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Practice Education

Practice Education – APPLE scheme

Next year, 2015, is the tenth anniversary of the APPLE (Accreditation of Practice Placement Educators’) Scheme.  Anita Volkert, COT’s outgoing Education Manager – Policy (Pre-Registration) answers questions on a scheme she feels passionate about.

Practice Education is such a powerful tool for the future of our profession.  It’s a great way to have a role in shaping the new generation of OTs coming through, and a fabulous opportunity to find out all the new theory, models, and approaches being taught after finishing your own education.  When I was a new graduate occupational therapist many years ago, I took on my first student as soon as I felt able to (6 months in), and haven’t looked back since – taking students regularly as a practitioner, and then teaching them when I moved into OT education.  I will soon be leaving COT to return to my home country of Australia, and wanted to share some questions I’m often asked about the wonderful APPLE scheme, which I’ve had the privilege to be involved with while I have been working here.

What’s the history of the APPLE scheme?

APPLE came about in 2004, after members of the still going strong Practice Placement Tutors Forum (PPTF) were asked to volunteer to review and revise the current COT material available on practice education.  A steering group was formed of 5 members of the PPTF, 2 COT staff and 2 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) staff – as they had just launched the Accreditation of Clinical Educators’ (ACE) Scheme at that time, designed to be a UK wide scheme offering an extra level of training and expertise for physiotherapists who had a passion for practice education.  It seemed a great idea to create a similar scheme within OT (but tailored to fit with OT terminology and practice), with the added benefit of it then having an inter-professional nature.  Since then, the Society of Radiographers has joined in with their similar PEAS scheme, which also shares the same learning outcomes as ACE and APPLE.  The APPLE scheme was piloted during 2005, and then officially launched on September 26, 2005.

Why set up such a scheme?

The idea behind APPLE was to increase recognition for the role of practice educator – crucially important to the development of a student occupational therapist, and to provide a nationally recognised scheme for educators.  APPLE also offers participants a great CPD opportunity, which can be used as part of HCPC portfolio activity.  APPLE promotes interprofessional working through its shared learning outcomes with other professions, and the schemes are open to those who are not OTs, PTs or Radiographers, as long as they play a key role in the education of students (as in a role emerging placement setting, for example).  Having APPLE educators in an organisation could demonstrate that placement quality is a particular strength in that area.

How do I become APPLE accredited?

Most universities that train OTs offer APPLE as well, so ask at one of the universities you regularly take students from.  There are usually two options – the programme route (taught sessions), or the experiential route, which uses an assessed reflective profile.  Once accredited, your details are entered into a database, and provided you keep them up to date, you should receive reminders when your accreditation is about to expire.

How long does accreditation last?

Accreditation is for a period of 5 years.  After that time, APPLE accredited educators will need to re-accredit using a reflective form – and you usually need to have taken on at least one student a year for a minimum of four weeks in order to complete the reflections and remain active as an educator.

I’m interested – how do I find out more?

So – if you have a passion for practice education, would like to do some formal CPD before the next HCPC call up, and/or want to develop yourself and the profession why not accredit or re-accredit with the APPLE scheme?  Find out further information about the APPLE scheme.

In summary:

APPLE – A group of about 5000 educators that are standing by their Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by providing regular practice education opportunities and promoting a learning culture within their workplace by sharing their expertise, knowledge, skills and experience with others.  Join them now!

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