All you need to know
National Apprenticeship Week 2017 sees the launch of three new trailblazer apprenticeship standards for Healthcare Support Workers, Senior Healthcare Support Workers and Assistant Practitioners. Employers, facilitated by Skills for Health and Health Education England, have worked tirelessly over two years to develop these new standards and their associated assessment plans, downloadable here.
Led by employers
Trailblazer apprenticeships are employer-led. Employers design and agree the content, commission provision and negotiate with local training providers to ensure that delivery meets their needs. The end-result will be apprentices that are competent and job ready; able to apply for permanent roles in the healthcare support workforce.
Aligned between health and care
The new standards align to the Care Certificate and the Code of Conduct for healthcare support workers and adult social care workers. They build on these essential skills and behaviours, which further helps to build transferability and common understanding of what it means to belong to the support workforce in health and care.
The Healthcare Support Worker Standard is at apprenticeship level 2. It is applicable to a wide range of client/patient-facing roles. The apprenticeship is work based and lasts 12 months. At least 20% of learning (equivalent to one day a week) takes place off-the-job and, if not already achieved, apprentices must obtain level 1 maths and English, and be working towards level 2. For the on-programme learning, employers can choose to use the Level 2 diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support or develop their own in-house programmes to train their apprentices. The apprenticeship closes with an externally led End Point Assessment that includes the following components: a multiple choice test, an observation of practice, an evidence portfolio and an interview.
The Senior Healthcare Support Worker Standard is at apprenticeship level 3. It contains a range of role-specific options, four of which have been approved: adult nursing support, mental health support, theatre support, maternity support. A further two are currently awaiting government sign-off: children and young people support and allied health profession therapy support. The apprenticeship is work based and lasts between 18 months and 2 years. At least 20% of learning (equivalent to one day a week) takes place off-the-job and, if not already achieved, apprentices must obtain level 2 maths and English. For the on-programme learning, apprentices complete the specific level 3 qualification listed within the option they are following. Once achieved, their employer can put them forward for End Point Assessment. End Point Assessment includes the following components: a multiple choice and short answer test, an observation of practice, a learning journal and an interview.
The Assistant Practitioner (health) standard is at apprenticeship level 5. It is applicable to a wide-range of assistant practitioner roles. The apprenticeship is work-based and lasts between 18 months to 2 years. At least 20% of learning (equivalent to one day a week) takes place off-the-job and, if not already achieved, apprentices must obtain level 2 maths and English. For the on-programme learning, apprentices complete an accredited level 5 occupational competence qualification such as a Foundation Degree, other Level 5 Diploma of Higher Education or the Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare. Universities are able to self-declare that their foundation degrees meet the requirements of the standard and employers are encouraged to ask to see the mapping when commissioning places for their apprentices. End Point Assessment includes the following components: a multiple choice and short answer test, an observation of practice, a reflective journal and an interview in the form of a professional discussion.
The NHS is now a major contributor to the levy and employers are being encouraged to train an increasing number of apprentices.
A funding band is allocated to each standard by the Skills Funding Agency as follows:
- Healthcare Support Worker funding band 4
- Senior Healthcare Support Worker funding band 4
- Assistant Practitioner funding band 10
Find out more about funding and the levy here.
As employers, you can start apprentices on the new standards as soon as you want to. This is entirely a local decision. However, you should check a couple of things:
- Look at the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations. Are organisations available who can provide the End Point Assessment for the standard your apprentice is going to do? This is important as you want to be sure that your apprentice will be able to finish the apprenticeship successfully so that they achieve their certificate and you can access any funding linked to completion data.
- Training providers need to register with the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. This opens four times a year and will be open during March 2017. Speak to the organisations or departments that are going to be offering the on-programme training for the standard your apprentice is going to do and make sure they have completed the necessary application process.
A range of other apprenticeship standards are available or in development for use in the health sector. This page has details.
Employers involved in the trailblazer steering group are running a series of events locally to raise awareness about the new healthcare apprenticeship standards. You can download a poster and flyer to print and distribute locally here.