NHS apprenticeships are much more varied than you think

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The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital’s estates site manager has revealed how apprenticeships opened up a rewarding career for him in engineering.

Former Telford College apprentice Dave Lewis says people often underestimate the diversity of roles and job opportunities available in the NHS, and the range of apprenticeships it has to offer.

He worked his way through the estates department into a senior management position through the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s apprenticeship programme, investment in his education and his own hard work to excel at both college and in work.

Dave, who started at the Trust with very basic engineering qualifications, said: “In 2006 I had been offered an opportunity by my manager at the time to go through a level three engineering apprenticeship.

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“The Trust were willing to develop my skills and support me financially to go to college so I could eventually become a mechanical technician.

“I gratefully took the opportunity and committed myself fully to the advanced apprenticeship course which took three years to complete, picking up student of the year and gaining distinctions along the way.”

After a further two years in higher education, Dave completed a degree-level HNC/HND in electrical mechanical engineering, and is now helping to bring more apprentices into the Trust, working with Telford College.

He said: “The apprenticeship programme and subsequent higher education has given me greater choice in my career path with the NHS.

“Succession planning is important to the Trust and particularly estates. Our skillsets can be very niche and difficult to acquire within industry due to the environment that we operate in.

“The Trust apprenticeship programme is an established way to improve skills and help provide career choices and progression routes for both our existing substantive staff and our prospective employees whatever their education level.”

Apprenticeship opportunities exist across a range of skills at the hospital trust, including mechanical, carpentry, painting and signwriting, electrical and groundwork.

Six new apprenticeship posts were created across the estates team in September – two in carpentry and joinery, and four on a level three engineering programme.

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Among the current apprentices elsewhere in the Trust is Skye Talbot, who works in the plaster room. “I can truly say I have learnt and seen something new each day – I would definitely recommend this apprenticeship to others,” she said.

Molly Saunders is a legal and security services apprentice who has moved from a level two to level three course and has already secured a permanent post on the team.

She said: “I can honestly say that working in the legal services team and gaining the knowledge and experience I have, and completing both of my qualifications, is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.”

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Dave said the team would be looking to take on more apprentices this year, with recruitment and advertising likely to start during the summer.

More details about vacancies can be found on the Trust’s recruitment website.

Dave was joined by some of the other NHS apprentices in the estates team for a National Apprenticeships Week discussion at Telford College, which was streamed on the college’s Facebook page but is now available on YouTube.

Telford College offers apprenticeships in 38 different careers, for both young people and adults. For every £1 of Government investment, the college generates a return of more than £25 from its apprenticeship programmes to the local economy.

Telford College apprentices, and our own director of engineering, Rob Lees, recently spoke with BBC Radio about how apprenticeships open up numerous opportunities.

The college currently engages with more around 1,000 apprentices, and 98% secure permanent employment or continue to further or higher education when their training is complete.

It has close links with more than 700 companies, and the curriculum is created in collaboration with the business community to ensure their needs are met.

More details about Telford College’s apprenticeships, and current employment opportunities, can be found on our apprenticeships.

For more details of National Apprenticeship Week events in Telford & Wrekin, please visit the Life Ready, Work Ready website.

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