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Essential shared capabilities for the whole of the mental health workforce: bringing educators into the frame

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)21-29
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Recent drives to modernise the mental health workforce have been led (in England) by initiatives such as New Ways of Working and informed by the Ten Essential Shared Capabilities (10 ESCs) (Department of Health, 2004), reflected elsewhere in the UK. Learning materials have been developed to support these and educators encouraged to embed them within curricula. Yet, little has been said about how such principles could or should apply to the practice of mental health educators themselves. Higher education plays a crucial part in shaping tomorrow's practitioners; yet educators can receive scant mention when workforce initiatives are launched. Here, then, we consider the 10 ESCs, examining how these might be put into practice in a higher education context. The pedagogic rationale for this perspective is discussed in terms of Biggs' (2003) concept of ‘constructive alignment’, Ward's (1999) ‘matching principle’ and Eraut's (1994) analysis of ‘professional education’. Reconceptualising higher education educators as a part (albeit semi-detached) of the mental health workforce may help us move beyond a ‘tick-box’ approach - exploring not only whether the 10 ESCs are reflected in the content of curricula, but how they are embodied within teaching teams.