7 - Apprentices PhotoThe support workforce in the NHS make up around 40% of its 1.7 million workers, provide around 60% of direct patient contact – and yet do so with less than 5% of the national training budget.

Talent for Care is a national strategic framework that is making a difference to the development opportunities available to the support workforce in the NHS. Through improving the education, training and development for support staff, we expect to see an increase in the quality of patient care and a more flexible workforce for organisations, as well as recognising the value and vital role of the support workforce.

Identified as a key priority by the Department of Health, and with a particular focus on improving training and education for Health Care Assistants being driven by the Francis report and the Cavendish review, Talent for Care emphasises the importance of development for all support staff. Led by Health Education England, Talent for Care is a partnership with many national and local organisations, including trade unions. The strategic framework is being formally launched today, 4 March 2015 – follow the day using #talentforcare.

Talent for Care comprises three main themes: Get In, Get On and Go Further. Local organisations are already doing some great work under each of these themes, making a really positive difference to their workforce, their patients and their local community.

Get In is about opening up opportunities for people to start their career in a support role. We are working with some great organisations, including Inspiring the Future and the Prince’s Trust, to encourage young people to think about a career in the NHS and enable them to do some work experience in an NHS organisation.

Get On is about supporting people to be the best they can be in the job they do. The Care Certificate goes live from 1 April 2015, meaning every new Health Care Assistant undergoes specific training and can demonstrate certain competencies as part of their induction process. We have a target to double the number of healthcare apprenticeships by March 2016, giving both new recruits and existing staff the opportunity to study while they work, gaining a qualification while directly applying their learning to their job role.

Go Further looks to provide opportunities for career progression, including into registered professions. We are working to simplify progression routes and are increasing the number of places available to study part-time for those with the potential and desire to become a registered professional. A new bridging programme will enable vocational learners to develop the study skills needed to progress and success in Higher Education programmes.

Take a look at our video below and visit our website for more information and to read more stories of how Talent for Care is making a real difference to people. You can also find Talent for Care on Facebook and LinkedIn, and using #talentforcare on Twitter.