Monday, 27 July 2009

NHS apprenticeships to boost jobs for young people

£25 million announced to more than treble the number of NHS apprenticeships.

NHS organisations will receive a total of £25 million to create 5,000 new NHS apprenticeships by March 2010, Health Secretary Andy Burnham announced today.

The funding forms part of the Prime Minister’s commitment made in February 2009 to increase the number of apprenticeships by 21,000 across the public sector, expanding and strengthening apprenticeships as a mainstream option for young people and adults alike.

New NHS apprenticeships will get real ‘on the job’ experience while improving their qualifications and contributing to the NHS workforce. Apprenticeships will include clinical support roles such as dental nurses and pharmacy support workers and non-clinical roles such as IT support, estates and facilities management and catering.

Apprenticeships widen the range of young people who can work in clinical support roles with the added potential of progressing to a professional career.

In addition to the £25 million worth of funding announced today, progress towards achieving the 5,000 new apprenticeships has so far included:

  • The creation of a National Apprenticeship Advisory Committee chaired by Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Ron Kerr to drive progress and promote recruitment and retention of apprenticeships in the NHS;
  • Plans from Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) which demonstrate their individual planned contribution to this important commitment; and
  • Joint working between the NHS, Skills for Health (the sector Skills Council for the health sector) and NHS Employers who are actively supporting the NHS to promote a skilled, flexible workforce to improve the quality of health and healthcare through appropriate apprenticeship training programmes and frameworks for both health employers and employees.

Meeting apprentices on a visit to Aintree Hospital, Liverpool, today Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:

“We are totally committed to being able to provide apprenticeship opportunities for young people. Our ambitious programme to more than treble the number of apprentices will create over 5,000 new apprenticeships in the NHS.

“Apprenticeships are an excellent way of giving young people the chance to learn life changing skills and offer a genuine opportunity to train clinical staff.

“In these tough economic times, we must do all we can to provide high quality routes into jobs so that we can ensure we have a highly skilled, highly motivated and loyal NHS workforce for future generations.”

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“The funding to create 5,000 new NHS apprenticeships is the right move at the right time.

“The public sector has an important role to play in supporting people through the recession. Young people in particular are

being hit hard and are struggling to get even near the jobs ladder.

“The NHS is a stimulating and worthwhile environment and the apprenticeships will provide excellent training opportunities and a vital springboard into full-time employment.”

Apprenticeship Working Group Chair Ron Kerr said:

“I am very excited to have been offered the opportunity to Chair the National Apprenticeship Advisory Committee that will look to develop and sustain a longer term vision for the role of apprenticeships.

“Opportunity is the key to development and I am convinced that the apprenticeship agenda will see a raft of talent coming through into the NHS.”

There are currently 1,500 apprentices in the NHS. All new apprentices will be in post by March 2010.

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