With a mix of on-the-job training with classroom learning, apprenticeships provide apprentices with the skills needed for their chosen career - leading to nationally recognised qualifications.

"Apprenticeships offer apprentices outstanding opportunities to succeed in a job they enjoy."

Apprenticeships are currently available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries, with home care, social care and community care apprenticeships all available to those looking to enter the health and social care sector. There are many job roles in the sector and I am delighted to see that there are so many apprenticeship opportunities available too.

There are up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies available online at any one time. Our Find an Apprenticeship vacancy site shows us that there are almost 2500 live vacancies in the health and social care sector right now, from intermediate right through to higher apprenticeship level. Find an Apprenticeship is an important tool for searching and applying for apprenticeships: during 2015/16, there were 1,656,680 on-line apprenticeship applications made.

Apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level. There were 899,400 funded apprentices participating in an apprenticeship in the 2015 to 2016 academic year. One health and social care apprentice who is truly reaping the reward of his apprenticeship is Kyle Peebles.

 

An apprentice's story: Kyle


 

Kyle, 20 and from Gateshead found his calling through an apprenticeship with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS). Kyle has overcome a number of personal and professional challenges, including a stutter, to gain a full-time position at NEAS as an Ambulance Care Assistant, thanks to his apprenticeship.

Kyle left school unsure about what he wanted to do and took on an apprenticeship as a plasterer, to earn money, gain a qualification, and utilise his skills as a more ‘hands-on’ person, before realising the industry wasn’t for him. A job in retail followed, testing his abilities but Kyle quickly realised he had a knack for engaging with and helping customers.

Kyle’s parents, who both work in health and social care, encouraged Kyle to use his caring and empathetic nature to consider pursuing a career in healthcare. Spotting an Intermediate Apprenticeship with the Patient Transport Service with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) in the local newspaper, Kyle immediately applied and started as a Patient Transport Service apprentice in April 2015, where his main role was to assist staff in supporting patients to and from their hospital appointments.

Kyle explains: “Doing an apprenticeship that deals so directly and personally with patients is something I could have never pictured doing when I was at school. I spend every day talking to patients, building a rapport, and making them feel at ease in situations which can sometimes be distressing for them. For example, we can be doing anything from transporting people with mental health issues to helping those who struggle with mobility.”

Kyle’s dedication to his apprenticeship has been recognised on a number of occasions; winning two awards (including ‘Most Committed’) at the Health Education North East (HENE) Apprenticeship Awards and Highly Commended at the National Apprenticeship Awards, North East, in 2016.

Kyle’s enthusiasm and love for his role is infectious and he is keen for others to understand the huge personal and professional benefits an apprenticeship can bring. He said: “I’m in my dream role, helping people every single day, and it’s all thanks to my apprenticeship. I would really encourage others to go for it and to not be held back by being nervous or worried. My apprenticeship has given me fantastic training, incredible support and newfound sense of confidence and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

 

An employer's story: Dental Practices


Kyle is just one example of an apprentice thriving in his apprenticeship. There are many employers in the sector recruiting apprentices to fill their skills gaps.

Michael and Margaret Naylor and Associates, who run Dinnington Dental Practice and the High Green Dental Practice in Sheffield , have a total workforce of 37 employees, nine of whom are apprentices. They began by offering an advanced apprenticeship in dental nursing, but have recently expanded their programme to include business administration and customer service apprenticeships.

Principal dentist Margaret Naylor said: “We find that taking on apprentices, who are prepared to work hard, alongside studying for a qualification, helps create a motivated and enthusiastic workforce. The recruitment of apprentices is integral to the policy of providing a first-class service to our patients.”

Research tells us that almost 9 out of every 10 apprenticeship employers say that apprentices deliver – including 75% reporting that apprentices have helped their business improve the quality of their product or service. We also know that the majority (92%) of apprentices in work feel that their apprenticeship has had a positive impact on their career.

 

Learn more:

Apprenticeships are real jobs for real people and there has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship. If you looking for a career in health and social care, ‘Find an apprenticeship’ by visiting www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship and if you are an employer looking to take on an apprentice – visit: www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice/overview