Learning & development

At the RD&E we hugely value our people and recognise that you are key to our ability to deliver safe, high quality care for patients. 

We aim to transform the health & care system, working in partnership to connect people, services, communities and voluntary groups to meet the needs of the communities we serve. To achieve this we need skilled and dedicated people. 

The Trust encourages and supports all our employees to develop their knowledge, skills, personal qualities and behaviours. We provide career pathways & development opportunities for clinical and non-clinical staff. Learning takes place in many different ways - at home, at work and in education. 

As a teaching hospital, the RD&E delivers undergraduate education for a full range of clinical professions. We are the lead partner for the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health and a leading centre for high quality research and development in the South West peninsula.

Our Talent Management & Resourcing Team and Professional Development Team work in partnership with employees and their managers;

  • enabling people to fulfil their potential and realise their personal career aspirations
  • ensuring essential skills are kept up-to-date and accredited
  • and supporting us collectively to deliver our corporate vision. 

Talent Management & Resourcing team

The Talent Management & Resourcing team provides Trust wide development for all roles in the RD&E and we are part of the wider Transformation and Human Resources Function.

Our focus is to develop and recognise employees in their Leadership, Management and Personal Effectiveness skills & behaviours.

We work alongside our colleagues in Professional Development who focus on your clinical and functional skills.

We aim to:

  • Recognise and use our talented workforce to support both the trust and the individual’s aspirations
  • Develop learning programmes & opportunities that align your capability with the Trust’s vision and strategic objectives for the future
  • Encourage you to take ownership of your own learning & development, personal development plan and progression opportunities
  • Develop you in a variety of ways – this is called blended learning. We encourage you to look beyond a course and to ensure your learning makes a difference to where you work
  • Encourage you to ask for feedback from others and freely give feedback both to develop and to celebrate successes
  • Look to the talent we have from within, supports progression and development.

Supporting you

We are a team of development professionals that work across the trust to support you in:

  • Apprentice Development Programmes & Recruitment of apprentices
  • Work Experience & Work Observation
  • Leadership Development & Management Development
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Coaching
  • Statutory & Mandatory training
  • E-learning development & advice
  • Talent Management & Personal Development Reviews
  • Corporate Induction
  • Funding for learning
  • South West Leadership Academy and National Leadership academy Development Programmes
  • Training & Development Policies

Contact us

We can be contacted by email at:

Professional Development Team

Professional Development consists of a number of teams each working together to contribute to the development and implementation of the Trust’s Professional Development strategy.

Supporting you

The Professional Development Team(s) cover the following areas:

  • Corporate Induction
  • Statutory & Mandatory Training
  • Vocational Education
  • Clinical Skills
  • Exeter Health Library
  • Post Graduate Medical Education
  • Competency Frameworks
  • Central Training Funds
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Non-Medical Prescribing
  • Practice Education Team
  • Clinical Learning Facilitation (student support)
  • Clinical Practice Facilitation

See below for more detailed information.

Contact details

For all enquiries please telephone 01392 408125. 

Valuing You

Our Valuing You Conversations Appraisal Scheme ensures that every employee has regular and meaningful conversations, that make a difference to you, your team and our organisation. 

Valuing You is about:

  • Quality conversations that are meaningful and impact individuals everyday roles;
  • Keeping the conversation alive through regular 121’s. A minimum of once a quarter;
  • Being simple and easy to complete, focussing on the quality of the conversation and flexibility to tailor to individual needs;
  • Being integral to the way to we lead and manage our people, by engaging and valuing each individual;
  • Dedicated time to engage and talk about individuals aspirations and identify potential through an objective & fair process;
  • Creating meaningful Personal Development Plan’s that shape our development offerings in line with the needs of our people;
  • Ensuring our people have relevant and up to date objectives and behaviours across the trust at all levels and across all disciplines. 

Growing leaders

Our focus is to develop and grow employees in their Leadership, Management and Personal Effectiveness behaviours, qualities and skills. We work alongside our colleagues in Professional Development who focus on your clinical and functional skills.

We want our leaders to be:

  • Ambassadors for our values, open to change and our development culture.
  • Individuals who encourage and take ownership of their own learning & development, create personal development plan and look for progression opportunities.
  • Individuals that learn from a variety of development methods – we call this blended learning. Leaders should be looking to learn something new all of the time.
  • Individuals who openly ask for feedback on their leadership & personal effectiveness skills from others and freely give feedback both to develop and to celebrate successes.
  • Individuals that strive to make the PDR an engaging conversation with individuals and make it beneficial to the individual, the organisation and ultimately our patients.
  • Focused on the importance of their role as a clinical expert as well as their role as a leader. Striving to recognise and professionalise Leadership & Management alongside our clinical expertise.
  • Looking for the talent we have from within, making staff feel valued and having conversations about progression and development.

Our leadership, management and talent strategy has been designed in line with feedback given via an intensive diagnostic process and is constantly reviewed.

Your development should be about your own personal needs and your chosen route of development should be based on your level of experience and exposure to the qualities, behaviours and skills that are needed to be a successful leader in our ever evolving healthcare service.

Learning is a constant process, not simply one event. We develop best through a variety of activities and formal courses and qualifications are just one approach. That is why we encourage and support a holistic approach to learning and development. 

What learning & development does the Talent, Learning & Resourcing team offer?

We offer a plethora of ways you can improve your leadership, management and personal effectiveness skills, through 5 inter-operable pathways. Each of the leadership pathways includes a variety of development options.

This is supported by coaching and mentoring opportunities, on-the-job learning opportunities, workshops and personal development tools. 

We work with Leadership Academies, Universities, Colleges, specialist external providers, colleagues across the RD&E and we have our own in-house specialist team that deliver a variety of solutions.

Our partners include: 

The NHS Leadership Academy 

The Southwest NHS Leadership Academy

The Kings Fund 

For further information contact the Talent, Learning & Resourcing team (details above). 

Vocational education

Many of the learning opportunities that we provide are work-based qualifications. These include: 

Clinical Healthcare Diplomas: Previously known as NVQs, diplomas are highly regarded national qualifications. These are based on competences, defining the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to carry out various tasks and roles, from band 2 – 4. We offer these qualifications throughout the year both as full awards and single units.

Vocational assessors award (called TAQA): This allows registered and assistant practitioners the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised qualification that allows them to assess in the workplace.

Care Certificate: This is a new national standard of assessment all new Nursing Associates to the healthcare environment will need to complete as from April 2015.

Apprenticeship opportunities: We support clinical apprenticeships across the Trust and are also able to provide advice about non clinical apprenticeships and how to access these qualifications.

6258 – Delivering learning qualification: For those interested in teaching and delivering to others. This qualification enables staff to gain the basic principles of teaching.


The RD&E is committed to supporting our employees through utilising apprenticeships. Apprenticeship development programmes form an integral part of our people plan and support recruitment, development and the retention to our staff.

All public sector bodies with 250 or more staff in England have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentices over the period of 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021. We are pleased to report we continue to be above this target and throughout the COVID period.

Many apprenticeships development programmes are now running virtually so this means we will continue to develop and champion apprenticeships going forward as an organisation.

  • Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020: 15.23%
  • Percentage of total headcount that were apprentices on 31 March 2020: 3.53%
  • Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March 2019: 2.41%

Medical Work Experience Week

Held annually for local 6th form school/college students in years 12/13, who are interested in a career in Medicine and aspire to become doctors.

A four day programme to include:

  • Full programme of lectures covering several aspects of medicine.
  • Clinical Skills: Hands-on practical sessions to include simulated patient mannequins.
  • Workshops: “Applying to a Medical School” & “Life as a Medical Student”
  • Clinical Placements: Providing a clinical/ward/theatre environment – allowing interactions with clinicians and patients.

Application for a place on this course is via the school/college Career Adviser.  Nominations are put forward to the External Electives Coordinator at the  University of Exeter Medical School for selection.

The criteria for student nomination is:

  • Must have completed GCSEs to include English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry & Physics achieving grades A-C or equivalent
  • Are aged 16 years or over (year 12/13)
  • Who have a good chance of achieving AAA at A level, which must include Chemistry

Medical Elective Placements

The Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Trust (RD&E) offer opportunity for clinical elective attachments.

Students studying a Medical degree at overseas or UK medical schools or universities outside of the University of Exeter Medical School (UEMS)  have the opportunity to apply for an elective placement.

Clinical elective attachments can be undertaken for a maximum of 8 weeks and are subject to compliance with the RD&E Hospital Trust  policy and  with the relevant University’s agreed protocols and work place requirements.

Organised by the External Elective Coordinator, for more details & application please contact kathryn.tiffany@nhs.net.

Clinical Skills

The Clinical Skills Team teaches and facilitates a wide variety of clinical skills training. These skills enable staff members to meet essential and continued professional development needs that are identified in their personal development reviews as well as meeting organisational aspects of clinical care.

Development of clinical skills can be achieved through a blended approach to learning including taught study days, workshops, practical simulations, competency based learning, accredited courses and self-directed study.

The team also supports Trust initiatives that require support for learning; examples include new equipment teaching, infusion device training or bespoke training for clinical areas that have a special one-off or ongoing need.

Our main provision includes:

  • The Venous Access Skills Course
  • Parental Nutrition
  • Venepuncture Courses
  • Preceptorship Course
  • Fast Track Process
  • The Nursing Auxiliary Course
  • Essential Learning Updates
  • Revalidation
  • Venous Access Skills Updates - IV / CVC
  • Venous Access Skills Updates - Venepuncture / Cannulation

Post Graduate Medical Education

Service to doctors in training:

What we do: 

  • Provide comprehensive and quality assured teaching programmes for each level of training within the educational contract
  • Provide guidance and support for e-portfolio and curriculum
  • Manage doctors’ study leave and relocation guidance and claims
  • Set up Life Support Courses for Foundation doctors
  • Ensure trainees have trained supervisors for each post
  • Identify further training opportunities / improvements by engaging with the doctors via the Foundation Forum and other feedback mechanisms
  • Feedback to the departments via the Postgraduate Education Committee
  • Organise the main doctors induction at August changeover, working with Medical Staffing, Occupation Health and other training teams
  • Support SAS doctors by offering specific training opportunities to engage with the group to maintain job satisfaction and career progression as required
  • Work with the Medical School to ensure smooth transition from undergraduate to postgraduate training.

Service to Trust and departments:

  • Work closely with Medical Staffing to ensure information is given in a timely manner to departments where there are changes in numbers
  • Support supervisors in all departments to maintain quality of support for the training doctors
  • Assist in monitoring European Working Times Directive compliance
  • Inform departments of developments in training
  • Work with departments to seek out any multi-professional training opportunities
  • Use postgraduate education budget appropriately to support training requirements
  • Develop simulation training facilities within the Trust (links to patient safety)
  • Manage postgraduate training facilities within the Trust
  • Develop links between the GP and Specialty training programmes in the Trust
  • Link with departments re essential training at induction and rotation changeovers

Service to Health Education England and the GMC:

  • Quality Assurance - provide detailed response to the GMC survey each year in the form of an Action Plan, updated at regular intervals
  • Monitoring patient safety via regular reporting and follow up work to deal with any issues arising.
  • Revalidation for doctors in training.

Service to patients:

The quality assurance of doctors and their training impacts directly on patient care and safety.


Continuing Professional Development

The RD&E encourages and supports staff to develop within their role and beyond, whether working in a clinical or non-clinical environment.

Development opportunities are integral to the 'Valuing You' conversations, which take place regularly with all managers, and in the annual appraisal. 

All staff that hold a professional or vocational qualification are expected and supported to maintain their level of competence by undertaking a programme of CPD. This activity is also required for some staff groups as part of the revalidation process.

The Trust ensures that staff have access to appropriate courses, workshops and seminars to enable them to update their skills required for their roles, and to allow staff to keep abreast of practice and service development. This may include a variety of activities (some of which are provided in-house) for example:

  • shadowing / clinical supervision
  • secondment opportunities
  • work based projects
  • attending meetings, courses, seminars and / or conferences
  • mentoring, coaching and assessing
  • e-learning

Non-medical prescribing

Since the publication of the Crown Report, ‘Review of prescribing, supply & administration of medicines’ in 1999, many legislative changes have taken place to implement the government’s policy of extending prescribing responsibilities to non-medical professions.

The aims of non-medical prescribing are:

  • To make more effective use of the skills and expertise of groups of professions
  • To improve patients’ access to treatment and advice
  • To improve patient choice and convenience
  • To contribute to more flexible team working across the NHS

There are three different types of non-medical prescribers; independent, supplementary and community nurse practitioner prescribers.


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