Categories: The Latest in Care

Why providers need to be ready to deliver the Health Apprenticeships

We welcome this guest post from Sally Garbett, Vocational Programmes Manager at St Christopher’s Hospice. This article first appeared in FE week in June 2017.

Increasing Demand

In July 2013 the Government commissioned The Cavendish Review** which identified significant weaknesses in the induction training for 1.3 million health care workers delivering the bulk of hands on care. As a result, The Care Certificate was introduced and now forms a crucial first stage of the Trailblazer Health Apprenticeships .

The demand for these Apprenticeships is set to increase with 23% of all new jobs by 2022, that’s almost 320,000 expected to be in Health or Adult care. So are providers ready to meet this demand?

New Health Standards

The new Health Standards have been available for implementation since Feb 2017 and although the funding allocations to colleges and providers were lower than expected, money started thumping into levy accounts in May, so why are several of the colleges I have spoken with lately not going to be ready to deliver these Health Apprenticeships until September? In addition to that the Health Apprenticeship Standards are central to the new Health Education England career pathway from Health Care Assistant to Registered Nurse* and will include new Nursing Associate and Registered Nurse Apprenticeships by September 2017. The Health Care Apprenticeships at Level 2, 3 and 5 are part of this career pathway and the development of the future Health Care workforce depends in part on their availability. The Apprenticeship must be delivered in the way we need, not the way the college or provider prefers. This requires a partnership with us, with the employer delivering some of the teaching and assessment and being paid for that as a subcontractor

In recent weeks in my work across England I have spoken with a provider who advised that the level 3 senior health care support worker apprenticeship took 15 months – the standard suggests 18 to 24; a college that suggested part-time apprenticeships were not allowed; another who insisted the employer could not choose the qualification they wanted in the level 2 health care support worker standard (which they can, as none is specified.) One provider made no mention of The Care Certificate, a key component of all the Health Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships as Partnerships

As the vocational programmes manager for St Christopher’s Hospice, a levy-paying employer-provider, Apprenticeship delivery partnerships are of paramount importance. The primary function of St Christopher’s Hospice is of course to provide skilled, compassionate end-of-life care but we, like many other hospices also deliver education and as charitable organisations we have a heightened responsibility to use our levy wisely ; to do that we need providers that are able to work with us.

We need providers who can deliver what we need in the way we need it. We need providers who are flexible and able to work with us to develop meaningful delivery models that include off and near-the-job learning. We need quality approaches that cover the entire apprenticeship standard, not just the qualification within it, so that those who achieve it can carry out the job role it was developed to support.

St Christopher’s has an established relationship with our local college; we co-deliver apprenticeships. Our clinical staff are “dual professionals” – health care professionals with teaching and assessment qualifications, so there is no problem with due diligence or contractual arrangements. The partnership is not without challenge but we work together to resolve problems. If our college can do this, so can many more.

Let’s use this column to start a dialogue to open channels of communication and work better together. Our future nursing workforce may depend on it.

Sally welcomes your comments and can be reached at

Click here to search for quality apprenticeship providers and courses

About Sally Garbett

Sally Garbett is the Vocational Programmes Manager at St Christopher’s Hospice in London. She has over twenty five years’ experience in vocational education, including qualification development, regulatory activities and FE/provider training and consultancy. Sally is an active member of the Health and Nursing Associate Trailblazers and also leads a National Hospice Education Collaborative (NHEC) with over 260 members.

*Raising the bar: Shape of Caring: Health Education England’s response. HEE 2016

** The Cavendish Review: An Independent Review into Healthcare Assistants and Support Workers in the NHS and social care settings. July 2013

*** City and Guilds Great Expectations. October 2014

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