Changes in the wider workforce

The BPS has been looking into ways to support the recognition of wider psychological professions. Ella Rhodes reports.

Psychological professions in the four nations are set to change immeasurably over the coming years as plans to increase access to mental health support for children, adults and young people come into effect. A recent webinar covered some of the work the society has been doing to prepare for new roles within psychology – looking at ways to recognise these new professions, as well as giving people in newer roles a home within the BPS.

Laura Smith, BPS Workforce Development Manager, and Claire Tilley, Head of Workforce Education, Training and Standards, said that the BPS had been looking into ways to support the recognition of wider psychological professions, or those which do not have a protected title and are not regulated by law. These newer roles include Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs), Children’s Wellbeing Practitioners (CWPs), Education and Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs), Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology (CAAPs) in Scotland, and Clinical Associates in Psychology (CAPs) in England – some of which have been developed following the NHS Long Term Plan and Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

Tilley explained that the BPS had been involved with developing these wider psychological professions and had been working on apprenticeship routes into PWP and CAP roles to ensure they are accessible to as diverse a range of people as possible. The BPS is involved with the training accreditation for PWPs, CAPs and CAAPs and is awaiting approval for accreditation standards for Educational and Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) and Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP) training.

Tilley and Smith said there was a real gap in careers advice for these new roles and that the BPS had launched a new virtual learning environment called BPS Learn to provide CPD and other resources alongside recruiting a dedicated careers manager, due to start in early July. The BPS has also been working on a review of its membership grades to give people in these new roles options for membership – consultation on these proposed changes is now open for comments.

The BPS and the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP) are both also set to launch voluntary registers for some of the newer psychological professions. Tilley said that those signing up to the register would commit to continued professional development, agree to a professional code of conduct and maintain their skills and competencies. She said the register would also give patients and the public more confidence in these newer and unfamiliar roles.

At first the BPS and BABCP will be registering PWPs and will later also register CWPs and EMHPs, with the BPS also registering CAPs and CAAPs. Both organisations should be ready to launch their registers this summer. Those who would like to join the BPS register need to be a member of the BPS, have completed a BPS-accredited training programme, have confirmation of employment in a specified system of care and agree to abide by a fitness to practice framework. 

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