‘Fantastic partnership’ leading to development of NHS staff

Vicky Kearney, apprenticeship lead at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, recently commended the ‘fantastic partnership’ the Trust has with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). This relationship has grown through a series of successful Degree Apprenticeships undertaken by their staff.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust provides healthcare to 258,000 people across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire. They also employ over 3,000 members of staff

Vicky Kearney highlighted the importance of Degree Apprenticeships to the Trust, stating: ‘’We have a long-term commitment to staff development, apprenticeships are a key part of this. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy brought about new opportunities which we have embraced, as Degree Apprenticeships are a great way to upskill current staff and to attract new recruits to the organisation. It is clear to see that the appetite is there amongst our staff for these development opportunities.’’

Degree Apprenticeships have become a huge part of the Trust’s ongoing strategy, they currently have employees studying a wide range of courses including: Healthcare, Nursing Associate, Registered Nurse, Senior Leader and Operating Department Practitioner. Vicky reserved particular praise for the way UCLan supported the Trust with the recently added Registered Nurse course, saying: ‘’The partnership with UCLan has been fantastic, allowing us to implement a new apprenticeship (Registered Nurse) as smoothly as possible. The constant line of communication made the process of using a new apprenticeship very easy, overall, the support was amazing.’’

Vicky clarified why Southport and Ormskirk Trust initially chose to work with UCLan, commenting: ‘’The University has a great reputation in the North West for apprenticeships. They were also an early adopter and had a variety of courses to choose from, which was perfect for us.’’

Mike Wilson, who is currently a learner on the Operating Department Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship, spoke about his experience, adding: "The Trust has helped me to further my career, I do not believe I would have been able to, without the apprenticeship schemes. Vicky has been instrumental in offering advice, information and opportunities for many who may have not been given the chance to improve their skills in the workplace.

"The communication and support I have received from the University and the Trust, who work side by side, has been fantastic. The support of my colleagues to help teach me new skills, alongside the knowledge of my tutors has made the apprenticeships enjoyable. The work in University can be challenging, but tutors are available outside of working hours to offer advice and support.

"I recommend an apprenticeship at UCLan, as the facilities are incredible and the teamwork between the Trust and the University is fantastic.’’

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