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Number of healthcare apprenticeships have tripled in the last two year

The number of certificates issued for the 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, say Skills for Health, the sector skills council for the healthcare sector and the NHS.

New figures show that around 500 apprentices per month are being awarded completion certificates in England and Wales alone.

The prime minister recently told a conference in London 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.

"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," said Skills for Health's Chief Executive, John Rogers.

"There has never been a better time for action," he said. "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, said: "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, said: "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."

Skills for Health

Have you benefited from an apprenticeship programme in Health and Social Care? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I am currently doing a health and social level 3 course, but I don't want to go to college anymore and do an apprenticeship or training." - Mub Z, Sparkhill

"I haven't benefited from an apprenticeship in health and social care but would like to get one." - Jennifer Matthews, Hartlepool