Next week, 8th-12th February 2021 marks National Apprenticeship Week, a celebration of our NHS people working across a vast range of roles and areas in health and care.
Our apprentices make a huge contribution to the delivery of essential services across the NHS in front line clinical and non-clinical roles. Health apprenticeships are continually expanding across all professions at all levels, and include areas such as nursing, advanced clinical practice, senior healthcare support, medical engineering, pharmacy and business administration to name a few.
Next week is a celebration of the valuable contribution each and every one of them has made to the pandemic. They have made real difference, and are still making a difference, to the continuing delivery of care and clinical services, during COVID.
We have been working closely with employers and training providers, to ensure our apprentices have the best possible support to continue their learning, and as far as possible, to try to pre-empt challenges such as re-deployment, apprenticeship/ learning programme and assessment disruption.
There is no doubt that COVID has had a huge impact on students and learners. Working throughout Covid-19 has been challenging, for many apprentices’ placements were adapted to include supporting on the wards, working in different areas such as ICU, and within different multidisciplinary teams with staff from redeployed areas. It has also involved caring for more complex patients alongside experienced clinicians, expanding knowledge and skills at a fast pace. Apprentices have shown true resilience.
Celebrating two years of nursing associates last week is another important milestone for our NHS people. In two short years, it is great that over 2,700 nursing associates have joined the NMC register. Nursing associates are also making a real impact in the delivery of healthcare during the pandemic in both health and social care settings working as part of a team alongside registered nurses and allied health professionals.
At HEE we are keen to do all we can to develop new roles like nursing associates and apprenticeships in health and care to provide career progression for those wishing to pursue this. On this note, I am excited to tell you that I will be opening the NHS Project Futures Festival ’21 next week to launch four apprenticeships to build professional capability across the NHS.
Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a surge in the number of people visiting the HEE Health Careers website as well as a jump in applications for NHS jobs across the country showing that “more want to play their part” as the health service faces its greatest ever challenge responding and recovering from COVID. We need to harness this opportunity to develop the apprenticeship workforce and are keen to hear from stakeholders interested in working with us to help ensure we have a well trained and experienced workforce for the future.
Dr Navina Evans
Health Education England
This Page was last updated on: 29 January 2021