(PRWEB) February 23, 2008
The number of certificates issued for the successful completion of Apprenticeships in Health and Social Care has tripled in the last two years and increased six-fold since the start of the new millennium.
Around 500 Apprentices per month are being awarded completion certificates in England and Wales alone. Adult Apprenticeships are also on the increase, with over 70 being successfully completed during 2007.
Skills for Health - the Sector Skills Council for the NHS, independent and voluntary healthcare sectors - made the figures public following a statement from the Prime Minister, who told a conference in London that he wants to see "a new national effort and mobilisation to win the skills race" involving an increase in the number of Apprentices from 1 in 15 to 1 in 5.
Speaking on behalf of Skills for Health, Chief Executive, John Rogers said:
"Healthcare employers are already doing a great job in supporting Apprenticeships - opening up opportunities for young people as well as addressing workforce needs. But there is still more that can be done.
"If we want to continue to improve patient care and deliver high quality services we need to make sure we have the right people - with the right skills - in the right place - at the right time. Apprenticeships can help us to achieve this. There has never been a better time for action. The new legislation to raise the minimum age at which young people can leave education or training will encourage them to consider Apprenticeships as an option - giving employers access to an increased pool of untapped talent."
Yvonne Elbro, Assistant Director of Learning and Development at Sandwell and Birmingham NHS Trust is already reaping the benefits of the Trust's Apprenticeship Programmes. She said:
"I feel there are a number of benefits in supporting and developing Apprenticeship Programmes within the Trust. In addition to addressing skills gaps, benefits have shown increased staff retention; offered accelerated routes into nurse training; and demonstrated the ability to support succession planning and new and emerging roles, due to the speed in which scheme change can be effected."
Dawn Probert, Skills for Health Development Manager for Apprenticeships and Vocational Qualifications concluded:
"The workforce challenges our sector faces are ongoing and need to be tackled using a variety of approaches - including Apprenticeship Programmes, which are already proven as an effective means of increasing technical skills in the labour market.
"Within our sector, Apprenticeships are already available in Health and Social Care; Dental Nursing; Pharmacy Support and (currently on a temporary basis) in Health Support Services. We urge healthcare employers to get in touch with us to find out more about the benefits of Apprenticeships and discover for themselves how straightforward it can be to offer an Apprenticeship Programme."
For further information about health-related Apprenticeships visit http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk
About Skills for Health - http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk
Skills for Health (SfH) is the Sector Skills Council for UK health, funded by the four UK health departments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; the Sector Skills Development Agency; the education act regulatory bodies; and health sector employers and providers.
The 25 Sector Skills Councils which make up the Skills for Business Network are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in consultation with Ministers from the devolved administrations. Each one has a sector 'footprint' and central goals to address skills gaps and shortages; improve productivity and performance; increase opportunities to boost skills; and improve learning supply.
Skills for Health's sector footprint covers the entire National Health Service, and the whole of the independent and voluntary healthcare sectors across the UK - which collectively employ approximately 2 million people. The majority of occupations are linked to hospital activities and community health services, but the sector also includes general medical and dental practitioners and healthcare professionals working in nursing homes and private surgeries, and retail outlets such as pharmacists, opticians and self-employed practitioners.
The overarching remit of Skills for Health is to ultimately help improve health and healthcare by assisting the whole healthcare sector in developing solutions which deliver a skilled and flexible UK workforce.
Specific Skills for Health aims are to:
- profile the UK healthcare sector workforce
- develop and manage national workforce competences across the UK healthcare sector
- influence UK education and training supply to meet healthcare sector needs
- improve the workforce skills of the UK healthcare sector
- work with partners to achieve these aims.
Further information about Skills for Health and its work can be found at http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk
# # #