potential to increase the diversity of the PWP workforce by recruiting trainees representative of the communities we serve.
The project team are working to deliver the Foundation Programme in Summer 2021, with a view to enable participants to submit applications for L6 PWP training in Autumn 2021. The course will be short, accessible and provide candidates with an insight into IAPT, psychological concepts as well as the academic requirements of PWP training.
We are conducting research with members of the PWP profession which will provide us with an insight into what the workforce deems essential elements of an access course, and how we can enhance success during the programme (to complete the survey, click here). The feedback will aid the development of the curriculum as well as additional components of the course. We are also working with clinicians with experience of delivering PWP training to help us create a course that will enable people to become PWPs successfully. Further details will be announced on our website in Spring 2021.
Brad Powell, Senior Assistant Psychologist, PPN SE