Mass Workshops
 Background to the model

The Association for Nutrition (AfN) managed and led a three year Project, the Nutrition and Health Inequalities Project. This ambitious Project was funded by the Department of Health Third Sector Investment Programme which is dedicated to improving health and wellbeing throughout England. The main objective of the Project was to develop mechanisms for recognizing and enhancing workforce competencies in nutrition at all levels of skill across the health and social care sectors.

The Nutrition & Health Inequalities Project successfully developed a comprehensive quality assurance framework in nutrition entitled the ‘Workforce Competence Model’ based on National Occupational Standards.  The Workforce Competence Model comprises of 10 competence headings covering a range of nutrition knowledge and professional skills. Each competence heading is made up of a series of Knowledge Statements that users will have to demonstrate in order to satisfy the requirements of the Model. Knowledge Statements are specified for each level of the workforce (Levels 3, 4 and 5), increasing in number and depth as the workforce Level increases. Levels 3 and 4 are suitable for the Primary and Secondary Nutrition workforce, Level 5 for Health Professionals. The Model also includes a mandatory code of practice which is applicable to all.

The Model provides a framework to ensure that all frontline staff involved in communicating nutrition messages can demonstrate competence in the subject, focusing on frontline workers with lower levels of nutritional knowledge and skill than is possessed by Registered Nutritionists (on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists). Examples of such workers include Community Food Workers and Community Nutrition Assistants/Advisors and individuals and groups of workers such as Health Trainers, Nursery Nurses and healthcare professionals (GPs, Midwives, Nurses and Pharmacists) who contribute to, but may not directly focus upon nutrition in their daily work.

Workshops to test the model

A series of workshops were held with Community Food Workers, Health Trainers, Nursery Nurses and their managers to test and validate the proposed Model. The workshops explored:

  • Whether the proposed competences are relevant specific and accurate;
  • Whether the overall Competence Model in Nutrition is fit for purpose, valid and robust;
  • Any inadequacies or gaps in the Competence Model in Nutrition;
  • Future recognition and workforce support mechanisms in nutrition.

Feedback from the workshops played a central role in development of a proposed online toolkit designed specifically for up-skilling and supporting the frontline workers. 

Further Information
Recruitment for the workshops has now closed. The Project Team would like to thank all delegates that took part in the workshops for dedicating their time and providing excellent feedback. This feedback will play a central role in the development of a proposed online toolkit designed specifically for up-skilling and supporting the frontline workers.

If you are interested in the workshops specifically, or would like to find out more on the Project, please contact the Project Team directly.

The results of the Mass Workshops will be publicised at the launch event on the 23 February 2012.


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