What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is on the job training leading to a national qualification, available for both new and existing staff. Apprenticeships are a key way for people to learn on the job, both for new starters to the NHS and for existing members of staff, allowing learners the opportunity to gain a qualification and apply their learning while continuing to earn a salary.

Anyone over the age of 16, who is not in full time education, can apply to be an apprentice. There are different levels of apprenticeships with the most common levels undertaken in GP surgeries being intermediate (level 2) and advanced (level 3) apprenticeships. General practice support staff apprenticeships typically run from 12 to 24 months. All apprenticeships include assessment of practical skills, functional skills (numeracy, literacy and IT) and a technical certificate (theory/knowledge).

Apprentices in primary care – success in practice published by Health Education England outlines the benefits of apprenticeship qualifications in primary care support roles and showcases the impact of apprentices within the work environment. There are a broad range of profiles covering medical administration, business administration, customer service, healthcare and team leading.

Download Apprentices in primary care – success in practice.

Commissioned by HEE, Skills for Health has developed Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online (HASO), a tool to help health sector managers in England find a wide range of apprenticeships to train staff in clinical and non-clinical roles. For all the latest news on apprenticeship standards that are available to deliver, those in development, expressions of interest and to comment on consultations please visit https://haso.skillsforhealth.org.uk.

From April 2018, if organisations pay the apprenticeship levy they can transfer apprenticeship funds to other organisations to pay for their apprenticeship training and assessment.

Employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and have unused apprenticeship funds can find employers who want to receive a transfer in a number of ways. For example, you could:

  • work with employers you currently work with
  • get in touch with other employers in your industry
  • get in touch with an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA)
  • work with regional partners

Read guidance about transferring funds to other organisations in the apprenticeship service at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transferring-apprenticeship-service-funds.

The HASO Apprenticeship Implementation Toolkit has a NHS 10% Levy Transfer Journey flow chart designed to be an easy to follow step by step interpretation of the guidance

Health Education England and the National Skills Academy for Health have developed a set of principles to ensure excellent practice in apprenticeship provision across UK health care organisations.

Download the Quality Principles for NHS Apprenticeships at http://www.nsahealth.org.uk/principlesforapprenticeships.

For further information on apprenticeships and careers in the NHS, please visit Health Careers, Step into the NHS or NHS Jobs.

With a wide range of apprenticeships available, each NHS employer will work with you and offer support to ensure you are choosing the right apprenticeship, agree a training plan and do all that they can to support you throughout your learning.

Health Education England has published the YouTube playlist below that contains a wide range of videos about apprenticeships in the NHS.

The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network champions apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers and encourages more people from underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities or impairments, women and members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to consider apprenticeships.

Find out more about the network at https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/apprenticeship-diversity-champions-network.

Health Education England has published a range of best practice and case studies about apprenticeships, including

Northamptonshire Apprenticeship Project
A joint initiative to bring together the work being done across the NHS organisations in Northamptonshire through a coordinated approach.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust – Belong to Something
See how this NHS Trust promotes and organises its apprenticeship opportunities.

The Coastal West Sussex Integrated Apprenticeship Programme

Developed with the aim of supporting growing workforce needs across health and social care and to encourage integration between the two sectors.

The Suffolk Integrated Apprenticeship Programme
Developed with the aim of providing entry-level work experience in a variety of health and social care settings.

The Lincolnshire Integrated Apprenticeship Programme
Developed to take account of Sustainability Transformation Plans and offer an entry route into the sector.

The Leeds Integrated Apprenticeship Programme
Developed to enable apprentices to enhance care skills, understand the range of roles and responsibilities of support workers throughout the patient journey and gain an insight into operational challenges that might influence seamless integrated care.

The Blackburn with Darwen Council Integrated Apprenticeship Programme
Designed to promote innovation and cross-sectoral learning across health and social care by providing apprentices with two different placements.

Step 1

Assess your workforce development need: identify the skills gaps of your workforce and their current qualification level relating to their role. Think about any vacancies that could be considered as a future apprentice role. Estimate how much funding you have to spend on an apprenticeship.

Step 2

Choose apprenticeship training and assessments: find a training provider who will offer the right apprenticeship qualification and assess your apprentice over the duration of their qualification.

Step 3

Advertise a vacancy: to recruit an apprentice or identify an existing employee, work with a training provider to help with advertising and shortlisting.

Step 4

Provide ongoing support for the apprentice: including, helping new apprentices to adjust to the workplace, nominating a member of the team to be the apprentices mentor, planning workload to provide the necessary opportunities to complete practical tasks in line with training goals. Also build in time for the apprentice to receive regular assessment / workplace reviews by the training provider.