Apprenticeships for Young People in Nottinghamshire


11 / 04 / 2013

The organisations

  • Nottingham CityCare Partnerships CIC
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust

LETB region

  • East Midlands

What we did and why

Analysis of workforce plans and other demographic data revealed an ageing workforce, coupled with an under-representation of young people employed across Nottinghamshire healthcare organisations. Apprenticeships were considered a worthy initiative for exploration and as a result trusts worked in partnership with various organisations to develop a plan to implement recruitment of young people to apprenticeship programmes across Nottinghamshire.

How we did it

Working closely with training providers, a Local Health Community (LHC) approach was developed across the above organisations, supported by the Nottinghamshire Workforce Team, which is part of Health Education East Midlands (East Midlands Local Education and Training Board). Regular meetings were held to maintain a coordinated approach and ensure equity of terms and conditions across all trusts in Nottinghamshire. These meetings were also useful for sharing best practice and bringing resolution to issues.

Apprentices were selected and inducted using a centralised process which challenged traditional recruitment methods. The education providers, schools, colleges and more recently, the National Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service (NAVMS) all promoted the apprenticeship opportunities to increase exposure to young people in the local community. Minimum qualifications for selection were detailed in the job description and person specification, purely as an aspiration, but no applicants were rejected on the basis of this criteria. Instead a numeracy and literacy test was undertaken as part of the selection process, as it was acknowledged that young people’s qualifications often don’t reflect their abilities in these areas. 

Applicants were screened by the education provider and those deemed not sufficiently competent to be recruited to an apprenticeship vacancy were frequently offered entry onto a pre-apprenticeship programme. These programmes offered training and skills enhancement and also incorporated a work trial to enable individuals to gain the attributes required to apply for future apprenticeship vacancies.

A different approach to interviewing was also adopted, as typically the young applicants had no previous employment history, or experience or knowledge of the NHS. Interviews were tailored for each applicant and conducted in a friendly, less formal way to engage them in two-way communication to find out what motivated them to pursue a career within the NHS.


Nottinghamshire healthcare organisations value and support their apprentices in a number of ways, which include:

  • Providing yearly appraisals and development of the Knowledge and Skills Framework, which is mapped to their Qualifications and Credit Framework
  • Bespoke education packages provide apprentices with peer support and the necessary training and skills to successfully apply for future positions within the NHS. This year the Nottinghamshire Workforce Team has commissioned bespoke training which includes “Understanding Work Culture”, “Time Management and Prioritisation”, “NHS Jobs, applying and interview techniques” and “Roles and Responsibilities of Committee Members and Holding Office”.
  • Leads in each organisation mentor the apprentices, support those managing apprentices and organise regular network meetings within the organisation. A great deal of pastoral support is offered jointly between the organisation Lead and the Nottinghamshire Workforce Team.

Current Picture

There are currently 60 apprentices employed across Nottinghamshire:

  • 41 in Business Administration 
  • 14 in Adult or Children's Health and Social Care
  • 5 in IT.

Internal networks are active in promoting apprenticeships and the benefits to organisations of fostering the next generation of NHS workers. As a result new positions become available on a regular basis.

All apprentices have the opportunity to stand for a position on the Nottinghamshire Apprentice Forum Committee, which allows them to speak at meetings and gives them a democratic voice for determining the future of apprenticeship programmes across Nottinghamshire. Training is given for official positions (i.e. Chair and Secretary) and gaining a committee position is combined with becoming a trust Apprentice Lead, which requires the apprentice to act as a contact for their peers and feed back issues to the committee for resolution.

Results and next steps

Evaluation is critical to ensuring that apprenticeships continue to be a valuable and integral part of the workforce. An evaluation of clinical apprenticeships in 2011/12 asked both apprentices and their line managers to comment on progress and benefits to the teams across the organisation. The results were generally very positive and recommendations have been fed back to individual organisations for them to incorporate into their apprenticeship programmes. The Nottinghamshire Workforce Team has also changed the support it offers to apprentices via the bespoke education and training provided.

Recommendations from the evaluation include:

  • Workforce planning must identify further service areas that are appropriate for the recruitment of clinical apprentices.
  • The need for a robust job description and person specification detailing core responsibilities, with additional ‘bolt-ons’ for specific service areas.
  • The application process to require applicants to demonstrate a commitment to working in healthcare and a professional, caring and compassionate attitude.
  • An induction process agreed between the organisation and the education provider to avoid duplication in delivery.
  • The correct level of apprenticeship to be offered in service areas enabling satisfaction of employment requirements.

Contact details

For further information please contact Jo Beckwith, Widening Participation Manager or Michelle Place, Widening Participation Project Lead on 01623 848888. 

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