Supporting the Health & Social Care Sector through apprenticeships

By Sherry House


The Health and Social Care sector is diverse and home to a wide range of roles, where staff need a vast number of skills. The sector constantly evolves and reacts to challenges, making it crucial for organisations to adapt and reflect changes through their workforce. Apprenticeships offer ideal opportunities for addressing skills gaps, planning for the future, and ensuring staff can meet sector demands.


The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the value of clinical and social healthcare to society, yet the long-standing issues of recruitment and retention in the sector remain prominent; as of 2021/22, there are over 165,000 vacancies in the sector – an increase of 53% since 2020/21. These factors, coupled with an ageing population, means internal succession planning has never been more essential. Succession planning protects organisations for the foreseeable future through increased staff morale and addressing skills gaps, particularly when supported by apprenticeships.


There are numerous benefits to employers for supporting staff through apprenticeships or recruiting a new apprentice, including:

  • Improved staff morale and retention
  • Improved service quality
  • Bringing new ideas to the organisation
  • Securing the best new talent – either through retaining staff or new hires


Employers also play a vital role in supporting apprentices to achieve their qualifications; it is through their input that apprenticeships reflect good practice, service provision trends, and prepare learners for sector changes. For example, Hart Learning & Development has introduced a ‘Care of the Elderly’ module into programmes, following input from employers to respond to increasing numbers of older members of the population accessing healthcare over the next 10 years.


As a national apprenticeship provider, the Hart Learning & Development team take pride in supporting staff to develop and expand their sector-specific skills via apprenticeships and bespoke programmes. We work closely with organisations from the health and social care sector, such as Quantum Care, Hertfordshire County Council, Sue Ryder, and Ramsay Healthcare to refine our programmes and reflect changes.


We encourage evidence-based practice through learning conferences, e-learning, 1-2-1 support, and employer-shadowing opportunities. As part of our commitment to developing necessary skills, Hart Learning & Development have invested in the construction of a mock ward and independent living flat at the North Hertfordshire College Stevenage campus, helping apprentices refine their practical skills before working with real patients.


Programmes are also tailored to meet each individuals’ needs. As part of our apprenticeship onboarding process, learners undertake skills scans to assess existing knowledge and experience, Cognassist neurodiversity assessments, and maths and English assessments to identify any learning support needs. These assessments help us identify the correct level and starting point for learners based on their current role, prior knowledge, and career aspirations – one size does not fit all.


By offering apprenticeships from Level 2 to Level 5, apprentices with Hart Learning & Development can progress through programmes and build on their knowledge, skills, and behaviours from their starting point.


It’s not only employers who notice the benefits of apprenticeships, either. Reflecting on their experience, one of our Level 4 learners commented: “Throughout the course, I feel my overall knowledge and confidence has gone from strength to strength. I have improved my knowledge about policy and procedure, different acts, supervision skills, reflective practice, and leading an effective team… I’ve gained the confidence to apply for senior positions – something I don’t think I would have applied for if I hadn’t joined the course.”


By using apprenticeships to invest in the workforce of the future, employers benefit from a skilled and motivated workforce who apply evidence-based practice to improve service provision. For more information about how health and social care training opportunities, please visit www.hartld.co.uk/healthcare

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