The position statement on lifelong learning (College of Occupational Therapists
2002) underlined the importance of lifelong learning for all by promoting the
rights, needs and responsibilities of occupational therapy personnel as
learners, supporters, facilitators and providers of learning opportunities. It also
highlighted the fact that lifelong learning is directed towards equalising
opportunities for organisational, personal and professional development, in
the interests of client-centred practice and public protection.
The position statement emphasised the importance of continuing
professional development for all members of the British Association and
College of Occupational Therapists, whether associate member, student,
practitioner, educator, researcher or manager. The principles stated in the
position statement are embedded in this strategic vision and action plan,
namely to widen participation and to offer, develop and engage with learning
opportunities for all personnel, regardless of learning experience, employment
sector, role or specialty. The importance of developing teamwork through
interprofessional learning and working is also emphasised.
The strategy objectives emerged from a listening event held at the College
of Occupational Therapists on 10 October 2002 (Rowan 2003). Representatives
of support workers, higher education institutions, specialist sections, the four
home countries, managers, researchers and practitioners contributed to this
event. This event focused on exploring the needs of specific groups of people
involved in occupational therapy and so common themes began to emerge,
namely diversity and inclusivity of opportunities; flexibility of delivery; valuing
achievement in learning; creativity by doing things differently; transformational
learning to manage change; and integrated and interprofessional learning.
College of Occupational Therapists:
Strategic Vision and Action Plan for
Introduction Need for a strategic vision and action plan
In October 2003, there were 25,852 registered occupational
Current learning activities facilitated by therapists in the United Kingdom (Health Professions Council
the College of Occupational Therapists [HPC] 2003) and 25,551 members of the British Association
Lifelong learning for the occupational therapy workforce and College of Occupational Therapists (BAOT/COT),
spans aspiration raising, support worker development, including students and associate members. Therefore, in
pre-registration education, continuing professional developing the lifelong learning strategic vision and action
development (CPD), postgraduate scholarship and plan, the needs of all these people require to be taken into
research. Links to organisations are provided in account. In the wider context of the lifelong learning strategic
Appendix 1 and specific activities are identified in vision and action plan, there may also be the requirement to
Appendices 2 and 3. recognise the needs of those people who are not yet part of
Lifelong learning provision within occupational therapy the profession (in terms of awareness raising and aspiration)
has developed as the need has been recognised and and those people who may be the recipients of occupational
acknowledged. The College of Occupational Therapists therapy interventions as users of services.
(COT) now wishes to encapsulate this responsive, The overarching aim of this 5-year lifelong learning
incremental approach into a proactive, overarching 5-year strategic vision and action plan is to create a culture of
lifelong learning strategic vision and action plan, with lifelong learning being a continuum within academic, work
ongoing review. In this context, occupational therapy and social environments. This strategic vision and action
personnel will be encouraged to take advantage of the plan, developed from the position statement on lifelong
opportunities offered for lifelong learning in both formal and learning (COT 2002) and a listening event (Rowan 2003), is
informal learning contexts. informed by the need for:
20 British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1)
n Diversity and inclusivity, which involves having a plan seeks to embrace the learning needs of all the
sufficient range of learning opportunities that is constituent groups of the profession by equalising
accessible to all regardless of background, race, religion, opportunities for organisational, personal and professional
culture, age, gender and disability (Department of Health development, in the interests of client-centred practice
[DH] 2000c), that is, equity of both provision and and public protection.
opportunity for the great diversity of occupational
n A flexible blend of delivery, which means that the Strategic vision and action plan
lifelong learning opportunities are:
– Learner centred Objective 1: The COT will contribute to the
– High quality drive for diversity and inclusivity in the
– Accessible to all and comply with the Disability workforce through the provision of
Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the Special learning opportunities for all personnel
Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) involved in the delivery of occupational
principles (Great Britain Parliament 1995, 2001) therapy services
– Flexible in terms of entry and exit points (DH 2001) In support of the policy objectives and initiatives within
– Available in a range of modes of delivery health, social care and education, there is a need for the
– Offering formal and informal opportunities. COT to recognise its responsibility to reflect the requirement
n Valuing the achievement of learning of the individual, for diversity and inclusivity in its own strategic vision and
which is concerned with the recognition of formal and action plan (DH 2001).
informal learning through the validation and A strategic framework would need to identify the scope
accreditation of prior experience and learning of the current diversity of the occupational therapy
(APEL/APL) and enabling this to count towards further workforce, identify the gaps in provision and work towards
study and career progression (Carter 1999). identifying key tasks and actions that would better reflect
n Creativity in education, which is concerned with the needs of the health and social care workforce and,
supporting the Government agenda for modernisation ultimately, clients. This could be achieved by a clear
and change by encouraging the development of novel recruitment strategy concentrating on flexibility of entry
and innovative ways of supporting learning in routes to underpin this objective, with clear targets of how
occupational therapy, for example, work-based learning, the COT and its networks will collaborate to achieve change.
e-learning and multi-mode delivery. It includes The intention would be to build on the current range of
flexibility, divergent thought, originality and the ability to occupational therapy educational provision – pre-qualifying,
organise perceptions and emotions (Hoy 1998), which pre-registration, post-qualifying and postgraduate –
enables creative solutions in unfamiliar situations. identifying emerging examples of good practice and
n Transformational learning (Mezirow 1997), which is developing opportunities. Working in collaboration with
about changing perceptions to see new meanings in and key stakeholders and other allied health professionals
new applications and implications of knowledge that is involved in educational provision and contracting would
already known, producing a significant impact on the demonstrate the COT’s commitment to an inclusive and
learner’s subsequent practice (Clark 1993). There are diverse approach to lifelong learning.
three common themes in transformational learning, that
is, that it is based on experience, on critical reflection Action
and on rational discourse (Mezirow 1997). The COT will:
n Interprofessional learning, which is a tool for n Encourage the inclusion of individuals from a wide
encouraging a collaborative working culture between range of backgrounds and with different cultural
professions and agencies by learning from and about perspectives in support of the need for a diverse
each other in order to improve collaboration and the workforce (DH 2001, Higher Education Funding
quality and integration of care across agencies (Centre Council for England [HEFCE] 2001b). This will be
for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education achieved through continuing work with the
[CAIPE] 2003). Occupational Therapists’ Admissions Forum (OTAF) and
The intention of this strategic vision and action plan is to: through the COT’s networks of education purchasers
– Provide leadership, guidance and validity to the and providers and will be monitored in the Joint
activities required to maintain and demonstrate fitness Validation Committee’s (JVC’s) annual monitoring report.
for award, professional practice and purpose. n Continue to collect and analyse admissions data from
– Raise awareness of and create equality of learning programme annual monitoring reports to demonstrate
opportunities for all occupational therapy personnel. and develop a recruitment strategy that will seek to
– Encourage ownership of and responsibility for one’s improve the diversity of students entering the profession
own learning for all members of the profession and for (JVC 2002).
those who work with occupational therapists. n Encourage occupational therapy employers, service
Within these parameters, the strategic vision and action managers and education providers to demonstrate that
British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1) 21
they are taking ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure that modernisation projects about what works and disseminate
employees/students from diverse backgrounds are not at that learning.
a disadvantage compared with other employees/students
in the organisation (Great Britain Parliament 2001). Action
n Ensure that it provides careers and learning information The COT will:
for potential students and careers advisers in a range of n Encourage education providers to support and, where
formats for students with disabilities and in languages appropriate, work in partnership with further education
other than English. colleges to offer progressive levels of education; for
n Require that an inclusivity and widening participation example, from cadetships and access routes to
statement is included in programme documents, which pre-registration programme schemes, and from
clearly targets under-represented groups, especially workplace learning to pre-registration or post-
people with disabilities, and is supported by learning, registration occupational therapy education. This will be
teaching and assessment strategies that enable success based on a coherent and transparent system of education
(HEFCE 2001d). progression (Scottish Office 1998, Quality Assurance
n Develop a recruitment strategy that will raise knowledge Agency [QAA] 2001d).
about and expectations of occupational therapy as a n Collect data about the range of flexible education
career for young people and others from under-represented programmes and practice placements delivered by each
groups (HEFCE 2002b). provider and the implementation of protected time and
n Expect educational programmes to give learners the supervision by each employer organisation (Ilott and
opportunity to experience a range of contemporary White 2001, COT 2002).
practice areas that underpins the philosophy of n Support regional and local group activities in order to
inclusivity and diversity (JVC 2003). provide mentoring for members, and enable facilitators
n Develop lifelong learning opportunities for associate to encourage support personnel to entry-level
members and support workers in occupational therapy. competence (Candelin 2002).
n Respect student diversity by encouraging programme
Objective 2: The COT will support the development and delivery that reflects student learning
development of flexible models of and responsibility needs and contemporary practice; for
learning at different levels and with an example, part-time workers, carers of their own
assortment of stepping on and stepping dependants and students with disabilities (Scottish
off points, in a range of locations and Office 1998, Audit Commission 2001, HEFCE 2001d).
through a variety of modes of delivery n Encourage the delivery of client-centred learning, based
In reflecting the needs of occupational therapy personnel, on benchmarks and competencies, to increase
students and potential students, the COT will encourage the knowledge, understanding and skills and an appropriate
development of programmes that support the modernisation balance between academic and practice education (Audit
agenda for education, health and social care, without Commission 2001, DH 2001, QAA 2001b).
compromising quality. The COT will stand firm on the issue n Encourage members to adopt a local school (Scottish
of maintaining standards for entry to the profession Office 1998, HEFCE 2002c) for aspiration raising,
(DH 2001). careers awareness and guidance about occupational
Each provider of pre-registration and post-registration therapy as a career.
education and training will be encouraged to work with the n Encourage occupational therapy personnel to participate
funding agencies to include education at different levels in in mentoring and supervision schemes that will support
its portfolio of programmes (DH 2001, HEFCE 2001d, their role and career development and continuing
Candelin 2002). This will enable progression in learning competence (COT 1997, Audit Commission 2001,
through stepping on and stepping off points (National Audit HEFCE 2001a, 2001d).
Office [NAO] 2001) that are appropriate to the individual
needs and career stages of learners. These programmes Objective 3: The COT will encourage
should be available to learners at a range of locations and members to engage in lifelong learning
times and through a variety of modes of delivery, both while supporting the development of
informal and formal. accreditation, accumulation and recognition
The intention would therefore be to widen access to of learning towards the achievement of
learning based on the provider’s knowledge of the needs of vocational, academic or other awards
sponsors, funding agencies, employers, personnel and All occupational therapy personnel should be encouraged
students (Audit Commission 2001, HEFCE 2001c, 2001d). and will be required to participate actively in lifelong
The COT’s commitment to a flexible and accessible learning in order to maintain their personal competence and
approach to lifelong learning would be demonstrated by continuing registration with the HPC (COT 2000).
encouraging formal and informal, traditional and The COT wishes to encourage the accreditation and
work-based opportunities, any time, any place, anywhere. A recognition of lifelong learning, whether vocational or
second intention would be to learn from current education academic in nature. The accumulation of lifelong learning
22 British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1)
should be based on a development plan designed to of pre-registration degrees as the entry gateway to the
maintain and enhance the individual’s fitness for practice profession (COT 2002). In striving for this goal, individual
and also fitness for purpose. learners may attain the qualification in a number of ways,
The COT believes that a clear, coherent and some of which could be novel and innovative. For example,
well-considered progression of learning opportunities that is many funding agencies are creating pathways of learning
applicable to all occupational therapy personnel is needed. such as cadetships, which could act as pre-entry
This would facilitate career development as desired and also requirements for professional pre-registration education for
contribute to the maintenance of competence, especially those wishing to progress (Scottish Office 1998, DH 2001).
when members change job role. Other strategies have included part-time, twilight
The intention is that the COT will continue to encourage programmes. The increasing move towards work-based
all occupational therapy personnel to engage in lifelong learning (DH 2000a, 2001, HEFCE 2001e) is something to
learning activities that maintain competent and safe practice be carefully considered as an alternative mechanism to
in order to protect the public. This would be achieved by achieving the desired fitness for purpose, practice and
encouraging the provision of appraisal, supervision and award, leading to professional qualification and eligibility to
mentoring, upon which to base development planning. apply for registration. Professional and regulatory bodies
need to be engaged in thinking about these alternative
Action strategies to ensure that quality assurance issues are properly
The COT will: considered and addressed.
n Encourage higher education institutions to accredit prior The National Health Service University (NHSU)
vocational and academic experience and evidence (DH 2002a, 2002c) has stated the importance of addressing
portfolios (QAA 2001a) for credit accumulation entry to the skills shortage in health and social care in creative and
all programmes at all levels. novel ways. It is willing to work in partnership with other
n Encourage education providers to offer support to all stakeholders, including professional bodies, to attain its
occupational therapy personnel to achieve their chosen goals. The COT would wish to be involved in the debate
career pathway or qualification, based on an individual and to influence thinking from the outset; indeed, the COT
learning needs assessment (HEFCE 2001d, 2002c, has a history of innovation that it would wish to maintain.
Candelin 2002). Creativity is energising and exciting but careful
n Encourage all support personnel to find, access and attain consideration and grounding are the key to making
appropriate support worker qualifications by 2006 (Audit creativity productive.
Commission 2001) and encourage employers to support The intention of the COT in this context is to guarantee
the achievement of this through the provision of identified its involvement with key stakeholders to ensure that a
and protected CPD time, supervision and mentoring. rational and well-considered approach is adopted. This
n Expect all occupational therapy personnel to keep a would enable education providers to develop novel
portfolio that demonstrates evidence of achievement and approaches and learners to engage with them, whilst at the
application of learning through development plan same time ensuring meaningful learning and seamless
objectives, leading to continuing competence to practise progression to other learning where this is desired.
n Expect that all registered occupational therapists will Action
enhance their skills in management and leadership, The COT will:
teamwork, supervision and mentoring, assessment and n Support education providers in creative thinking about a
communication, IT, clinical audit and reflective practice variety of routes for new recruits and existing support
(COT 1997, Scottish Office 1998, Audit Commission workers to access pre-registration education where
2001, Secretary of State for Health 2001, DH 2001, desired through disseminating best practice and
HEFCE 2001a, Ilott and White 2001, NAO 2001, QAA providing opportunities for discussion, in collaboration
2001a, 2001b, Joint Committee on Higher Medical with funding agencies, regulatory bodies, other allied
Training [JCHMT] 2003). health professionals and higher education institution
n Encourage all occupational therapy personnel, whether colleagues.
qualified or support workers, to progress their careers n Work with regulatory bodies and quality assurance
through the achievement of vocational, academic and agencies in ensuring the maintenance of standards and
other awards (DH 2001, 2002c, Candelin 2002). clear linking of stepping on and stepping off points.
n Work with stakeholders and providers to explore the
Objective 4: In recognising the differing development of work-based learning routes, which
needs of learners and the potential for could lead to pre-registration education if desired
learners to succeed, the COT will work (DH 2001).
actively towards supporting creative and n Collect and evaluate evidence of novel and innovative
innovative opportunities for learning and learning opportunities that enable learners to work
personal achievement towards learning achievement and support worker or
The traditional view of education has seen the development professional qualifications.
British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1) 23
n Encourage the development of e-learning to support n Work with key stakeholders and providers in
flexible and distance learning, improve communication encouraging transformational approaches to education
opportunities and support students who are working (Clark 1993, Mezirow 1997).
remotely (Scottish Office 1998, DH 2001). n Expect educators and practitioners to develop, for all
n With the Practice Placement Tutors Forum (PPTF), occupational therapy staff, models of work-based
continue to explore and develop a range of practice supervision and mentoring that support
placement opportunities and strategies to address the transformational thinking and learning and its
need to increase the numbers of practice placements and application to and implementation in the workplace
maintain their quality (English National Board for (Audit Commission 2001).
Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting [ENB] and DH n Promote work-life balance to give space for
2001, Barr 2002). transformational thinking and application (National Joint
n Engage with other health and social care practitioners to Council for Local Government Services 2001, DH
explore and develop additional creativity around 2002b, Department of Trade and Industry [DTI] 2003).
interprofessional education (Scottish Office 1998, n Support research capacity by the creative use of sabbaticals
Ilott and White 2001, QAA 2001b). and clinically based research posts (HEFCE 2001a)
n Support the continuing development of Master’s and
Objective 5: In transforming learning, the Professional Doctorate programmes in support of clinical
COT will support learning opportunities for specialist and consultant roles.
individuals and groups that will enable the n Encourage an evidence-based approach to learning that
enhancement and development of the gives individuals confidence to explore different
knowledge, skills and attitudes required for applications in the workplace and disseminate their
a changing environment and changing findings (DH 2001, Ilott and White 2001).
contexts; for example, clients and their carers,
organisational, professional and individual Objective 6: The COT will support and
Recognition of achievement enables the identification of a contribute to the continuing need for
standard of proficiency that leads to eligibility to apply for integrated and interprofessional learning in
state registration coupled with fitness for award and entry to cooperation with other health and social
the profession. This is, in part, a measure of the level of care professions and relevant organisations;
thinking that begins to prepare people for the dynamic and for example, education, work and pensions
ever-changing world of work (QAA 2001c, COT 2003). The COT has a strong belief in interprofessional
Registration and re-registration give a snapshot in time of collaboration, whilst at the same time acknowledging the
the capability required for state registration. They do not unique contribution of each profession (Learning for
necessarily provide evidence of a person’s ability to adapt to Partnership 2001). The COT would wish to provide
the dynamic aspects of being employed. These episodes of leadership to promote learning between different groups
judging achievement and competence are set against a that would lead to effective coordination and high quality
dynamic health and social care system, with a workforce patient care. Occupational therapy personnel should
whose roles, responsibilities and expectations are being therefore respect the needs, practices, unique competencies
redefined, redesigned and extended (Secretary of State for and responsibilities of their own and other professions,
Health 1998, DH 2000b). institutions and statutory and voluntary agencies that
Learning, therefore, needs to take account of this constitute their working environment.
dynamic interface of the skills, knowledge and competencies Interprofessional learning is a perceived key to the
of the worker with the capacity, changing needs and development of effective multidisciplinary working and, if
contexts of the workplace (Audit Commission 2001, DH this is the case, there is a real opportunity to influence
2001). It could be argued that learning needs to be able to practice (National Health Service Executive [NHSE] 1995,
transform how individuals work in health and social care, Miller et al 1999, DH 2001, Secretary of State for Health
coupled with the ability to transfer and apply general 2001). However, evidence is required to substantiate this
principles to a range of service contexts. claim or to support the most effective models.
The intention of the strategic vision and action plan The intention of this strategy would be to build on the
would be to support and evidence examples of current range of interprofessional lifelong learning opportunities
transformational learning. and emerging examples of good practice and to develop
opportunities for occupational therapy personnel to:
Action – Ensure the provision of well-coordinated services
The COT will, in collaboration with higher education – Ensure that services are delivered in the most effective way
institutions, funding agencies and health and social care – Work collaboratively and in partnership with others
professions: – Ensure that the quality agenda and the protection of the
n Support the development of a range of learning activities public remain a priority
that enable transformational working/learning to occur – Investigate the effectiveness of interprofessional education
(Audit Commission 2001, HEFCE 2001d, 2002b, Nicol 2002). in improving client care.
24 British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1)
Action need for the strategy and action points to be owned and
The COT will: implemented at a local level by support workers, students,
n Collect and analyse academic and placement data from practitioners, educators, researchers and managers. The
programme annual monitoring reports to demonstrate COT would like to be informed of issues regarding
that interprofessional education occurs during the implementation, examples of good practice and novel
second and third stages of pre-registration education solutions that have worked well. Feedback will be welcomed
programmes (Miller et al 1999). (see Appendix 4) because, in the same way that
n Encourage education providers to collect and analyse transformational learning should be dynamic, so this
data on the effectiveness of interprofessional education strategic vision and action plan will be continuously shaped
and its impact on practice and client care and to publish by people’s use of it.
n Encourage education providers and employers to offer Acknowledgements
grade-specific and multi-grade interprofessional learning Author acknowledgements: COT Officers, COT Education and Practice
opportunities in a range of practice-based locations Board, and consultation partners.
(Learning for Partnership 2001, COT 2002).
n Encourage occupational therapy personnel through References
formal and informal learning to develop Audit Commission for Local Authorities in England and Wales (2001)
interprofessional/interagency working skills such as: Hidden talents. London: Audit Commission. Available at:
– Audit skills http://www .swap.ac.uk/Learning/IPE1.asp Accessed on 22.01.03.
– Information management skills, particularly the Barr H (2002) Interprofessional education yesterday, today and tomorrow:
European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) a review London: Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional
– Critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills Education.
– Communication skills Candelin A (2002) Modernisation across the continuum of education. Paper
– Management and leadership skills (Secretary of State presented at a conference on Lifelong Learning: Developing the College’s
for Health 2001, COT 2002). Strategy, 10 October. London: College of Occupational Therapists.
Carter C (1999) We live and learn. Learning from Experience Trust.
Available at: http://www.learningexperience.org.uk/publications.php
Conclusion Accessed on 23.01.03.
Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (2003)
Lifelong learning is about the maintenance and enhancement of Interprofessional education (IPE): definitions and drivers. London: CAIPE.
the competence, knowledge and expertise of occupational Clark MC (1993) Transformational learning. New Directions for Adult and
therapy personnel. It is a career-long process that should be Continuing Education, 57, 47-56.
carried out according to a development plan formulated with College of Occupational Therapists (1997) Statement on supervision in
regard to the needs of the client, the professional, the employer, occupational therapy. London: COT.
the profession and society (Madden and Mitchell 1993). College of Occupational Therapists (2000) Code of ethics and professional
As such, lifelong learning is the concern and responsibility of all conduct for occupational therapists. London: COT.
occupational therapy personnel, regardless of employment College of Occupational Therapists (2001) Resource pack for occupational
sector, job role, specialty or grade. The objectives and actions in this therapists returning to practice after a career break. London: COT.
strategy therefore reflect the College of Occupational Therapists’ College of Occupational Therapists (2002) Position statement on lifelong
commitment to this vision. The implementation of this strategic learning. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(5), 198-200.
vision and action plan will involve the development of College of Occupational Therapists (2003) Career handbook: wake up to a
partnerships between stakeholders across public, private different challenge every day. London: COT.
and voluntary sectors in education, health and social care. Department of Health (2000a) Meeting the challenge: a strategy for the
However, this strategy will also rely heavily on the allied health professions. London: DH.
commitment of individual occupational therapy personnel Department of Health (2000b) A health service of all talents: developing
to maintain their own competence and that of the people the NHS workforce. Consultation document on the review of
with whom they practise. workforce planning. London: DH.
The implementation of this strategy will depend on Department of Health (2000c) Positively diverse: Report 2000. London: DH.
many interrelated factors, for example, resources such as Department of Health (2001) W orking together, learning together: a
finance, support and protected CPD time, set against a framework for lifelong learning in the NHS. London: DH.
context that is changing constantly. The strategy will be Department of Health (2002a) Learning for everyone: a development plan
prioritised, monitored and reviewed by the Education and for NHSU. London: DH.
Practice Board and the Council of the COT within the Department of Health (2002b) Improving working lives for the allied
context of the COT’s business planning process. health professions and healthcare scientists. London: DH.
As with its research and development strategic vision Department of Health (2002c) NHSU: putting learning for everyone at the
and action plan, the COT recognises its responsibilities for heart of healthcare. London: DH.
moving this lifelong learning strategic vision and action plan Department of Trade and Industry (2003) Balancing work and family life:
forward at a corporate level, but would wish to reinforce the enhancing choice and support for parents. London: DTI.
British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1) 25
English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, London: English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and
Department of Health (2001) Placements in focus: guidance for Health Visiting.
education in practice for health care professions. London: ENB. National Audit Office (2001) Educating and training the future health
Fenech A (2001) Demonstrating CPD through reflective outcomes. professional workforce for England. London: NAO.
Occupational Therapy News, 9(9), 18. National Health Service Executive (1995) Non-medical education and
Great Britain Parliament (1995) Disability Discrimination Act. London: HMSO. training planning guidance 1996/97, education commissioning.
Great Britain Parliament (2001) Special Educational Needs and Disability (EL (95) 96.) London: NHSE.
Act 2001. London: Stationery Office. National Joint Council for Local Government Services (2001) Finding the
Health Professions Council (2003) About the HPC – facts and figures. balance: work-life policies in practice. London: Employers’
Available at: http://www.hpc-uk.org/about_us/facts_figures.htm Organisation for Local Government.
Accessed on 19.11.03. Nicol M (2002) The tartan perspective. Paper presented at a conference on
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2001a) Promoting Lifelong Learning: Developing the College’s Strategy, 10 October.
research in nursing and the allied health professions. Bristol: HEFCE. London: College of Occupational Therapists.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2001b) Strategies for Quality Assurance Agency (2001a) Scottish credit and qualifications
widening participation in higher education. Bristol: HEFCE. framework. Gloucester: QAA.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2001c) HEFCE strategic Quality Assurance Agency (2001b) Subject benchmark statements:
plan 2001-06. Bristol: HEFCE. healthcare programmes: occupational therapy. Gloucester: QAA.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2001d) Higher education Quality Assurance Agency (2001c) Framework for higher education
and the regions. Bristol: HEFCE. qualifications in England, W and Northern Ireland. Gloucester: QAA.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2001e) Partnerships for Quality Assurance Agency (2001d) Code of practice for the assurance of
progression. Bristol: HEFCE. academic quality and standards in higher education. Gloucester: QAA.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2002a) Improving Rowan SM (2003) Lifelong learning: developing the College’s strategy.
provision for disabled students. Bristol: HEFCE. Occupational Therapy News, 11(1), 22.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2002b) Successful student Scottish Office (1998) Opportunity Scotland: a paper on lifelong learning.
diversity. Bristol: HEFCE. Edinburgh: Stationery Office.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2002c) Funding for Secretary of State for Health (1998) Modernising social services:
widening participation in higher education. Bristol: HEFCE. promoting independence, improving protection, raising standards.
Hoy G (1998) Imagination and creativity in education. Available at: (Command Paper 4169.) London: Stationery Office.
http://www .feel.org/articles/creativity.html Accessed on 23.01.03. Secretary of State for Health (2001) Learning from Bristol: the report of
Ilott I, White E (2001) College of Occupational Therapists’ research and the public inquiry into children’s heart surgery at the Bristol Royal
development strategic vision and action plan. British Journal of Infirmary 1984-1995. (Command Paper 5207-1.) London: Stationery
Occupational Therapy, 64(6), 270-77. Office.
Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training (2003) Higher medical
training: generic curriculum. London: JCHMT. Further reading
Joint Validation Committee (2002) Report of the monitoring schedule: Agarwal D (2001) Creativity in education. Available at:
academic year 2000-2001. London: COT. http://www.parentspitara.com/school/teaching/online.asp?unit=8
Joint Validation Committee (2003) Standards for education: Accessed on 23.01.03.
pre-registration education standards. London: COT. College of Occupational Therapists (2000) The role and responsibilities of
Learning for Partnership (2001) The learning for partnership network: support workers in the delivery of occupational therapy services.
statements on learning for partnership. Available at: (Standard of Practice.) London: COT.
http://www.caipe.org.uk/documents/lfpwebpage2.pdf Quality Assurance Agency (2002) Distance learning guidelines.
Accessed on 23.01.03. Gloucester: QAA.
Madden CA, Mitchell VA (1993) Professions, standards and competence: Secretary of State for Health (2000) The NHS plan: a plan for investment,
a survey of continuing education for the professions. Bristol: a plan for reform. (Command Paper 4818-I.) London: Stationery Office.
Department for Continuing Education, University of Bristol. United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting
Mezirow J (1997) Transformative learning: theory to practice. New (2001) Fitness for practice and purpose. The report of the UKCC’s
Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 74, 5-12. Post Commission Development Group. London: UKCC.
Miller C, Ross N, Freeman M (1999) Shared learning and clinical World Health Organisation (2001) International classification of
teamwork: new directions in education for multiprofessional practice. functioning, disability and health. Geneva: WHO.
26 British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1)
Appendix 1. Glossary and links to organisations
Abbreviation or acronym Full description Link to organisation or example organisation
APEL Accreditation of prior experience and learning http://www.brighton.ac.uk/audience/app/APL.html
APL Accreditation of prior learning http://www.ucas.ac.uk/candq/apl/
BAOT British Association of Occupational Therapists http://www.baot.org.uk/
COT College of Occupational Therapists http://www.cot.org.uk/
CPD Continuing professional development http://www.imperial.ac.uk/cpd/
DDA Disability Discrimination Act 1995 http://www.drc-gb.org/law/dda.asp
DH Department of Health http://www.doh.gov.uk/
DTI Department of Trade and Industry http://www.dti.gov.uk/
ECDL European Computer Driving Licence http://www.ecdl.co.uk/
ENB English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and
HEFCE Higher Education Funding Council for England http://www.hefce.ac.uk/
JCHMT Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training http://www.jchmt.org.uk/
JVC Joint Validation Committee, now PRETWG(OT),
Pre-Registration Education and Training Working
Group (Occupational Therapy)
NAO National Audit Office http://www.nao.gov.uk/
NHSE National Health Service Executive http://www.tso-nhse.co.uk
NHSU National Health Service University http://www.nhsu.nhs.uk/index.htm
OTAF Occupational Therapists’ Admissions Forum
PPTF Practice Placement Tutors Forum
QAA Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education http://www.qaa.ac.uk/
SENDA Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2001/20010010.htm
UACE Universities Association for Continuing Education http://www.uace.org.uk/
Appendix 2. Current lifelong learning opportunities Practice placement education
Support workers This is a vital and integral part of the pre-registration education (ENB and
Lifelong learning opportunities for support workers currently include DH 2001, JVC 2002) of all occupational therapists. Practice education
regional and national study days and programmes, work-based formal and relies on occupational therapists acknowledging their responsibility to
informal learning, and vocational and academic qualifications, and should support the education of occupational therapy students and others and to
be based around supervision (COT 2000), appraisal and development maintain their personal and professional competence as highlighted in
plans (Fenech 2001). Examples of formal learning include National their Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (COT 2000). Formal and
Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), foundation degrees and modules at informal mechanisms to achieve capability in practice education exist and
level 0 (Candelin 2002). Informal learning opportunities include job standards are explicit in the JVC and practice placement standards (JVC 2003).
rotation and supervision.
Continuing professional development, research and scholarship
Pre-registration occupational therapy education There are many lifelong learning, post-qualification and postgraduate
The last 20 years have seen a progressive growth in the size, number and education opportunities in the UK. For occupational therapists these may
mode of delivery of pre-registration occupational therapy education be profession-specific or more generic, such as an MBA. A database of
(JVC 2002). There are currently 47 programmes being delivered by these opportunities can be found at http://www .postgrad.hobsons.com/
27 institutions (COT 2003), with growth in other areas still being where each programme is described and the contact details are given.
In 2003, there were 5,200 students enrolled on pre-registration Return to practice reorientation and updating programmes
occupational therapy programmes in the UK, which offer a variety of The COT recognises that members who have had a career break may need
full-time or part-time 2-year, 3-year and 4-year pre-registration degrees, a programme of reorientation and updating when they return to work
for example: (COT 2001). All have differing learning needs and are required to develop
n First-degree BSc (Hons) programmes last 3-4 years (COT 2002). and evidence their competence to practise. The COT therefore encourages
n Accelerated 2-year full-time programmes are also available for occupational therapy service managers and returnees to work to negotiate
students with a previous degree, leading to a variety of exit awards. the development of a learning agreement/contract. This should be based
n Four-year in-service/part-time programmes are available for students, upon the needs of the organisation, the access to individual resources, the
some of whom will already be employed either as an occupational returnee’s personal circumstances (COT 2001) and the requirements of the
therapy support worker or a technical instructor. It is anticipated that HPC in meeting minimum standards of proficiency. Learning
creative strategies will continue to emerge that address the agreements/contracts should include planned work experience in all areas
modernising the workforce agenda. jointly identified as requiring updating.
British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1) 27
Appendix 3. These examples, drawn from the lifelong learning listening event, are given as activities for each of the groups of
personnel involved in occupational therapy service delivery
Support workers, examples included: Aspiration raising prior to working Practitioners’ CPD and scholarship,
or studying, examples included: examples included:
n Learning opportunities being offered in n Careers literature that raises the n Maintaining fitness for purpose and practice should
a range of locations and modes of expectations of being able to study reflect HPC and national policy
delivery occupational therapy and increases n Within the interprofessional setting, being confident
n Formal supervision with a focus on knowledge about occupational and secure in the core skills and values of occupational
work/development of knowledge therapy as a career therapy
and skills n Strengthen links with schools n Return to practice education
n Flexibility of access and completion through, for example, shadowing, n Offering practice education, supervision and mentoring
n Vocational and academic courses associate student schemes, and local n Using research to change and inform practice
n Collaboration with other professions careers events n Advanced practice and clinical specialist courses
n NVQ level 2 or 3 for all support workers
Educators and researchers, All groups stressed the need for learning opportunities to:
n Collaborative research posts in higher n Be accessible to all, in a range of locations and modes
education institutions and practice
which promote research to advance
Lifelong of delivery
n Be based on the needs of the professional, the
scholarship Learning organisation, the profession and society (Madden and
n Jointly appointed practice placement Mitchell 1993)
tutors to increase the quality and the n Strengthen career and learning progression routes
number of placements
Practice educators, examples Interprofessional and common Pre-registration occupational therapy education,
included: learning in all settings, examples examples included:
n Range of placements to reflect contemporary n Encourage the implementation of n Programme retention strategies to include uniquely
practice and wider approaches to learning, interprofessional learning/common designed support for students
for example, virtual learning environments learning for all sectors of the n Programme inclusivity statements to include
and skills laboratories profession, for example, specialist accessibility of appropriate support and learning
n Maintaining educator skills, for example, sections resources and flexible modes of assessment
through CPD requirements and mentoring n Recruiting students from under-represented groups
and support for the educator role n Interprofessional placements in second and third part
n The qualities of the educator are important, of course
not his or her professional background n Interprofessional/agency-working/team-work skills
n Quality audit of placements related to n Role for public and clients and cultural competence
Appendix 4. Request for comments on the strategic vision and action plan
The Strategic Vision and Action Plan for Lifelong Learning has been approved by the College of Occupational Therapists for implementation. The COT
welcomes and is seeking comments on the strategy. The comments may be provided under the following headings:
– Diversity and inclusivity
– A flexible blend of delivery
– Valuing achievement in learning
– Creativity in education
– Transformational learning to manage change
– Integrated and interprofessional learning.
Alternatively, please feed back your comments as you wish.
Comments should be sent to:
Group Head, Education,
British Association/College of Occupational Therapists,
106-114 Borough High Street,
London SE1 1LB.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7450 2362 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7450 2365
28 British Journal of Occupational Therapy January 2004 67(1)