New national consortium for hospice education and training

Categories: Education.

Earlier this year Help the Hospices led a consultation process in which 97 individuals from 71 hospices took part. The feedback from the process has endorsed the charity’s intention to support hospices that want to share and build on their experience of working collaboratively.

Sally Garbett has been seconded for two days a week from St Christopher’s Hospice to support the development of the consortium and help extend the delivery of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) among Help the Hospices members. She has assisted St Giles Hospice and St Christopher’s to establish QCF qualification provision and supported St Christopher’s in gaining approval by City and Guilds as a QCF qualification centre.

Does your hospice wish to participate in Skills Funding Agency (SfA) vocational qualification delivery?

In order to progress a key strand of this initiative there is an urgency to identify hospices that wish to participate in Skills Funding Agency (SfA) vocational qualification delivery in the academic year 2014-2015.

The Skills Funding Agency will only allocate a contract for vocational education delivery to a ‘prime provider’, ie an organisation able to deliver £500K worth of training. Smaller training organisations can only access SfA funds via a relationship with a prime provider – prime providers are a combination of private sector training companies and colleges.

In order to support hospices to access the vocational education delivery, the Consortium will facilitate negotiations and contracting with a prime provider. 

Emma Hodges, Deputy Chief Executive, St Giles Hospice and member of the consortium advisory group, explains: “A practical example of this is the funding allocations that St Giles Hospice receives via a partnership with South Staffordshire College. The college provides the accreditation and funding and charges a management fee which is taken off the SFA funding received. St Giles delivers and assesses some education programmes on its own and some are delivered jointly with college tutors.”

Help the Hospices has published a document which provides further details of the project, examples of SfA funded qualifications and education programmes, information on who to contact and the project time frames.

Deadline fast approaching

If your hospice wishes to participate in SfA funded programmes and would like support from the Consortium to identify a prime provider, please contact Sally Garbett: by Friday 16 May, providing the details of the person at your hospice who will be the main contact for the Hospice Education Consortium. 

The urgency in responding relates to the fact that college funding allocations are in the process of being negotiated; if the tight timetable is missed, hospices will be unable to take advantage of the opportunity for the coming academic year. 

In the pilot phase of the Hospice Education Consortium, Help the Hospices are only seeking prime provider partnerships with organisations in England. This is because the funding mechanisms are different in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. However hospices throughout the UK will be able to benefit from other activities of the consortium and we will seek to extend the project beyond England after the initial pilot. Because of this, we would also like to hear from hospices who may wish to participate in the consortium in the longer term. 

If you have questions or would like to discuss any aspect of this work you can contact Sally at

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