APPRENTICES BOOST FOR THE NHS
The NHS in the South West in on course to put in place more than 600 apprentices over the next six months.
NHS Organisations across the region are working with the National Apprenticeship Service to boost recruitment to apprenticeships in a range of areas.
The South West Strategic Health Authority with support from the Department of Health are providing additional funding of around £1.2 million to support the project, which is part of a national campaign to increase the number of apprentices in the public sector.
Hospitals and Primary Care Trusts from Taunton to Truro, from Bristol to Bournemouth have enthusiastically embraced the campaign – and are already seeing the benefits.
At the moment apprentices are mostly being recruited to non-clinical areas. These include jobs in business administration, estates, catering and IT.
There has also been strong interest in apprenticeships for health care assistants and interest from dental nurses and pharmacy assistants.
The NHS is hoping to extend placements into more clinical support areas such as occupational therapy assistants, lab assistants, radiography assistants and phlebotomists.
John Chudley, Regional Director with the National Apprenticeships Service, said today: “These apprentices will get real on-the-job experience while improving their qualifications and contributing to the NHS workforce.
“We have been delighted with the way NHS South West organisations have enthusiastically embraced the project and have seen the real benefits apprentices can bring, particularly in areas and departments which have an ageing workforce.
“Their real commitment is shown by the fact that here in the South West we look set to exceed the target that the government set for us.
Amanda Shobrook, Widening Participation Manager for the South West Strategic Health Authority, said: “For us it has been a case of identifying where the apprentices could be best used – and then matching the young people to those areas, with the help of the Apprenticeships Vacancies online website.
“These are challenging times for everyone and it is important we offer high quality routes into jobs so that the NHS continues to have a highly skilled, highly motivated workforce in the future.”
In England up to 5,000 new apprentices will start by next March.