The 'assistant practitioner' as 'associate professional'?: professional development of intermediate roles in health and social care and education
ARANDA, KAY, EDMOND, NADIA, Gaudoin, R. and LAW, KATE (2012) The 'assistant practitioner' as 'associate professional'?: professional development of intermediate roles in health and social care and education Studies in Continuing Education, 34 (1). pp. 45-56. ISSN 0158-037X
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In recent years the health and social care, and education sectors have been subject to a range of policy initiatives which have been characterised by a concern for 'modernisation' and restructuring of the workforce. This has resulted in a reappraisal and so-called 'professionalisation' of many existing previously low-skill roles, and the development of new intermediate or 'assistant practitioner' roles, such as 'parent support advisors' and higher-level teaching assistants in schools. In health care, in pay bands three and four, there has been the inclusion of associate and assistant practitioner roles to support the 'professional' workforce in bands five and above. The 'professionalisation' of roles in the public sector has been associated with enhanced qualification requirements, and foundation degrees (FDs) have provided an appropriate work-based qualification. This paper explores notions of professional learning and professionalism in the current policy context, and draws out points of commonality and divergence between the two sectors. In light of recent concern about broadening access to the professions, this discussion is related to a critique of the potential role of 'assistant practitioner' roles and associated intermediate-level FD qualifications in widening access to the professions in these two sectors.
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