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Developing the Future Workforce: Virtual Live Learning Sessions

11 May 2022

While much of our work focuses on families and the local maternity and early years workforce in the here and now, we’re also keen to develop and influence the future workforce, particularly around the importance of prevention and early intervention.

Here’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, Emma Goff, explaining one of the new ways we’ve been doing this:

“Over the past few months we’ve been further developing our offer to local students to help them better-understand our programme and benefit from the wealth of expertise our project teams and other partners have to offer. We were also keen to shine a spotlight on prevention within early years and the importance of the first 1001 days, encouraging the workforce in general to embed this into all areas of their practice.

In October 2021 we trialled a series of virtual live learning sessions, giving students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to benefit from our partners’ extensive knowledge and expertise, ranging from infant mental health and adverse childhood experiences (delivered by Edwina Lintin, pictured above) to community engagement.

Two sessions were delivered every Friday for 10 weeks via MS Teams – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Attendees could book onto the sessions most relevant or of most interest to them, but the overall aim was to embed the message that we are all an essential part of the system for babies, children and young people, and that all services play an essential part in improving outcomes.

We worked in close partnership with Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust to publicise the sessions to all appropriate students and are extremely grateful for support we received from them and other partners across the district.

An additional benefit of having these sessions in place was that we could offer them out to the wider workforce, and in particular colleagues who are supporting students’ placement in the community, especially the recent increase in nursing students.

We were also able to offer them to new members of the workforce and soon gained bookings from early years facilitators, public health practitioners and community nursery nurses from across the district.

We had 23 attendees during the trial and received positive feedback from students, facilitators, and placement supervisors, including this from one first year student nurse:

I am currently on placement with the Bradford South 0-19 Health Visiting Team. I attended the Better Start Bradford training earlier this week. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it - it was really engaging, interesting and informative. I've also just finished listing to the Better Start Bradford podcast episodes and wanted to say they are great - I really enjoyed them and will definitely be recommending them to others!

Naturally we had some teething problems to overcome, such as getting used to delivering virtual learning where there is a different host each week. While it brings many benefits, one drawback of virtual delivery is that it can be harder to encourage people to interact and participate in discussion or Q&As, with many attendees preferring to keep their camera off.

We’ve now completed phase two and are currently planning our third Virtual Live Learning Programme, taking all the learning from before to continually improve the offer.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the partners involved in supporting this programme, particularly our own project teams and other partners who facilitated sessions and really got on board with our aim to provide a supportive learning environment to enhance the knowledge and skills of our future workforce.

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