CLCH backs apprentices to build careers in community healthcare

Published: 5th February 2024

In 2018 apprenticeships were introduced at Central London Community Healthcare Trust and since then it has delivered more than 250, helping many people to start and develop their careers in community healthcare.

While apprentices follow a similar pattern of study to university students, they spend most of their time in the department in which they work. CLCH runs apprenticeships in nursing, allied health professions (AHPs) and non-clinical roles. The programme offers the apprentice the opportunity to ‘earn as they learn’.

CLCH is supporting the expansion of opportunities and alternative routes into healthcare as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce plan, increasing the number of registered nurses and Allied Health Professionals qualifying through apprenticeship routes. Following the start of the Registered Nursing Degree Apprenticeship at CLCH in 2021, 18 nurses have now completed, taking up registered nurse roles at CLCH.

The programme has attracted interest from existing staff, school leavers and external candidates who longed for a career change. Apprentices can develop their careers and attain qualifications at a number of different levels ranging from Level 2 (GCSE and Functional Skills Level 2) to Level 7 (master’s or post graduate level).

Rebecca Rogers, Occupational Therapy Apprentice enrolled on an apprenticeship to become a qualified occupational therapist after admiring the profession when she worked as a mental health support worker in the NHS. Rebecca had graduated from university with a psychology degree in 2013 so she viewed the apprenticeship as the best route to qualify into her dream job without having to take another student loan.

Rebecca said:

“Being paid while learning attracted me to the role initially but there are so many more benefits to training via an apprenticeship.

“As we were exposed to the working environment in between study I could bring what I had learnt straight into the working environment and see the impact on the patients I was looking after.”

Community Staff Nurse, Vanessa Czirkovits, ran a travel agency before moving to healthcare, where she initially worked in a care home team leader. She dreamt of becoming a qualified nurse so when she saw the Apprentice Nursing Associate (ANA) opportunity at CLCH advertised online she saw this as the start of her journey to become one. After completing her ANA course, she took a further apprenticeship to qualify as a registered nurse. She has worked at CLCH for five years now and hasn’t looked back.

Vanessa said:

“What I loved about my apprenticeship was being thrown into the deep end very early on and being able to develop clinical skills quickly.

“The apprenticeship is hands on and we are working four out of five days a week.”

At CLCH not only do apprentices benefit from the practical experience but the teams in which they work, and the communities they care for. 

Jacqueline Djonga, District Nurse Team Leader has facilitated several apprentices within her team and values the enthusiasm, skills and new knowledge they bring to the role, which both supports colleagues and enhances the quality of care delivered to patients.

Jacqueline Djonga said:

“The apprentice nursing associates’ contributions to CLCH have only improved patient centred care.

“Involving apprentices with our teams not only supports their development but that of existing staff they work with, helping us to retain our brilliant colleagues at the same time.”

CLCH’s apprenticeship programme supports its role as an anchor institution by widening access to quality work for local residents, while helping to build a workforce that is more representative of the local area and its communities.

If you are considering the next steps in your career, look out for our upcoming opportunities online or search ‘NHS apprenticeships’.

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