HAMPSHIRE Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust takes its apprenticeship programme seriously as it is passionate about developing its existing staff and allowing new recruits to flourish.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of the Trust, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, 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.”

Healthcare assistants who wish to do so can work towards becoming registered nurses through a range of apprenticeship schemes, while opportunities also exist in a host of other clinical areas, including pharmacy, healthcare science and laboratories.

However, hospitals also offer a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities in non-clinical areas, including engineering, finance, hospitality, IT and management.

“People often see the word apprentice or apprenticeship and immediately think that they only apply to teenagers coming into an industry at entry level – but at Hampshire Hospitals it’s about so much more than that,” said Jude Davison, head of education and workforce development at the trust. “We have people working towards a huge range of qualifications with us, including several studying for degrees. The possibilities are almost endless.”

Apprenticeships available at Hampshire Hospitals range from Level 2, which is equivalent to GCSEs, to Level 7 or degree level. They can take anywhere from one to four years to complete, depending on the level and include 20 per cent off the job training, which can include shadowing, study time, research and mentoring.

All apprentices have a named apprentice mentor, a member of staff working at least at the level of the post the apprentice is training for, in the same or similar occupational area. It is their role to provide support and guidance to the apprentice as part of their on the job training.

Jude added: “Apprenticeships are great for our staff because they give them the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications while still earning a salary and receiving all of the benefits that come with being an NHS employee, including access to the pension scheme. At the same time, they also gain new practical skills, technical knowledge, get fantastic workplace experience and the chance to develop their careers.

“For the trust, it’s fantastic as well. We call apprenticeships our Grow programme, because everyone gets the chance to grow.

“Individuals get the opportunity to grow themselves, their skills, their experience and their opportunities through learning. Managers get the opportunity to grow their teams, taking new and existing members of staff and helping them to progress and take on more senior roles. Both of these things together help the whole trust, allowing it to grow its workforce.”

For more information about apprenticeships at Hampshire Hospitals, email karen.bishop@hhft.nhs.uk or visit www.hampshirehospitals.nhs.uk/apprenticeships, where you can watch a short film and find out more about the Trust’s Grow programme.