Wales based training provider Educ8, are the first in Wales to launch the new Level 4 Health Care Science Associate Apprenticeship qualification, working in partnership with NHS Wales Health Boards.
Leading private training provider Educ8 are supporting the National Health Service (NHS) to address skill shortages and develop key skills within the health sector, where capacity is directly related to the number of skilled staff.
A year that has seen unprecedented demand on the NHS, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also seen rising levels of appreciation for health care workers and front-line services. In January this year, the Health Foundation reported that there had been a substantial increase in the number of people wanting to work for the NHS.
In recent months it has been highlighted that apprentices working for the NHS have been of significant help during the most challenging times of the Coronavirus pandemic, with Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, acknowledging that there is a need to ensure the next generation of NHS workers are skilled, adaptable and work-ready in order to support our economic recovery.
Liz Hargest, Education Development Manager with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) said: “This Framework is an exciting development that will be part of a suite of resources available to support the development of staff and build on the high-quality services already delivered. Offering transferable knowledge and skills in over 50 disciplines, the accredited scheme will not only upskill individuals but will provide a sustainable solution that will benefit everyone.”
The apprenticeship programme is a hybrid process enabling NHS staff to learn while they work, with much of the course being processed online. A significant advantage of the programme being delivered in this format is the benefit of being able to ‘earn while you learn’ while also being able to remain in the areas that they live, through working with their local health boards.
Sarah Kent, a RTT Co-Ordinator in the ECG Department for the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, shared her experience of the qualification: “I have worked in the Cardio-Respiratory department for a long time and always found my interests and heart belong here. Having this qualification will mean that I can achieve my dream and develop my skills and knowledge in the cardiac diagnostic testing and be able to assist my colleagues in a more competent manner. This means the department will benefit from more experienced members of staff relieving them of a very heavy workload thus using my transferrable to the best of my ability.”
The Level 4 qualification will support learners into assistant audiology, blood science and clinical engineering roles to name but a few, with learners being able to enrol from NHS organisations right across Wales. While the programme is running across the whole of Wales, the project has been led by Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTM UHB).
Rhian Lewis, Assistant Learning & Development Manager at CTM UHB said: “It is great to see recognition for the staff who are already working hard and developing their skills. The qualification will create further development opportunities and make them available to staff where they live, in their local area and through their local Health Board. This is a hugely exciting development. ”
Educ8 are the first training provider in Wales to deliver the innovative Level 4 Apprenticeship Framework, combining the vocational learning expertise at Educ8 with subject experts in the health service.
Speaking on the launch of the qualification, Ann Nicholas, Customer Account Director at Educ8 added: “We are delighted to be the first provider to bring this much needed Apprenticeship Programme to Wales. We are committed to supporting the Welsh Government’s aim of increasing the number of apprentices employed in Wales and preventing a future skills shortage in the NHS. This year has been challenging for us all, but not least our incredible healthcare and frontline workers.”
Applying for the qualification starts with registering online, with more information available on the Educ8 website.