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Apprenticeships case study

Last year, there was a national drive to create 5,000 apprenticeships in the NHS. In fact, the NHS surpassed this target and recruited 8,000 new apprentices who are now working and learning across the health service.

NHS apprenticeships are incredibly diverse. Careers range from clinical support worker and pharmacy assistants to human resources and catering services. Read how one NHS trust in Birmingham helped young people kick-start their careers in the NHS.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham started their apprenticeship recruitment in November 2009. The reasons for this were simple and typical of many NHS trusts across the country:

  • the need to attract younger staff as the current workforce ages
  • difficulties in recruiting motivated and skilled staff.

Working with clinical managers, the trust's Healthcare Careers Development Unit (HCDU) identified the work areas where apprenticeships were needed most. For example, there were difficulties recruiting and retaining healthcare assistants (HCA) on wards.

Rather than advertise job vacancies, the trust decided to create apprenticeship opportunities. The HCDU liaised with local FE colleges and Jobcentre Plus to identify suitable applicants and interviews and assessments focused on their attitude and behaviours based around the Trust's values rather than their knowledge and skills. Around 30 successful candidates were then asked to participate in a two week pre-employment training scheme. They were also initially offered a salary at NHS pay band 1 for the first six months. If apprentices performed well in this period, they were promoted to band 2.

Following a month's induction, which included work shadowing, the apprentices took up their positions. Feedback from managers was very positive. They said the apprentices were motivated and had benefitted from the induction. Since then a further two groups of apprentices have started at the trust with the final group starting in September 2010. Pleasingly, 80% were still in training or full time employment six months after their apprenticeship placements started. For further stories of how to the NHS is working with local schools, colleges and Job Centre Plus on apprenticeships, visit the NHS Employers website shared learning section and search the database using the term 'apprenticeship'.

If your students are interested in an apprenticeship in the NHS, there is information on the Step into the NHS website.

Apprentices who completed the scheme talk about their experiences