Giving their employees beneficial opportunities to learn for work and life was at the heart of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Learning at Work Week.

The week supported the Trust’s strategic aims to ‘Provide research, development and innovation opportunities’. It reinforced the organisation’s culture which promotes the importance of personal development and wellbeing which is actively supported by the Trust’s CEO.

It was a chance for the organising group to provide a wide variety of learning sessions outside of mandatory training. This aimed to make colleagues aware of the range of development opportunities at the Trust, and that these aren’t just confined to courses - there are many ways to learn.

A multidisciplinary group met monthly to share ideas and plan for the week, ensuring a range of expertise and views. Members came from across the Trust from teams that deliver and support training and development including Organisational Development, Professional Development & Education Unit, IT Training, Medical Education and Communications. The group worked with external partners such as trade union learning representatives, Wakefield Adult Education and Affinity.

To build the activities for the week, the group used feedback from a roadshow where staff suggested first aid, finance awareness particularly on pensions, and autism awareness as topics they’d like to learn about. The staff benefit roadshows were incorporated into the week and a new competitive challenge was set up to encourage staff to keep active. Colleagues were also invited to showcase their hobbies. Together this created a rich programme of events and sessions that would appeal to a wide range of people and their different learning preferences.

There were sessions on Tai Chi, time management, presentation skills, assertiveness and emotional intelligence. Staff could learn about first aid, financial wellbeing and autism. There was a seminar about sleep and training on a variety of digital tools including Skype, OneNote and Excel.

A multitude of information stands and interactive stalls gave colleagues lots of things to discover. These included from services and departments across the Trust such as childcare, careers support, staff benefits and occupational health, clinical research and physiotherapy. Colleagues could find about Unite and Unison unions, wellbeing, mental health, the staff gym and Body Shop. They could learn how to make mocktails and take part in a prize draw.

To promote the week, the organising group used a variety of media and channels. They put information in the weekly bulletin, on the Trust’s intranet and on table toppers in the dining and rest rooms. Posters and flyers were distributed across wards and departments. The Chief Executive wrote about the event in his weekly blog and the Director of Nursing included information in a blog. Information was included in team briefs and on meeting agendas.  The week was advertised on social media and on a ticker tape message on all PCs. Promotional stands highlighted the week on hospital sites and on the Benefits Roadshow.

Over 1400 staff attended the week on three different sites. Colleagues found the sessions interesting and informative with 97% of participants rating the week as excellent. They are keen for more learning and follow up sessions on autism have already been organised by clinical staff for their departments.  

The week has helped the Trust show that it listens to colleagues and acts on their feedback. It has helped to raise its reputation as a place to work by showing that it dedicates time and resources to invest in its people. By showcasing the learning opportunities on offer, the Trust has successfully raised engagement in learning, This will help the organisation to deal with change in the NHS by supporting colleagues to continually learn and develop.