Chainbridge Medical Practice

Key Relationships for Successful Apprenticeships

Across the UK apprenticeships are increasingly being recognised as an effective entry point into the workplace; particularly the health and social care sector. One apprenticeship success story in Tyne and Wear demonstrates the benefits of an effective, tri-party working relationship between employer, trainer, and the apprentices themselves.

The Challenge

Although apprenticeships offer an invaluable entry point into the NHS and social care settings, without clear lines of communication between employers and trainers, many placements often run the risk of becoming wasted opportunities.

Apprentices in one leading medical practice have benefited from a strong partnership enabling them to develop important skills such as customer service and how to deal with difficult patients. Since 2013 Key Training Limited, holder of the Skills for Health Quality Mark, and Chainbridge Medical Partnership have provided eight young people with apprenticeship opportunities in Business Administration.

How they achieved this

Several factors have led to a successful track record between the employer and training provider in running apprenticeships: clear understanding of roles and expectations; regular communication between all parties; a committed team approach; and high quality training experience assured by the Quality Mark from Skills for Health.

Debbie Calder, Chainbridge’s Practice Manager and a former apprentice herself, understands from personal experience the advantage a work based learning route offers:

“Had I not been given that apprenticeship opportunity when I was 16 years of age, I wouldn’t be in the job I have now. I always knew that if I got to this management level, I would want other young people to have the same opportunity.”

On a regular basis, employer, trainer, and apprentice sit down and discuss how things are progressing for each individual learner. Partnership working is key, as Debbie continues:

“It’s absolutely essential that we all work together, all get on, and all have a common goal.”

Katie Cooper, one of the current apprentices, illustrates why the scheme has been such a success:

“Even though I had zero experience when I started at the practice straight from sixth form, I was provided with the support and time out of work to complete my NVQ, and support in work. Debbie and Joanne work really closely together to offer me the best support.”

Joanne Allison, Training Consultant from Key Training, has been impressed with the practice’s mentors, “ensuring apprentices are given enough time each week to work on their Apprenticeship qualification. Having an employer who fully engages with the apprentices and their training is essential.”

The Quality Mark, which Key Training holds, has also been an important factor. The mark signals that employers are working with an organisation that has met a recognised high quality standard for health specific training.

The outcomes

  • 7 trainees have completed Apprenticeships at level 2 and 3, and gone into full time work in the practice or other parts of the NHS
  • New recruits developed and mentored, going on to become part of a motivated and effective workforce and improving quality of care for patients
  • Apprentices supported to build portfolio of skills and experiences, and explore and identify how they want to move their career forward
  • Practice staff benefit from mentoring the apprentices, and find it rewarding to pass on their knowledge and experience
  • All apprentices benefit from superior training, endorsed by Skills for Health Quality Mark.

Lessons and highlights

The partners agree it’s been an important lesson to appreciate that all apprentices are different and recognise that individual’s needs and the best way to accommodate these for a successful apprenticeship.

Debbie says: “Working alongside Key Training to develop apprentices is very rewarding and we all learn something new with every apprentice we take on. A highlight is that our apprentice Katie said “I love working here”. I want them to be happy, because to be happy at your job is just fantastic and that is what we want to achieve.”