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Peer Support Worker Training

Peer Support Worker Training

Peer Support Worker Training

Peer Support Worker Training

The Mental Health Implementation Plan identifies opportunities for the growth of peer support workers (PSWs) up until 2024, with the ambition to support the development of PSWs nationally and grow supervisor capacity and capability. These training courses suit paid and voluntary workers in both Adult, and Children & Young People’s statutory, and non-statutory services.

The courses complement our already successful and expanding portfolio of IAPT and SMHP training programmes. We have a firm commitment to evidence-based clinical practice and as such we endeavour to ensure our training programmes are firmly embedded within current research.

As the role of the PSWs becomes recognised and valued nationally, there has been a desire to bring parity of esteem in relation to other disciplines in healthcare by devising competencies and developing formal training. Both the Peer Support Worker and Peer Support Worker Supervisor training courses have been developed from national competencies outlined by Health Education England, the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, UCL Partners, Care City and PPL Consulting.


Teaching consists of 8 taught days covering the national PSW competencies, provided by the University of Exeter’s PSW training team. Currently, teaching is delivered online.

Over 6 weeks, following the first 7 training days, trainees will be on work placement within their service, supporting clients. Depending on the amount of time each PSW is employed/ volunteering, the amount of practice time and number of clients supported will vary.

Trainees will also have weekly, work-based group supervision, provided by their service. Ideally, supervisors will have already completed, or will be undergoing, PSW supervisor training.

You will learn through:

  • attending lectures and workshops remotely
  • group supervision
  • guided independent study.

Supervision is viewed as central to peer support, and as such supervisors need to understand the values and principles that underpin peer support, and support their PSW supervisees to develop skills and work well in a multi-disciplinary team.

The PSW supervisor training is a CPD course. It runs alongside the PSW training and is underpinned by the national PSW training curriculum and the UCL supervision competence framework. Supervisors attending the training course should provide the group supervision of the PSW trainees in-service. They should have a background in peer support OR a good understanding of the role and values/principles underpinning the role.

Teaching consists of 3 taught days, provided by the University of Exeter’s PSW training team. This is followed by 3 additional supervision of supervision group sessions provided by the University of Exeter’s PSW training team.


  • Completion of a Clinical Portfolio to record practice contact hours and supervision contact hours during the practice period, which will be signed off by the supervisor.
  • Completion of a Practice Outcomes Document to record and demonstrate competence in the peer support practice outcomes, which will be signed off by their supervisor following demonstration of competence in all areas.

This is a non-credit-bearing course which follows Health Education England’s national competence framework.

Supervisors will be expected to support their PSW trainees in completing the Practice Outcomes Document in supervision and to sign it off following demonstration of competence in all areas.

Please note:

  • Supervisors on the PSW supervisor training programme cannot also be enrolled on the PSW training programme.
  • If a service is allocated four PSW trainees or more, we would suggest a maximum ratio of 1:4, so one supervisor to every 4 PSW trainees.

Course length

3 months (part time)


Peer Support Worker Training - HEE funded
Peer Support Worker Supervisor Training - HEE funded

Who are the courses suitable for?

The Peer Support Worker training would suit people with lived experience of accessing mental health services.

In order to successfully complete all assessment criteria, applicants should be undertaking Peer Support Work, or be expecting to start a Peer Support role no later than week 7 of the course.

Prospective students from all academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

The course would suit people who are supervising Peer Support Workers, and/ or Peer Support Worker Students. Supervisors should have experience working as a Peer Support Worker, or have significant experience working closely with Peer Support Workers.

To gain the maximum benefit from participation, supervisors should be available for each three taught days and the three Supervision of Supervision sessions. Some theoretical underpinnings of supervision are taught, but the course does not require previous training, or specific qualifications.

We recommend at least one supervisor attends PSW Supervisor training for each four Peer Support Worker students.

How to apply

Applications to both training courses can only be made through local services. Interested parties should contact their local service lead. The number of places varies each year as the course is funded by Health Education England and is dependent on funding. Application packs will be made available to services by the University of Exeter once informed of service allocations by Health Education England.


Peter Harwood/Joe Alvis

Our previous students have said:

  • " Lots of enthusiastic and informative speaking."
  • " realise how important our role as Peer Support workers is in the recovery to others, offering hope"
  • " The group is very supportive I appreciate it a lot. "
  • " amazing course, it has really made me look at how I work and how I can improve my practice”.