Pilot project for apprentices is in good health

Published: March 4, 2019

Pilot project for apprentices is in good health

Telford College is playing a pivotal role in a new pilot scheme to give apprentices a wider range of career opportunities within the National Health Service.

Each apprentice on the pioneering programme receives four rotational placements, giving them experience working in hospitals, care homes, with the district nurse, and people with disabilities.

During the hospital placement, the apprentices get chance to work on a stroke ward, trauma ward, and orthopaedic ward.


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Hear our principal Graham Guest’s interview from BBC Shropshire Radio discussing our new NHS rotational apprenticeship programme:


The scheme is being run in conjunction with the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, Telford and Wrekin Council, Shropshire County Council and local care homes.

Among the care homes taking part are Chilcott Gardens in Madeley, Liggett House in Oakengates, Farcroft in Wellington, and Abbey Wood Day Centre in Shrewsbury.

Tracy Newbold, NHS project manager and mentor for the apprentices, said: “The aim is for the apprentices to gain experience in each of the sectors within the Shropshire health and social care economy, based within one of the three geographies: Shrewsbury, Telford, and Oswestry.

“The apprentice has the unique opportunity to gain clinical experience, by rotating through different sectors including acute (hospital), community, primary care and local authority-led services such as care homes and the voluntary sector to develop transferable skills.

“Placements are between 13 and 14 weeks in duration, and the Care Certificate and Healthcare Support Worker Level 2 apprenticeship standard is undertaken.”

The aim of the programme is to prepare apprentices for a variety of jobs roles including health care assistant, care worker, community support worker or assistant care practitioner, with a view to being able to apply for roles such as nursing associate in future.

Tracy added: “The scheme is going very well, with good partnership working between all of the organisations involved – and the apprentices seem to be getting a lot out of the scheme.”

From left, Carly Nicholls, Emilia Wilkinson, Tracy Newbold, Libby Lloyd-Goffin, assessor Kim Scott-Webster, Ellie Matthews, Leah Salt, and Marian Fitzgerald.

Among them is former Bridgnorth Endowed School student Carly Nicholls, 18, who said: “I’ve been offered employment as a health care assistant at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on ward 21, the stroke ward, thanks to my apprenticeship, and have ambitions to do a nursing degree at the University of Wolverhampton once I get experience.”

Emilia Wilkinson, 17, from Market Drayton, a former Grove School student, said: “I want a career in social care, and this apprenticeship will help me with my ambition.”

Libby Lloyd-Goffin, 16, is a former Madeley Academy student. She said: “I’m definitely a practical learner, and this suits me really well. We do need to do coursework, but I get support when I need it.

“My favourite part so far has been my placement with the district nurse. I want to be an RAF medical officer eventually, and spending time with the district nurse was fantastic experience.”

Leah Salt, 18, another former Madeley Academy student, added: “You gain the skills and experience you need to progress. Before I started I didn’t really know how I was going to become a nurse, but thanks to this apprenticeship, now I do.”

Ellie Matthews, 16, from Shrewsbury, added: “You get more experience on an apprenticeship compared to staying on at school sixth form.

“My confidence has grown and I am really enjoy my apprenticeship. I want to become a nurse and specialise in midwifery once I’ve got my nursing degree at University of Staffordshire.”

Marian Fitzgerald, a co-ordinator from the National Skills Academy which recruits the apprentices, said: “We’re extremely happy with the partnership working. Rotational apprenticeships can be challenging, but this pilot is working very well.”

Telford College principal Graham Guest said: “Apprenticeships are all about giving young people the chance to experience the real world of work, at the same time as learning – and NHS experience doesn’t come any more varied than this.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to experience a diverse range of roles in the healthcare sector, allowing people to decide where they feel their best career path lies.”