Apprenticeships helping to shape futures at Southend Hospital
06 March 2017
6-10 March marks National Apprenticeship Week and Southend University Hospital is supporting staff development with a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities, both patient facing and behind the scenes.
The number of staff embarking on apprenticeships since last
year's Apprenticeship Week has been really encouraging, growing
from 23 to 65.
Employees Trust-wide can start an apprenticeship regardless of
age and at any career stage, in fact 73 per cent of Trust staff who
started an apprenticeship in 2016 were aged 25 and over.
Two of those are David Biggs, 27, from Stanford Le Hope and
Lizzie Furley, 25, from Southend. Both are currently Theatre
Support Workers in the hospital's operating theatres and are doing
the Level 3 Perioperative Apprenticeship.
Perioperative care is about providing better conditions for
patients before, during and after their operation.
David, who has been at the Trust for two years said: "I'm
working and studying towards my Level 3 to build upon my
qualifications so that I can do my Operating Department
Practitioners (ODP) course and progress career wise. They offer the
course at Anglia Ruskin University, so I want to use my level three
NVQ qualification to get enough UCAS points to qualify.
"I initially thought I was too old for an apprenticeship
thinking that they were just for 16-19 years olds. I didn't realise
you could do one at any age."
Lizzie started at the Trust in an admin role but has been in her
current role for a year and is looking at progressing to the ODP
course. She said: "Completing the apprenticeship will give me
greater responsibility in my role. I think it is great that the
hospital is investing in its staff, it is nice to feel encouraged
to enhance my role which betters not just me and the team I work
with but the hospital as whole."
"The support I receive is really encouraging from the Learning
and Development team and senior staff in theatre, people are happy
to help with any questions and advice."
And Fiona Sommerville, Practice Development Nurse for Theatres
& Post-Op Recovery, explained how apprentices like David and
Lizzie are having a real positive impact.
"Apprenticeships in theatres have really helped to enhance our
workforce and department. The work-based programme has enabled
personal and professional development with the opportunity of
progression to higher education. We currently have four Theatre
Support Workers doing the Perioperative Apprenticeship programme,
this has helped in relating theory and practice, enhancing
knowledge and skills and supporting a skilled workforce."
Delivering this and the other apprenticeship offers at Southend
University Hospital is Vocational Training Services (VTS), who have
been offering vocational training for the last 20 years and are
based in Westcliff.
Vocational Training Service's Business Development Manager,
Derrick Stott, said: "VTS has been privileged to deliver
apprenticeship training to both existing staff and new recruits at
Southend Hospital for many years. Our team of assessors and tutors
love visiting the hospital due to the sheer enthusiasm of the
learners there. All staff members put themselves forward for
training and are genuinely keen to learn and become qualified -
without exception they have shown passion for their work,
professionalism and dedication.
And VTS's commitment to staff and the way the apprenticeship
works for David has really shone through for him. He said: "Support
from staff at work and VTS has been great. I find it a real benefit
that I get the chance to progress in my career and that don't have
to leave my job to study. I love apprenticeships, I think they are
a great idea."
That was also something echoed by Lizzie, who said: "I can still
earn as I learn, I wouldn't be able to juggle going back to study
now part-time, its great get to keep earning a wage and study at
the same time and gain a qualification."
Opportunities for Southend
And the number of apprenticeship opportunities at Southend
Hospital are only set to increase when the Apprenticeship Levy
starts in May this year.
Eileen Gallagher, Careers and Apprenticeships Manager at the
hospital, said: "The Levy presents a real opportunity for the Trust
to consider a training framework encompassing apprenticeships as a
pathway to growing our own.
"We are challenging and changing the mindset associated with
apprenticeships. There are a variety of occupational areas to
choose from ranging from healthcare to business, finance, IT,
facilities and leadership and management."
In November 2016 the government announced the proposed creation
of the nursing degree apprenticeship. Once approved it will enable
existing staff and new recruits to train to become a graduate
registered nurse via an apprentice route, with training costs paid
via the Apprenticeship Levy.
So, next time you meet a member of staff at Southend Hospital,
whether it be an HCA, nurse, secretary or theatre worker they may
just be an apprentice as well.
Notes to Editor
Level 3 Perioperative Apprenticeship: There are the usual
12 core units including communication, personal development
and health and safety, and then 9 perioperative based units,
which all require observing as well as knowledge work. Some of
these are: Transport, transfer and position individuals and
equipment within the perioperative environment, Assist in the
delivery of perioperative care and support to individuals, Assist
in receiving, handling and dispatching clinical specimens and
Provide support to the surgical team when preparing individuals for
operative and invasive procedures.
Operating department practitioners (ODPs) are an important part
of the operating department team working with surgeons,
anaesthetists and theatre nurses to ensure surgery is as safe and
effective as possible. ODPs provide a high standard of skilled
support during perioperative care.
The Levy means that all employers in England with a pay bill
over £3m will be required to contribute 0.5 per cent of their pay
bill each year to a digital government managed apprenticeship levy
account. The government will top this up by a further 10 per cent
and employers - like Southend Hospital - can only use it for
apprenticeship training, with unspent funds expiring after 24
months of being added to the account.
Apprenticeships range from level 2-7 and are aligned to
educational levels with many higher programmes including a
foundation or bachelors/master's degree. From May 2017 levied funds
can be used to fund a staff member to begin a second degree where
substantive new learning can be evidenced.