Comment

06.02.19

Mastering the maze of apprenticeships in the NHS

Source: NHE Jan/Feb 2019

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, navigates the “maze of bureaucracy” that is apprenticeships in the NHS.

Apprenticeships are a growing option for people to earn while they learn – an attractive prospect for many – and, as the NHS Long-Term Plan recognises, a vital entry route to a career in healthcare. 

However, the NHS is frustratingly being forced to work within the government’s inflexible apprenticeship policies. Employers are not finding it easy – and they aren’t the only ones who think that.

But with NHS apprenticeships – as it does with everything else – the health service is pulling together, finding solutions, and using the proverbial lemons to make lemonade.

“A maze of bureaucracy” is how the Education Select Committee inquiry into nursing apprenticeships describes the labyrinthine systems, processes, and rules that the NHS must navigate to make the best use of the significant apprenticeship levy we pay

Despite this, the NHS has delivered results: the health service supported 15,845 people last year to gain a qualification and a future of potential employment through an apprenticeship. It has also developed 29 new apprenticeship standards since the introduction of the levy in 2017, and it is taking all the steps it can to keep the £200m levy pot within the health and care sectors.

The NHS sees the increasing range of apprenticeship standards available as a golden opportunity to help grow our own talent and develop a workforce from our local communities. Additionally, the fact that apprenticeships are now available at levels two (equivalent to GCSEs) to seven (master’s level qualifications) shows the broad range of opportunities available to our service.

Yet many sectors are facing difficulty in utilising the apprenticeship levy, and many sectors have set out their own ‘special cases’ for flexibility. But, as the Education Select Committee explained, “the NHS is an organisation unlike any other provider of apprenticeships.” Therefore, there is a specific case for flexibility for our service.

Employers need three things from the government to help us make full use of the levy and find a way out of the maze:

  1. Use of the levy to fund employer costs for apprenticeships which require more than 20% ‘off the job’ training, such as for regulated professions where more supernumerary time is needed;
  2. Use of the levy to support trusts to build their training and development infrastructure so that the apprentices in our organisations get the support and help they need;
  3. An extension of the timeframe in which the levy is available to employers. In the NHS, we’ve developed dozens of new standards, but this has taken time – and this is time where we have not been able to use the levy on these standards. An extension to the timescale of the funds being available from 24 months to 48 months would make all the difference.

The NHS would welcome the opportunity to build on the excellent progress it has made if the flexibilities employers are asking for could be agreed.

Providing this support would enable the NHS to increase the number and quality of apprenticeships, thus helping the government to meet their quality and quantity targets around apprenticeships and make the most of this investment.

Ultimately, the NHS is working towards managing the ongoing difficulties in supply and is focused on taking all steps to improve and sustain excellent patient care.

Apprenticeships are part of this puzzle – if we can only be rescued from the maze.

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Hancock vows to ban gagging orders for NHS whistleblowers

24/04/2019Hancock vows to ban gagging orders for NHS whistleblowers

Health secretary Matt Hancock has vowed to banish the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the NHS. Hancock has said he will ban the g... more >
Private mental health group The Priory fined £300,000 over death of 14-year-old girl

17/04/2019Private mental health group The Priory fined £300,000 over death of 14-year-old girl

Private mental health group The Priory healthcare group has been fined £300,000 for breaching health and safety laws following the death of... more >
Routine breech scans could lower mother and baby mortality rates and save NHS money, researchers say

17/04/2019Routine breech scans could lower mother and baby mortality rates and save NHS money, researchers say

Scanning mothers-to-be late in their pregnancy could prevent 15,000 unexpected breech births, 4,000 emergency C-sections, and the deaths of up to... more >

681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Our Health Heroes

16/04/2019Our Health Heroes

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses the upcoming Our Health Heroes Awards. There are many metaphors to describe staff working in healthcare. Junior doctors have been described as the ‘backbone’ of the NHS, nurses are often referred to as ‘angels’, general practitioners as the ‘bedrock’ of t... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus