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HEE continuing to support apprenticeships through the pandemic

9 February 2021

There has been over 22,000 NHS Apprenticeship starts to date this academic year. These apprentices make a huge contribution to the delivery of essential services across the NHS in front line clinical and non-clinical roles, and each and everyone of them has made a difference and are still making a difference to the continuing delivery of care and clinical services, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Education England has continued to develop innovative support for employers to ensure our apprenticeship programme continues on course despite the pandemic. This includes supporting employees in developing their Skills for Life (numeracy, literacy, digital skills) with over 7,000 learners nationally accessing HEE Talent for Care funded functional skills software.

Laura Roberts, Director of Skills Development and Participation said

“As we celebrate National Apprentice week this week I am proud to say that HEE has continued to work with employers, training providers and other stakeholders and supporters to ensure our apprentices have the best possible support to continue their learning, and as far as possible stay on programme during this pandemic.”

HEE worked closely with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to ensure our apprentices, including those in nursing roles, could still qualify in a timely way and be able to take up their new role in delivering service, at a time of great need.


Case study

Emily Lane

Nurse Degree Apprentice

My name is Emily Lane, I am 30 years old and am currently halfway through a 4 year degree apprenticeship programme through Leeds Teaching Hospitals and the University of Leeds. My degree is BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing (Apprenticeship).

Why did you choose this specific apprenticeship?

I have always wanted to work in healthcare and started working as Clinical Support Worker a few years before commencing this apprenticeship. When I decided that nursing was the career I wanted to pursue, I was not in a position financially to be able to leave my full-time job to go to university. This route was perfect for me - giving me the opportunity to work towards my dream job while still earning a wage and being able to support myself and run a home.

What has been your proudest achievement on your apprenticeship to date?

The proudest moment so far for me is the fact that I have been able to play an important role through the Covid-19 pandemic. My base ward for my training is the regional Infectious Diseases & Travel Medicine Unit, and I was part of the first drive-through swabbing site for the area. Because of my efforts and involvement in this, I was nominated and named regional (Yorkshire & North East) winner of the NHS Rising Star award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020, and subsequently have been shortlisted for the national award, due to be announced at Westminster in July 2021.

What work has been like since COVID-19 outbreak and how your work had changed because of it?

Working throughout Covid-19 has been challenging, we have had to be flexible in that our courses were put on hold and placements were moved so that we were available to work throughout, supporting on the wards alongside dealing with changes outside of work and worries involved there. But it has taught me a lot about resilience, and the true meaning of team working.

How do you see your apprenticeship helping you in your career progression?

Without the apprenticeship, it would have been very difficult for me to pursue my dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. The opportunity to "earn while you learn" is realistically the only option that would enable me to do this.

What would your advice be to anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

Go for it! It’s challenging, often a huge juggling act to get things done, and sometimes you do feel as though you can't do it, but as long as you have drive, focus, and a good support network around you the benefits and opportunities are endless!