GROW your skills, grow your knowledge, grow your opportunities and grow yourself by embarking on an apprenticeship – that’s the message from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust this National Apprenticeship Week.
Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, is passionate about developing its existing staff and allowing new recruits to flourish, which is why apprenticeships are taken seriously.
Alex Whitfield, chief executive, said: “We are big believers in lifelong learning, which is one of the reasons why apprenticeships are really important to us.
“They provide us with a fantastic opportunity to unlock the amazing potential in new and existing members of our staff. It doesn’t matter if you are 16 or 60, have just started working with us or have been with us for 30 years, we are committed to helping you progress your career in the way you want to – and apprenticeships play a big part in helping us to do that.”
Hampshire Hospitals has supported healthcare support workers looking to increase their skills and train as nurses for several years through a partnership with the Open University. This system has now been formalised into an apprenticeship programme – and George Grinham is one of the very first people to embark on the journey.
“I’ve also always enjoyed helping people, but going down the traditional route of studying a nursing degree at university just didn’t appeal to me,” George said. “I really enjoy working and learning on the job and would rather do that than study full time, so the apprenticeship programme is perfect for me.
“I’m excited about all of the things I’m going to learn, see and experience during the apprenticeship and come the end of the programme, I’ll be a registered nurse. That is a real thrill for me and something I’m very much looking forward to.”
Apprenticeship opportunities also exist in a host of other clinical areas, including pharmacy, healthcare science and laboratories. However, what people don’t always realise is that hospitals also offer a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities in non-clinical areas, including engineering, finance, hospitality, IT and management.
When Roman Bzdon was considering where he wanted to work, he was looking for an organisation that would help him to move forward in his career. The apprenticeship programme run by Hampshire Hospitals’ catering department appealed to him and he is now studying to become a chef.
“I really feel like I am gaining a qualification that will open doors for me in the future and I am looking forward to progressing even more within the Trust,” he said. “I am enjoying learning new skills and techniques, while going to college is great because everyone in the class gets to share their experiences from working in different environments.”
Apprenticeships at Hampshire Hospitals are open to everyone, no matter what level of education they have reached in the past. Courses available range from Level 2, which is equivalent to GCSEs, to Level 6 (degree) or Level 7 (masters).