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October monthly focus: Apprenticeships

Training for staff in bands 1 to 4 is very important to the Trust. The vocational skills centre (VSC) focuses on training and development for this staff group, with a large proportion of our work centred on apprenticeships.

An apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme which means most of the learning is done while you are at work. There are also some study days when you are taught in a group, and you have some work you must complete in your own time. Depending on your previous experience and qualifications, and your job role, you might do an intermediate or an advanced apprenticeship. An intermediate apprenticeship takes about 12 months to complete, and an advanced apprenticeship takes about 18 months to complete. Completion of the intermediate programme will often lead to the advanced programme, and then if appropriate a foundation degree.

We currently have established programmes in healthcare support, pharmacy service skills, business administration, customer service and contact centre operations. We are now looking to extend our range of programmes to encompass staff who work in non-clinical support services. Many of our awards are delivered and assessed by the vocational skills centre staff and workplace assessors. We also work closely with local colleges for our other awards. 

On Monday, 10 September we held our annual awards evening. We presented about 25 apprenticeship certificates to staff who have completed their studies this year. We are expecting this number to increase during the following year as we broaden our range of programmes.

If you are interested in studying for an apprenticeship, you need to discuss this with your line manager and it should be identified as development for you at your appraisal. You need to have the support of your line manager and work area. Your line manger should contact your divisional education lead to include this training need on the training needs analysis. If your training has been included on the training needs analysis you will be contacted by the vocational skills centre with a start date for the program. If not, please contact us.

Further information about our apprenticeship programmes can be found on staffnet (link can only be accessed from within the Trust).

If you would like any further information from a potential student or management perspective, please call us on 023 8120 6989 or email

To find out more about apprenticeships in general visit

Posted on Tuesday 2 October 2012