It provides an opportunity to highlight the positive impact our apprenticeships have on us, the individuals completing them and the community and patients we treat.
Throughout the week will highlight a number of our current apprenticeships and the different opportunities we offer to an apprentice. We also give you a chance to ask questions of our education team.
The theme for 2022 is “build the future”, reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and organisations create a talented workforce equipped with future-ready skills.
Lisa Ward, Director of People for North West Ambulance Service, says, “I’m delighted to be celebrating National Apprenticeship Week. Apprenticeships are incredibly important to us here at NWAS. They allow us to offer educational qualifications to our staff, also, most importantly, it provides a fantastic opportunity for us to develop confident individuals who can deliver excellent care to our patients.
“It also helps us to attract individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, who would not normally, necessarily enter education or academic institutions. It enables our staff to work and earn while they learn.”
Despite the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, our programmes have not stopped. The internal delivery of Emergency Medical Technician (EMT 1) apprenticeships has continued as usual to ensure that sufficiently trained staff are ready for deployment to Operations. It meant that between March 2020 and January 2022, we recruited a massive 182 EMT1 apprentices, with 78 of these coming from our Patient Transport Service (PTS) who had undertaken the Paramedic Emergency Service (PES) upskill programme.
178 EMT1 apprentices have completed their apprenticeship with NWAS during this time, with an impressive 74 apprentices achieving a distinction, 78 apprentices achieving merit and 26 apprentices achieving a pass grade.
Classroom learning has continued, albeit with smaller class sizes, to increase social distancing. This ensures that our apprentices receive maximum educational exposure before starting clinical practice.
Our external providers adapted their delivery model to maintain the delivery of high-quality education. Most providers switched to remote learning, with apprentices still able to access learning and maintain contact with their tutors. We even started some new apprenticeships during the pandemic, with the first of our Paramedic apprentices beginning in early 2021 and due to complete in 2023.
Stewart Ralph, Senior Lecturer at the University of Cumbria, says, “The University of Cumbria is very proud to be working with NWAS in providing the paramedic apprenticeship degree programme.”
“There are currently four cohorts in the first year of the programme, and it’s fantastic to see the development that all learners are making.
“This last year has not been without its challenges. The second wave of the pandemic led to the first cohort to start on the programme being delayed. This was to ensure the operational demand on the ambulance service were being met.
“The pandemic has also impacted the projected delivery schedule for the apprentices and led to changes being made with specific modules being brought forward that had a higher theoretical element to ensure that the learners continued on their programme.
“It’s really important to appreciate how the learners have embraced virtual learning and how they’ve engaged in theoretical learning to a very high standard.”