Newly released data for National Apprenticeship Week reveals a remarkable surge in NHS apprenticeships in the North East and Yorkshire, with over 4,600 individuals commencing their apprenticeship journey in 2022/23. This represents a staggering 25% increase compared to pre-Covid figures.
As the largest apprenticeship trainer in the nation, the NHS witnessed a substantial rise, boasting more than 20,000 apprenticeships initiated across England in the past year. These apprenticeship programs open doors to over 350 different careers within the NHS, enabling individuals to “earn while they learn” without the necessity of attending university beforehand.
Kate Firkin has undertaken two apprenticeships with Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) and is hoping to begin her Paramedic Degree Apprenticeship at Huddersfield University, allowing her to become a fully qualified paramedic, without a student loan.
“The apprenticeship route has been the perfect way to build a career,” Kate said. “I have worked for YAS throughout as a full-time employee and attracted a full-time wage. This has meant I have been able to fully support my family while gaining a nationally recognised qualification and achieving my career goals.”
NHS apprenticeships also include a variety of entry-level roles including support staff – helping employers attract talent from local communities and ensuring people from all backgrounds get the chance to pursue a rewarding career.
With the increased focus on data and move to electronic patient records there is also a focus on digital apprenticeships to attract new talent into tech roles in the NHS, with opportunities ranging from Data Technician to Artificial Intelligence Data Specialist.
Emma Skirrow, from Thurnscoe, Rotherham, had worked for 20 years in legal services before she decided she wanted to develop in her new role as a Data Quality Technician at her local trust, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust.
She said: “I knew the basics of being a Data Quality Technician but I wanted to learn more. I wanted to study to gain knowledge and confidence, so that I knew what I needed to do this new role.”
The mum-of-three started a Level 3 Data Technician Apprenticeship 12 months ago and is encouraging others to follow the apprenticeship route to get the qualifications they need.
“I’d say to anyone looking to increase their confidence levels or wanting an extra skill to do an apprenticeship. Especially if you work in the NHS, there are so many different career routes you can take. With NHS Apprenticeships, you can really decide where you want to go with your career!”
Apprentices are a crucial part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and NHS England aims to triple the number being trained by 2030, so they make up more than one in five new recruits.
Claire Atkinson had worked as a Podiatry Assistant for over 20 years before undertaking her Podiatry Degree Apprenticeship with North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.
She said: “Undertaking this apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to train as a podiatrist, which I have previously been unable to do due to financial, geographical and personal circumstances.
“Apprenticeships are an excellent way to progress your career. I have received fantastic support from my colleagues, team leads and departmental manager – without which I don’t believe I would have been able to complete the course so far.”
Fiona Hibbits, Director of Workforce, Training and Education for NHS England in the North East and Yorkshire, said:
“Apprenticeships are critical for the NHS and are an integral part of our Long Term Workforce Plan. They support NHS organisations to train more staff and develop specialist knowledge whilst also providing people in our region with opportunity and employment.
“It is fantastic that 4,639 people embarked on an apprenticeship with the NHS in the North East and Yorkshire during 2022/23 and we are committed to ensuring this number increases over the coming years.”
Professor Mark Radford, Director of Long Term Workforce Plan Delivery and Education, and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at NHS England, said:
“Apprentices are at the heart of our Long Term Workforce Plan to put staffing on a sustainable footing and improve patient care. Apprenticeships are a fantastic tool, not only to attract new talent to the NHS but also to develop the skills of the existing workforce.
“Our ambition for apprenticeships is to continue to build on the fantastic success of the expansion to date and provide an alternative route to careers such as Nursing and Allied Health Professionals. Working with UCAS from 2025, young people will also be able to apply for apprenticeships at the same time as traditional degree programmes.”