Workforce development through learning is critical to improving public health in Wales. It is about getting people with the right skills, to the right places, at the right time.
This section of the website aims to provide information relating to learning opportunities, skills and qualifications which support practitioners, and other individuals who contribute to improving nutrition and physical activity levels in Wales.
Skills and Competences
The public health workforce can be defined in terms of the following:
- Wider workforce - This group includes those who have a role in health improvement, protecting health and reducing inequalities but who would not necessarily regard themselves as part of the public health/health and wellbeing workforce.
- Practitioners - People working in this group spend a major part or all of their time in public health practice. They increasingly work in multi-professional teams and include people that work with groups and communities as well as with individuals. They have knowledge and in-depth skills for their particular areas of practice.
- Public health specialists - This group includes consultants and specialists who work at strategic or senior management level or at a senior level of scientific expertise such as in public health statistics. At this level, an ability to manage change, lead public health programmes and work across organisational boundaries is crucial as are technical skills in epidemiology, health promotion or healthcare evaluation.
Workforce Development Plan
A Workforce Development Plan to support the Implementation of the Welsh Assembly Government’s three key public health, physical activity and well-being strategic documents, namely Climbing Higher, Food and Fitness and the Quality of Food Strategy has been developed. Wavehill Consulting was commissioned in April 2009 to assist the Sector Skills Councils Skills for Health and Skills Active, through the Wales Centre for Health, to devise the Workforce Development Plan.
The research set out to define the occupations involved in implementing the three strategies. It acknowledges that the workforce linked to the successful delivery of these strategies is very large and not confined to those directly involved in sport, physical activity and nutrition. This includes childcare, catering and hospitality, community development, education, environmental, agricultural and fisheries sector, active leisure and learning, food production, processing, and retailing, health care, social care and youth work.
Identified areas for development are given based on desk research, interviews with key stakeholders, focus groups with practitioners and a web-based survey of practitioners. These include:
- There is very little reliable Labour Market Intelligence data for the nutrition sector
- The most significant area of skills shortage was ‘engaging hard to reach groups’
- There is a need to improve nutrition knowledge among exercise professionals and physical activity knowledge among nutrition professionals
- There is poor strategy awareness among front line workers
- There remains gaps in understanding of volunteer roles
- There is a need to change the model of service provision to one that is needs-based
- Further skills development is needed in customer handling, retention and communication.
Four strategic recommendations are given including setting up a Workforce Development Strategy Group to take forward the proposals.
Download the Workforce Development Plan Short Executive Summary.
Download the Workforce Development Plan Final Report.
National Occupational Standards
Skills for Health (SfH), the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the UK Health Sector, develop a range of National Occupational Standards including standards for Public Health. These standards are:
Competences to describe what individuals need to do, what they need to know and which skills they need to carry out an activity. They can be used across the board - by all health professions, and all levels of staff, whether in the independent or voluntary sectors or in the NHS.
Public Health Skills and Career Framework
The Public Health Skills and Career Framework developed by SfH and the Public Health Resource Unit (PHRU) describe the competences and knowledge needed by all groups, domains and levels of the public health workforce. It was developed in response to the strong expressed need for a mechanism to facilitate collaboration and coherence across this diverse workforce to maximise its collective contribution. The Public Health Skills and Career Framework aims to ensure rigour and consistency in skills, competence and knowledge at all levels, regardless of professional background, and by enabling flexible public health career progression.
For more information please visit www.phru.nhs.uk/Pages/PHD/public_health_career_framework.htm.
UK Public Health Register: Development of Regulation for Public Health Practitioners
The UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) supports public protection through regulation of only competent public health specialists and ensuring high standards are maintained. To become registered on the UK Public Health Register, a portfolio of evidence mapped against the public health competencies must be completed through this programme. This programme is open to all practitioners in Wales that wish to demonstrate competency in their field of work.
Through this programme practitioners will be able to access a range of support in developing portfolios of evidence against the UK Public Health Register’s (UKPHR) Public Health Practitioner Standards for Registration. Successful applicants will receive a range of support through CPD opportunities and mentoring including self-assessment, collating evidence and demonstrating competence.
For further information please contact Claire Barley, Head of Professional and Organisational Development, Public Health Wales on 029 2082 7641 or Claire.Barley@wales.nhs.uk.
Programme of Continuing Professional Development Events
The Public Health Wales Professional and Organisational Development Team organise a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events. For more information please visit the Public Health Wales website .
Workforce Competence Model in Nutrition
The Association for Nutrition launched the newly developed Workforce Competence Model in Nutrition at the Royal Society, London on 23rd February 2012.
The model is a major outcome of the three year Project, ‘Improving Capacity, Confidence and Competence in Nutrition across the Workforce’, funded by the Department of Health.
Within the nutrition field, apart from Registered Nutritionists (who are qualified and competent in nutritional science and practice at professional level and are registered with the AfN UKVRN) and Registered Dietitians, (who are registered with the HPC and work in a clinical setting at professional level), there are no schemes aimed at improving and validating the competence of the frontline nutrition workforce at Levels 3 and 4 on the Public Health Skills and Career Framework (PHSCF). There is also no mechanism for ensuring the nutrition advice given to the public by Health Professionals at Level 5+ is accurate or consistent.
The Workforce Competence Model is made up of 10 competences and a Code of Practice, developed and tested with the target workforce.
The purpose of this three-year Project, ‘Improving Capacity, Confidence and Competence in Nutrition across the Workforce,’ is to make a significant contribution to reducing nutrition-related health inequalities in disadvantaged areas, by establishing a quality assurance framework in nutrition to improve the skill and competence of front-line workers providing nutrition advice to the public.
The Workforce Competence Model in Nutrition sets a baseline of nutrition knowledge for frontline workers and healthcare professionals who interact with the public on a daily basis. The Project has an England wide scope, although developments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offer potential to share learning.
For more information please visit the Association for Nutrition website .