As a former GP who has worked in healthcare for 34 years, I – like most of us across this wonderful and important sector – am committed to help train and build a skilled workforce to meet the future demands of a growing population that is living longer.
And I am not just talking about making sure we have enough colleagues whose services we can call upon at Virgin Care – I mean across the entire health sector including the NHS.
For that reason, ensuring we at Virgin Care contribute and do our bit helping bring about a skilled and dedicated workforce across all health areas is so important.
After all, we work in partnership with the NHS and local authorities as well as other providers and we all want to make sure that this country provides the best possible care available now and into the future.
And that is why we are so committed to bringing on board apprentices – a tried and tested way to recruit, retrain and upskill our colleagues.
This will help make sure we can all tackle the skill shortages we face while also enabling us to tailor our workforces to the specific needs of our services.
We launched our Apprentice Programme in 2017 and, since then, we have grown to offer a number of varying schemes, all of which I am extremely proud of.
Take the Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, for example, which is helping aspiring nurses earn while they learn.
Virgin Care was one of the first healthcare providers in the country to offer this programme and I think it is more that appropriate – in 2020 which is the Year of the Nurse – that nurses are the foundation of excellent healthcare services.
In short, I’m honoured that we as a company are able to open up opportunities for so many people to attain their goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.
But it’s not just nurses that we seek to help – now more than ever it is an exciting time for apprenticeships at Virgin Care.
As a forward thinking employer who has signed the social mobility pledge and vowed to help those from all backgrounds start and build a great career, we have lots of opportunities within our organisation, from entry level programmes right through to senior degree apprenticeships.
In fact, we offer apprenticeships in areas such as healthcare support, business administration, supervisory roles, and even operational management positions. Quality is essential to apprenticeships and the vast majority of our programmes are delivered in-house by our training division, The Learning Enterprise (TLE). This ensures continuity and quality of delivery in all of our programmes. And when we work with an external provider it is because of the career specific expertise they can provide.
I’m very pleased to say our apprenticeships are open to everyone, regardless of age. That includes school leavers in their late teens, those leaving college and university and those in our workforce who may have quite a few more years behind them.
Some embark on apprenticeship programmes to support their personal and professional development, which enables them to take their career to the next level. Others have trained as an apprentice after making a career change following a number of years in a totally different sector.
For example, Eli Gunning, a former retail manager, took an apprenticeship and is now a degree qualified Healthcare Assistant Practioner working for us in Surrey. She will post a blog here detailing her journey later during this National Apprenticeship Week.
I truly believe recruiting apprentices is so important for the future of healthcare in Britain. If you are interested in taking an apprenticeship with us click here to find out more.
Jacqui is at gateway point now and preparing for the End Point Assessment of her Level 3 Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship. She said, “From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be”.
Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”
For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.
Lead Nurse Amanda Pulford gives us an insight to what it’s like working in a prison.