NAW logo.pngDuring National Apprenticeship Week this week we are celebrating their apprentices and the positive impact they have.  

The Trust is currently supporting 270 apprentices to learn while working to gain professional qualifications that provide them with training and development to have a lasting career in the NHS.

We currently have 270 apprentices over 22 different apprenticeship programmes. During the last year we have had 75 new starters including 43 Registered Nurse Degrees. The Trust has had 64 new starts across the nursing professions including Registered Nurse Degree, Nursing Associate, Assistant Practitioner, District Nursing, Advanced Clinical Practitioner and Mammography.

Over the past four years we have had 11 Registered Nurse complete their apprenticeship with a retention rate of 91 per cent staying to work within the Trust with a further 29 due to complete this year. We have also had 26 Assistant Practitioners and 15 Nursing Associates complete over the last four years with 57 per cent of those progressing on to the Registered Nurse Degree.

Apprentices are a huge part of our NCIC family; we recognise the importance of nurturing the talent we already have within our existing workforce. NCIC offer a variety of apprenticeships, including healthcare, administration, customer services, estates and facilities and IT, primarily to its existing workforce.

Justine Steele, Director of Workforce & Organisational Development at NCIC, said: “Apprenticeships are an attractive option for people to learn and secure professional qualifications while they work with us. It’s also an important part of our plans to develop or workforce.  The NHS offers employees a secure career path and we offer a range of apprenticeships at all levels, particularly for existing staff looking to develop their careers.” 

Find out more about apprenticeships or careers in the NHS email us at

Meet some of our apprentices

NAW case study Charlotte OPray pic.jpgCharlotte O'Pray
Operating department pracitioner

Charlotte O’Pray, 30, is a trainee apprentice Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) at the West Cumberland Hospital. She works in the theatre department.

ODPs work in three key areas; anaesthetics, surgery and recovery. They will monitor the patient’s physiological parameters, providing appropriate interventions and treatment until the patient has recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia and/or surgery and is stable.

She said: “Before I became an apprentice I worked for the NHS in Kent as a payroll officer, then moved on to be a pharmacy assistant. I started my journey as a health care assistant on an elderly, frailty, and dementia ward, and progressed to surgical. I moved to Cumbria where I worked as a healthcare assistant on an emergency admissions ward before I moved to theatre recovery as a healthcare.”

Charlotte says going down the apprenticeship route was the best way for her as she gets to learn, train and earn a wage at the same time.

She said: “It is a learning on the job route which I have found to be beneficial, as it is a mixture of theory and practical.  

“Aside from earning while training, there are so many opportunities to being an apprentice. I get departmental teaching from qualified staff members who are all willing to share their knowledge and support from all disciplines of staff. They range from business managers to ward managers to healthcare assistants. Nothing is too much for any of my colleagues.”

Charlotte told us about a typical day. She said: “When arriving at the department I check the allocation board to see where I will be based for the day. The theatre or recovery area is set up for the day ensuring all equipment and necessary items are in working order. A morning meeting is held by the clinical lead to inform us of any issues that need to be addressed or any other relevant information for the day. Team briefs are held by the clinical lead, surgeon, anaesthetist and team members to discuss each patient on the list. The theatre list gets underway for the day. Patient safety is at the forefront of all we do as practitioners, ensuring they receive the best possible care.”

Charlotte says to do the job of an apprentice ODP you need to have: “Excellent communication skills, compassion, caring, kind and be willing to learn. Most importantly to have a can-do attitude and treat everyone with respect.” 

“I would most definitely recommend taking the apprenticeship route.”

Charlotte is keen to progress her career in the future. She said: “I would like to see myself progress in my career, whether that be a promotion to a higher band, further training for development or taking on a leadership role within the department.”

Tiegan Smith
Estates administrator

Tiegan is 19 and works at the West Cumberland Hospital.

She said: “I left school in the summer of 2019 and in the September I became an apprentice. I originally worked in the Workington Community Hospital as an Administrator and then a position became available in the West Cumberland Hospital and so I researched a bit about the job and the department and immediately became interested.”

Tiegan said she decided to become an apprentice because she was earning a wage, gaining work experience as well as a qualification. She said: “There is administration in every job you go to and it is different everywhere you go. You’re always going to learn something new.

“The one thing I enjoyed about being an apprentice was the fact I was able to get myself out and learn about what the fitters, electricians and mates do and see how they do their jobs and learn why they do it. This really helped understand my work a lot more because I was able to understand the information that I was given by them.”

To do Tiegan’s job she says you must be proficient in Microsoft, especially Excel. She said: “I am constantly on spreadsheets inputting data, organisational skills, know about confidentiality, good paper management. Just being able to use your own initiative is good.”

A typical day for Tiegan would involve checking for any dockets (information from the workshop lads), adding any jobs onto the system that she uses, do some data inputting, pull reports for any work she needs information on.

Tiegan is unsure what she would like to do in the future. She said: “I’m still young and if I was to decide on something then it would be to be in a higher position in my department.

“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship.”

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