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Help us with the Career Development Framework

Zoe Parker, the College’s Education Officer shows how you can help us to develop the Career Development Framework. Follow Zoe on Twitter.


All COT members would have hopefully seen this advert in the September edition of OTNews:

“The evolution of the Post Qualifying Framework (COT: 2006) has begun and now we are asking for your help. We want to co-design and co-produce this resource with as many of you as possible. Your input could be to share with us any local career frameworks you have or your experience using the Post Qualifying Framework. It may be that you have very little experience so can offer fresh eyes to comment on sections of the draft versions as we progress. Most important, is that you contribute as much or as little as you are able.

The new resource will be the ‘Career Development Framework: guiding principles for occupational therapy’. We have a project team in place. Dr Stephanie Tempest is the Project Lead (Stephanie.tempest@cot.co.uk @setG75) and we are delighted that Dr Karina Dancza is joining us to author the work. We will also be ably assisted by our monitoring officer and the digital team within COT as we seek to produce an accessible and future-proof resource for all occupational therapy personnel.

So, if you would like to express an interest in working with us, please email angie.brown@cot.co.uk in the first instance by 28th October. This does not commit you to anything at this stage and further details will be sent in due course.”

The title of the new resource reflects how it differs from its predecessor the Post Qualifying Framework (PQF) because it comprises a set of guiding principles rather than the capabilities that were set out in the PQF.

The PQF’s use of capabilities moved it a step away from competency frameworks, broadening out thinking from the more technicist term competence to recognise the complexity of occupational therapy at every level. The use of the more general term guiding principles in the framework shows that it is intended to be adaptable and inclusive enough to be carried out by occupational therapy personnel in ways that reflect local and particular needs, drivers and contexts.

Don’t forget that taking part in the development of this new framework constitutes a CPD activity in itself, as long as you remember to record it as such! Reflecting on your own career and the way you want to progress is also CPD activity, again provided that you record it.

Capturing your thoughts in writing can be a way to delve further into a question as well as in itself providing a record. I often don’t know clearly what I really think about something until I try and express it in writing in a way that communicates it to myself in the first instance. When writing I also identify gaps in my knowledge to help me to plan for further learning. I might find myself want to assert something and then think – yes – that’s what I think; but what is the actual evidence for this opinion? This is an example of critical reflection in action, in line with the COT Code for CPD which was generated by our members.

The way the new framework will be structured is based around the nine levels in the skills for health career framework and so it will cover the whole career path. It is organised around the four pillars of practice from NHS Education Scotland’s career framework to cover all kinds of roles whether clinical, educational, research, or managerial. The aim is to cover all possible kinds of careers in occupational therapy, which is why we need people from all perspectives to contribute and so we want to hear from students and support workers and those starting out in their careers as well as more established professionals who have carved out unusual ways to thrive in this fascinating and fulfilling profession.

We hope and expect that at the end of this collaborative undertaking we will have produced a resource that will help occupational therapy personnel in all kinds of settings, contexts and roles to stand back a bit from the immediate hurly burly of working life and plan careers flexibly and adaptably. It is important to remember the link between CPD, lifelong learning and career planning so that we can think and plan in a joined up way for the short, medium and longer term and take back control of our working lives. In this way we hope occupational therapy personnel will also be better able to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance!

If you would like to express an interest in working with us, please email angie.brown@cot.co.uk in the first instance by 28th October. We hope you can join us and we look forward to working together.

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