Here you will find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If the answer you are looking for isn’t here, and you think it should be;

please drop us a line

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the way in which HCPC Registrants ( & anyone else)  can continue to learn and develop throughout their careers so they keep their skills and knowledge up to date and are able to practise safely and effectively.

CPD is not just formal courses. A CPD activity is any activity from which you learn and develop. This might include the following;

  • Work-based learning. For example, reflecting on experiences at work, considering feedback from service users or being a member of a committee.
  • Professional activity. For example, being involved in a professional body or giving a presentation at a conference.
  • Formal education. For example, going on formal courses or carrying out research.
  • Self-directed learning. For example, reading articles or books.

For examples of which activities fulfil the HCPC criteria for CPD please download a copy of the CPD Reflective Practice document and refer to page 3.

If I am on a course or module that has either changed to ‘NOW ONLINE’ or you signed up to one advertised as ‘VIRTUAL’; you might be wondering how it will work and how will I join?

Joining Instructions (JI’s)

You will be sent a meeting invite in your joining instructions email when you book the course – please make sure you check the email you applied with’s spam folder, as the SWAST email filter doesn’t always like automated emails. For some courses you may be sent the link on the morning of the course day, please check the advert of the course. (See below- ‘How do I join the course?’)

If you haven’t received any JI’s and you are sure you booked, please get in touch – A common problem is that you have typed your email adress incorrectly and your JI’s will have hit a dead end. We can easily check and change that, but won’t be able to check every entry so you will need to let us know.  

You may also have been sent joining instructions a while ago that refer to turning up at a physical location, and be wondering what is going on. (Sometimes I may not have caught up with re-writing all the adverts and JIs if things have changed * ). If you aren’t sure- just drop me a line  

*Hopefully this won’t happen any more as we have pretty much caught up- but I’m leaving this here just in case 

What will it be like?

It’s not like an e-learning course where you will be watching videos and clicking through learning. The course will be similar to being in a classroom, but it will be a virtual classroom. You will be able to see and hear around 9-10 people at a time on screen, the tutor will be able to share presentations and a whiteboard, and can ask you questions and set group work. You may even be put into virtual break out rooms for group work.

Like a normal classroom, you will be expected to be there on time and also be available for the whole session. Although you will have a lot more short breaks – as it is surprisingly draining for both Tutor and student.

Uniform is not required, try and find a quiet room without interruptions or distractions.  Head phones with a microphone also a good idea to keep your noise down.

More tips can be accessed here:
Student Tips for Participating in Online Learning
How to I join the course?

When your course is online- you will be sent a meeting invite as above in the JI’s or near the start date, normally a day or 2 before.

This invite will be sent to the email address you registered with – If it’s your SWAST email account you can easily access it from home or your phone – (Not sure how ? – User guide here)

Once you have the link you will need to join the meeting at the correct time.

We have made a couple of user guides and a video that can be accessed here:

Joining from a computer – PDF
Joining from mobile or table – PDF


Zoom Video tutorial

How do I find a mentorship course?

You can use the search function – type in mentorship- or click here to go to the Student & Practice Educator page 

Several options are available – All meet the criteria & are accepted for NQP portfolio & the CoP.

Functional Skills

The government funds functional skills tests for most people that have never achieved them to help employment prospects. This is mainly farmed out to private providers who are paid to provide them at no cost to the learner.

A quick google search for free functional skills brings up quite a few offers, most have the same eligibility. Normally it’s mainly-

  • Do you have level 2 qualifications in this subject already
  • Are you a UK national ( have you been living in the UK for 3 years or more)

It may be easier to look at larger organisations who may be easier to work with and more reliable, but there are lots of small companies put there doing a great job.

There are also loads of free courses they can access out there– there are 100s of L2 qualifications for free there on 100s of subjects (not all health). We sign post to some we have found on the e-resources and online learning page., but this is only what we’ve had time to post, Google is your friend for free e-learning courses and qualifications!

Click here to go to the Online Learning Resources page 

CPD modules from Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) are mainly drawn from Health & Care Degree (BSc) or Masters (MSc) programmes. The programmes are made up of modular courses that add together to give enough credits to claim the award at the end.

Click the image below to see a Higher Education Qualification credit map

HE credit map

They are sometimes offered as a CPD module so people can either study a particular subject they are interested in as a standalone subject, or people can ‘module gather’ at their own pace and claim a generic award when they have enough credits. (If you don’t complete all the specific modules specified for a Programme, you cannot claim that award, but you can claim a generic award). e.g. You could complete a mix of modules from a Nursing degree and a Paramedic science degree; with enough credits then claim a Health & Social Care BSc. But you would need to complete the compulsory modules listed in the Nursing / Paramedic Science degree , and complete the placement to claim the specific degree. You would still have a valid BSc, just not in that specific subject, (and you would not be able to register as a professional in that field).

When it comes to a Masters pathway or programme, you have entered the realm of the Post Graduate. This can be different at different HEIs. Some will allow you to start a MSc pathway without a BSc, other will require you to have completed a BSc.

You can use a proportion of BSc credits towards a post graduate qualification, but you will need mainly MSc credits. This will depend on the HEI and the pathway.

Once you begin on a Post graduate (PG) pathway, you can ‘cash in’ your credits and ‘step off’ the pathway at certain points. You can stop and claim a Post Graduate Certificate (PG Cert), then a Post Graduate Diploma (PG Dip), and then finally a full Masters award (MSc).

Then, if you still have a family life and any sanity left, you can start looking at a Post Graduate Doctorate (PHd).

This section is out of date from Sep 2020, as the way funding works has changed. It will be updated soon once we get the comms approved.

A lot of the information is still valid, but in short we have seen an increase in funding, with a decrease in restrictions. This gives us more flexibility to procure different things, but there still isn’t a mechanism to fund bespoke requests.

If you have a bespoke request, please go to your line manager in the first instance, as we will be looking to consult with specialist unit and department managers in the future to collate staff requests so we can make bulk purchases. Unfortuately, funding one off requests for 1000’s of staff would be beyond our capability to do in an fair and timely enough way. 

Stick with it, it’s a bit complex! If you want to know more, just give us a call- we are always happy to chat.

Nearly all of the funding for CPD (especially high cost courses like HE modules) comes direct from other organisations like Health Education England (HEE), or local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Most of the time, restrictions are placed on the area the money can be spent e.g. Glos. CCG funded a bid a few years that could only be spent on staff in the Glos. CCG area.

HEE normally fund bids that come attached with conditions; such as they are aimed at specific staff groups to up-skill them in specific ways, which limit the level modules can be taken at or the subjects offered.

SWAST bid for these funds in competition with other trusts and health and social care organisations. The bids we put in are for certain topics, like upskilling staff in to a particular level (BSc), or work force transformation, (e.g. creating more advanced skills in a certain clinical area). Sometimes funds are a one off, tied to a certain national project, sometimes they come round more than once. Either way, it is hard to plan around as most is subject to national plans. The bids normally have to specify what modules we are going to fund, and once these have been chosen (usually from a list provided to us by funding organisation and the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) , we have to stick to the modules chosen, so can’t fund bespoke ones on request.

As well as bids, HEE has certain aims and goals to fulfil. For example, in 2018 it wanted to ensure that as many Paramedics as possible were working towards or had a BSc. These goals will guide the restrictions set on the funding. i.e. that pot of money couldn’t be used to fund MSc level modules, as the goal was to up-skill staff to BSc level.

HEE are guided by central government, Department of Health, NHS England & NHS Improvement and other national institutions. Often, if the Government changes direction on a certain health topic or policy, this has a direct effect on the funding available to HEE, and also their goals and targets change with it. This can feed down to us in terms of a sudden injection of cash for a certain topic, or the removal of funding for what may have been a regular CPD topic for a few years. e.g. If the Government want to produce more registered AHPs, there may be an increase in funding for access and bridging courses, and level 6 (BSc modules). If the Government decides it needs more ACPs (Advanced Clinical Practitioners), you may see a sudden increase in funding fro ACP programs or apprenticeships.

Occasionally, instead of bidding for funds, we are offered a certain amount of places with an HEI (such as UWE or UoP) on named courses. e.g. ‘ SWAST have been allocated 10 places on ‘PACR at UWE at BSc level only’ , or,  given a list of modules and asked to choose a set number of places.  Again, there may be certain restrictions on these. e.g. for that offering, all the places had to be BSc level and no MSc level, to fit with the HEE goal.

SWAST only has a very small budget for CPD, and most of this is spent on small short courses such as PROMPT. The rest of the budget is spent on CPD dept. admin costs to keep the whole thing running.

The Practice Educator update payments, and the Back 2 Basics program comes from another external funding stream entirely. Again this has certain restrictions on what it can be spent on, and so can’t be used for other projects.

A lot of short courses, & individual CPD events are actually run on a shoestring and goodwill. Normally these are set up by SWAST staff who are passionate about a subject (often in their own time), combined with local external contacts such as friendly Doctors and other specialists. These external people give up their time, & often bring funding to the event from their side. SWASTCPD support these events with marketing & organisation, but rarely have any funding to contribute.

e.g. the Glos. Silver Service 2020 multi-disciplinary event for 200 people with 10 speakers and a free hot lunch was delivered for £0 to SWAST. The only cost was my time. All the funding came from sponsors and goodwill volunteers.

Other Short courses & places on short courses are offered to us by external organisations who want to promote their message & increase multi-disciplinary training. (Such as some of the Cornwall & RDE PROMPT places).

Some of the short courses are funded by SWAST, but only those which are part of an L&D plan such as ECG L1 & 2 , Pre-Hospital PROMPT, AET.

This is why it is imperative that you don’t cancel courses at the very last minute or just don’t bother turning up. We have lost some great free CPD providers when SWAST staff no-show repeatedly, they soon lose interest in working with us. Most courses are also oversubscribed, so when your place isn’t filled, someone else (your colleague) has missed out.

All this has to be balanced against the delivery of L&D core business, which is an enormous undertaking for our dedicated L&D staff, delivering training and quality assurance to you. (No mean feat, as there’s loads of you, and only a few of them!)

If you have applied for an HE Module, (and it isn’t a short notice / ‘1st come, 1st served’ offering), then the process will be as close to possible as the process outlined HERE

A lot of CPD modules are drawn from Health BSc or MSc programs that are then offered as standalone professional courses. The subject matter is often aimed at, and expects a pre-requisite level of knowledge, experience, and most importantly, access to situations and experiences that a Registered Clinician has or can obtain.

This is written into the module specification by the HEI, and they won’t be able to enrol you on the module without proof of this.

It is correct that most of the modules offered by SWASTCPD are aimed at Registered Clinicians. We do try and source modules to give as many people access as possible, but our funding mainly comes from Health Education England, and they specify how the funding they give us is used.

For example, one of the main focuses after the Band 6 uplift of Paramedics has been to upskill Paramedics to degree level, to encourage those without degrees to upskill, and to ensure that the workforce skills move towards matching the banding. We are also bound by the CPD programmes offered by HEIs , which often don’t have much available for non-registered staff that would fit the criteria from HEE.

First you will need to ensure the CPD Event is suitable, & gain someone’s permission to put the event on. This isn’t as hard as it sounds!

If you want to know WHY you need to do this and shouldn’t just crack on and do it ( better to ask forgiveness than permission etc.etc.) >Click Here

Contact your a local Lead Paramedic, Practice Placement Educator, Operations Officer, Learning & Development Officer, or Clinical Development Officer & run it by the to see what they think.

When you have approval, you will need to do several things.

You will need to have a valid risk assessment for the event, EVEN FOR CLASSROOM EVENTS – BUT ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR ANY EXERCISES (guidance and forms can be found on the SWAST Intranet here. Many are already written or can easily be adapted so it isn’t hard). Here is a Generic training room Risk Assessment example that can be adapted.

When you have a suitable risk assessment in place download this form,CPD EVENT BOOKING FORM & complete all the details, & attach the risk assessment you will be using, and send it all into us.

We can then help you promote & advertise the event, (if you want us to).

If you are an LP, PPED, LDO, OO, CDO & your are unsure of the process , or want to discuss the event with us, please get in touch with the CPD Lead or drop us a line.

Waiting lists and why they don’t work for us

For all courses and modules we take bookings for – (as opposed to those events and courses where the tutor takes and manages bookings themselves) – we have a list of applicants.

After the list is full,  or the deadline has passed for HE modules, we then allocate those people places. (See the application process for HE modules here)

We then have a list of all the people allocated a place, all the people who didn’t get a place, (but we know wanted one), and have already indicated they could make the date/s for THAT event or module. We also have their details (including contact details) all laid out for that date and event/course.

If someone then withdraws and can’t make it, we go down the list and offer it to the next person in line either by application score, date of application, or a combination of both (see the scoring process here for HE modules– events are in order of application date) dependent on the type of event or module.

If we had waiting lists – we would have to set up a separate page/spreadsheet for EACH event and EACH date, then take all the details by email or over the phone for all of these. Every time we were about to go to advert with a new course, we would have to

A) Contact everyone on the waiting list to see if they were interested

B) If could make the dates

C) Still worked for us/ in the same role/ off sick / on MAT leave

We would also have to go down the list in order, and not be able to move on until people responded to us chasing them which could / does take weeks.

This would take forever.…and we just don’t have time to do that as well as adminster the courses.

**At there are 2 people managing the whole site, all the bookings, all the marketing , all the social media, all the tutors, all the venues, all the emails (their own and CPD admin), all the new business, trying to create new ideas, all the PE update days, all the funding, and all the other stuff that you don’t see.

Sometimes, funding comes to us at the very last minute, as organisations (as above) ‘find’ surplus funds that they need to be spent. This is often due to other external projects they are managing ending early / coming in cheaper than expected.

The surplus is often offered to us at the last minute if we can spend it. It often comes with certain conditions, such as – we must deliver the training by a certain date so they can account for the money / we must have everyone enrolled by a certain date so they can account for the money.

Although this isn’t ideal for us or you in terms of trying to arrange the courses and giving notice to book on the courses; we would rather take the funding and do our best to get development and education out short notice than turn it down.

Sometimes, other Trusts such as Hospital Trusts, have places that they were allocated,/ have funded, but for some reason they haven’t been able to fill the places, or people have left or withdrawn. We sometimes get offered these places, and we say yes if they are suitable for Ambulance staff. The places are often very late in the day before the module starts as they try to fill them up to the last minute.

Sometimes, a module or course we have offered hasn’t filled as well as we have expected, or people have withdrawn. We then offer the module as a 1st come 1st served place as we don’t have time to process the applications in the normal way before the course starts.

With all the last minute places, if we don’t fill them they will be lost and not refunded; so we think it’s better to get someone on than go through the normal application process and lose the place.

There are 2 people in the CPD ‘Team’ (in the office)

This is what we do:

  • Manage the website
  • Manage the Facebook & Twitter feeds
  • Manage the CPD Admin email account
  • Manage our email accounts!
  • Manage all the course venue bookings
  • Manage the funding bids
  • Manage the University liaison (purchasing modules & dealing with the admin.)
  • Manage the applications for all courses & modules
  • Manage all the queries & questions by email, phone, and social media.
  • Go to meetings, meetings, meetings
  • Liaise with all the course providers, tutors, and LDOs
  • Manage occasionally to have Lunch & have some relaxing Annual leave

We really do try our best to get back to you as soon as we can, but sometimes (especially when it’s busy) we get a bit snowed under. Please feel free to chase us more than once if you don’t get a reply, as we are not always in the office to answer the phone. If you don’t get a reply from email, try the phone, Twitter, or FB.

The Contact form goes to the CPD admin email account, and it’s best to use this rather than email cpd admin direct, as it prompts you to add info so we can answer your question easily. (Like course dates, location, the name of the course etc.) You wouldn’t believe how many emails we get saying things like ‘ Hi, when is my course again?’ (and nothing else).

It really helps if you add as much info as possible so we can find your information for you!

Contact us via the Contact page or use the details at the bottom of this page. (Please be specific and detail what is wrong).

We try hard to get it right, but we do make mistakes!  We would love it if you let us know so we can fix them ASAP!

All course locations are shown on the course advert page via the ‘INFO & BOOKING’ button

The reason it isn’t open to APs, Techs, ECAs is that it is taught from a lead Clinician viewpoint, utilising skills and drugs that you would not be able to use. The priority for the Trust is to get all Paras through the course.

We need to ensure we had enough places for our clinicians as the PROMPT course supports us in our offer of core skills training. The course content is within a Paramedic’s / Ambulance Nurse’s scope of practice.

We do appreciate that ECAs would benefit, but the course goes above the core skills and competencies of an ECA; and whilst we acknowledge for them to have an awareness is good,  we would be concerned that a non-registered clinician could take away skills and end up in a position where they feel they should perform these skills out of their supported scope of practice. We don’t want to place people in a risky position like this. 

Update 2022*

Following the pandemic- PROMPT had to go online. We now have an e-learning package, and are planning to deliver a practical PROMPT course in 2022. The idea always was that the e-learning package would be the pre-learning for the practical course, to increase the hands on time on the day. Plans for the practical aspect stalled for a variety of reasons, mainly COVID. At the moment (March 2022) we are starting to pick this project up again, and hope to deliver practical sessions again later in the year. In the meantime, you can still access the e-learning package.
We have been able to open up places to SWAST (UoC) Apprenticeship Student Paramedics to access as a resource. (When practical sessions are re-started, we will be considering if we can also open these to SWAST apprenticeship students due to the limited places and the high demand we normally see).

Uniform is not required for HE Modules unless specifically requested for a practical element.

If a course requires uniform for practical elements, it will be specifically mentioned in the course advert page via the ‘INFO & BOOKING’ button’

To book on a Funded short course; go to the How to apply for Funded short courses page

To apply for funding for an HE Module ; go to the How to apply for an HE Module page

To book on a CPD Event ; go to the CPD Events page

SWAST only has a very small budget for CPD, and most of the funding comes from external bids from government organisations such as Health Education England and Clinical Commissioning groups. SWAST bid for funding to develop our staff, and the funding does not cover the cost of covering your shifts.

(Please note expenses and travel costs are not covered either)

There are lots of free online sites that can help you build a CPD portfolio. A popular one is and the College of Paramedics also have lots of info (but you will need to join!).

The HCPC also has a lot of advice on what you need to do to maintain your CPD portfolio and what the standards are, including some sample portfolios. hcpc CPD

The CPD Reflective Practice document is designed to assist you with your CPD portfolio. Simply download a copy, book onto some courses and complete the questions as you attend each activity.

If the course you wish to attend has a fee attached, you should contact the course provider to discuss payment. We only advertise paid courses for other providers that may be of interest for SWAST staff. The CPD department does not take payments.

We are very keen to receive any feedback, comments, photos about courses you’ve attended or the website. Feedback can be given in a number of ways;

All feedback will be acknowledged and reviewed by the CPD Admin Team. On occassion we may ask you if we can use positive comments or photos you’ve sent us in order to further advertise and promote the relevant course. Where negative feedback is provided this will be reviewed and if possible changes will be made and improvements will be implemented.

We experimented with some ‘memes’ and tried injecting a bit of fun into the social media streams to see if it would generate more interest in the adverts and courses. Using Google analytics / Facebook insights tool & Twitter marketing tools, we were able to track responses and interactions.

We found that the response generated by marketing messages with a ‘fun’ or comical element increased our digital footfall and site hits / interactions / and click-throughs by over 300% compared to simple information marketing.  We admit, we sometimes we don’t get it quite right, but we are learning and love your feedback!

Please ensure you advise us of any cancellations with as much advance notice as possible so we can offer your place to someone else.

If you booked the course directly on the website, please contact us as soon as possible at Contact us here

If you booked the course with an external provider, check the course advert page or your confirmation e-mail for the course administrators’ contact details.