Newcastle launches joint health and social care apprenticeship

Job seekers looking to start a career in caring professions can now benefit from an innovative new apprenticeship in Newcastle.

Collaborative Newcastle partners, Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle City Council launched an innovative, joint apprenticeship in the city earlier this year – thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

The integrated Health and Social Care support worker apprenticeship is aimed at those looking to for a career in the caring profession.

Developed through Collaborative Newcastle, an ambitious partnership which aims to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of everyone in the city, the apprenticeship involves structured education and training to gain the required knowledge, skills and behaviours to work in the sector.

The training takes 18 months to complete, and includes opportunities for hands on work experience which is split between hospital and social care settings.

Dee Fawcett, Director of HR at Newcastle Hospitals said: “We were delighted to welcome our first cohort of apprentices onto the integrated health and social care support worker apprenticeship. Our apprentices are able to experience working in both organisations enabling them to understand the patient journey between health and social care.

“This collaborative approach is very much aimed at creating good quality training and employment opportunities within two of the city’s major employers, benefitting both our apprentices and the patients and clients we care for.”

Ang Jamson, Assistant Director of Integrated Services for Newcastle City Council said: “I am thrilled that we are able to offer these innovative apprenticeships which not only give great opportunities for people to start their careers in health and social care, but also put us at the forefront of making health and social care an exciting and accessible option for people in our city.”

The first eight apprentices started their training in April 2021.

Lauren Bird is currently working on Ward 18 at the Freeman Hospital in her first programme placement. She said: “I applied for the apprenticeship programme as I worked in a GP surgery doing admin and wanted to be more involved in face to face patient care.

“The most interesting part of this programme is I get the opportunity to see both sides – I’m not just based in the hospital so get to see the whole patient journey.”

On how she’s found the programme so far, Lauren said: “It’s been great so far – it’s tough with long days but there have been some really good days and you know you’re really making a difference. I’ve loved my time at the Freeman but I’m looking forward to seeing the other side in practice too.”

Laura Shipley who has spent time working in reablement within adult social care said “I have loved the insight that reablement provides… it has been incredibly eye-opening and makes me feel even more enthusiastic about care and it really emphasises the importance of my role to help and support others to become as independent as possible”.

Although the cohort is split between Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle City Council, it is very much a joint programme and the group are brought together to meet and share experiences at the halfway point in their training.

All those who successfully complete the apprenticeship will be guaranteed an interview for a post with either Newcastle City Council or Newcastle Hospitals.

This integrated approach to developing the future generation of health and social care professionals has been developed as part of Collaborative Newcastle’s commitment to working more closely together, aiming to create more cohesive, accessible and innovative health and social care solutions to support and enable local residents and communities.

Collaborative Newcastle partners include Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Gateshead NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University and Northumbria University – working closely with Newcastle GP Services, the GP Federation for Newcastle, Primary Care Networks and the voluntary sector.

Unique in scope and scale, Collaborative Newcastle brings together these organisations to combine efforts, expertise and resources to achieve its aim of reducing inequalities and providing better opportunities for people who live in the city.

Collaborative Newcastle recently also developed its own Joint System Leadership Programme for staff across all health and care organisations in Newcastle, helping to build stronger working relationships, embed closer cooperation and collaboration, and develop the city’s future health and care leaders.

Following its launch in 2019, more than 125 graduates will have completed the course by the end of this year representing a diverse mix of organisations, roles and responsibilities, including: GPs, pharmacists, finance directors, clinicians and health and care managers.

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