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Public Sector
Learning Disability and Autism Workforce Digital Service 

Careers service for the Learning Disability and Autism sector 

Doctor with Files

Health Education England (HEE) plans, recruits and trains the health workforce. The workforce in turn needs easy access to information that will enable them to enter, progress or switch a career within their chosen field.

HEE wanted to develop a digital education and workforce development service for the learning disability and autism sector, helping to raise its profile and address the career challenges that it had identified. 


A review of the learning disability and autism workforce highlighted several issues including, a narrow range of recruits (typically mature and experienced), high attrition levels, and a lack of skills development opportunities. To address these, a preceding ‘Part 1’ project had mapped and produced content for a multi-professional career framework showing the career, education and funding pathways.

HEE engaged Olive Jar to build on this by designing and developing a digital service that maps and demonstrates career opportunities, entry points, development and progression, education requirements, costs and funding options. HEE aimed to raise the profile of careers to attract a broad range of people, whilst also retaining existing staff by raising the visibility of progression pathways and facilitating skills development. This ‘Part 2’ project was to be completed in 10 months.


To meet requirements within HEE’s budget constraints, our multidisciplinary Agile team comprised highly-skilled and experienced resources; some with capabilities to perform dual roles, and others engaged part-time as and when needed, helping to minimise costs and offering outstanding value for money.


In support of HEE’s stringent timelines, we conducted rapid assessment to fully understand the landscape and business needs through: 

  • Review and analysis of project goals and objectives, and of earlier (‘Part 1’) work completed. 

  • Stakeholder and key user explorative interviews, surveys and focus groups, ensuring realistic cross-representation of users. 

  • Employing user stories, personas and user journeys HEE provided, interrogating and validating these through the Discovery, framing recommendations for Alpha. 


We employed Agile Scrum methodology and used Agile tools (e.g., Jira and Trello) in categorising and prioritising all user research. We prototyped and iterated designs (including ‘mobile first’) based on feedback from guerrilla testing sessions, enabling mapping of the product roadmap and minimum viable product. 

A parallel technical options analysis informed the potential to integrate the new service with other HEE learning solutions.

Private and Public Beta

Full-stack development leveraged Azure technologies. We designed the front-end using NHS and GOV.UK Design Systems, built to WCAG2.1AA accessibility standards and worked with HEE for integrations with its other services. 

We used mocks to expedite service assessment readiness and passed assessments by demonstrating the service, user needs, problem being solved, testing and refinement, ‘working in the open’, managing constraints and accessibility compliance. 


As part of Olive Jar’s exit, we supported HEE in setting up its maintenance environment (roles, responsibilities, document repositories), and shared up-to-date system and operational documentation, ensuring HEE was well-positioned to continue delivery.

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Delivered Discovery to Live, the new service meets user needs, GOV.UK and NHS Service Standards, and Technology Code of Practice. 

It is easy to navigate, logical, intuitive, engaging, and includes a range of digital content (case studies, videos from HEE’s catalogue) as determined by user feedback. 

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