The benefits of apprenticeships are being celebrated at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust during this year’s National Apprenticeship Week 2018 (5th – 9th March).
Apprenticeships play a vital role in helping young people to get a foot on the career ladder and enable employers to develop a skilled workforce for the future. The theme of this year’s national event is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ and will showcase how apprenticeships benefit individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.
The Trust currently employs apprentices in a variety of clinical and non-clinical roles including Healthcare Support, management, business administration, accounting, IT, catering and domestic services. Thanks to the skills and experience gained throughout their training, many RD&E apprentices have gone on to gain further employment with the Trust at the end of their apprenticeship programme.
For Sophie Hoare, 23 from Totnes, undertaking an apprenticeship at the RD&E has given her the opportunity to start a whole new career. Sophie completed her clinical apprenticeship in General Theatres over the course of twelve months, and is now training at Birmingham City University to become an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP).
“Each day of my apprenticeship was completely different.” She said. “There are ten different theatres, each with a different speciality, so I got a really broad range of experience. At first it was just observation; then they got you involved really quickly as part of their team. I would collect patients from the ward, support in the anaesthetic room and circulate in theatre supporting staff. It was 90% practical learning on the job, which was beneficial for me as that’s the way I learn.”
Sophie continued: “When I applied for the apprenticeship I didn’t know that I would be based in theatres, so it opened up this whole possibility for me because I realised that I enjoyed being in that environment. I loved it as soon as I got there – I thought this is me. I can’t wait to come back at work at the RD&E as an ODP when I’m qualified.”
Leon Hackworthy, Administration Officer – Apprenticeships and Work Experience, said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for individuals to develop within the NHS and work their way up the ladder through a range of career pathways. Apprenticeships are made available to both new and current employees and job roles are structured so that individuals always have the opportunity to learn new skills and develop themselves further. Apprenticeships allow for us to grow our workforce in a range of different careers both clinical and non-clinical and ensure that there is not a skills gap when experienced colleagues reach the end of their careers. Apprenticeships are of great benefit both to the NHS and to apprentices, they provide opportunities and recognition for staff, including the development of transferable skills, resulting in increased flexibility of the workforce.”