This Apprenticeship Week NCIC is showcasing the various NHS roles you can achieve through an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are a great way to learn while gaining hands-on experiencing and not having to give up your income. NCIC have supported over 400 apprentices since 2019, in various roles including nursing, midwifery, operating department practitioners, and many more.

The range of careers available in this way is ever increasing and last year, we enrolled our first midwifery degree apprentices.

This year we will see the first enrolment of apprentices in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry and dietetics – and it could even be you!

Claire Atkinson is currently completing her podiatry degree apprenticeship, after almost 23 years as a podiatry assistant.Claire Atkinson.jpg She has told us about her experience:

“When I first applied for the position of podiatry assistant, almost 23 years ago, I’d recently completed a Diploma in Reflexology and thought ‘feet aren’t so bad – I think I’ll give that job a go’.  It was quite a transition from being office based to a more clinically based job, but I really enjoyed interacting with patients and feeling like I was making a positive difference to their quality of life. 

“At the start of the apprenticeship it was quite overwhelming. I’m a very practical person and tend to learn by doing so the in-house practical training and mentoring has been fantastic for me, I’ve really enjoyed learning new skills and being able to develop them.

“It’s always varied and interesting, I enjoy working as part of a team and I do feel that what I do does make a difference to patients.

“If anyone is thinking about taking on an apprenticeship in podiatry or anything else, do it! The apprenticeship scheme gives individuals, that would not normally be able to study, the opportunity to learn and develop their careers.”

Natalie Biggin, occupational therapist (OT), told us about her role which will soon be available to enrol onto as an apprenticeship.Natalie Biggin.jpg

She said: “I was inspired to become an OT as I have always enjoyed working with people and really wanted to go into a career where I feel I can make positive changes to people’s lives.

“I love that every day is completely different and there are also so many aspects to occupational therapy. You can meet so many different people and especially with the rotational job, you can experience a new perspective of occupational therapy every 6 months.

“I would say if you enjoy caring for people, working both independently and as part of a team, and supporting to promote peoples independence and participation in occupations, then you should try a career in Occupational Therapy!”

Sally Brown is also an OT at NCIC. SB Picture.jpgShe told us about her career journey: “I first looked at OT whilst I was in secondary school, but when I left school I completed a business administration apprenticeship. However, I really liked seeing other colleagues with patient facing roles and thought that this was something I might like, that’s why I enrolled in university to re-train and join a profession which is patient facing and has lots of patient interaction.

“I enrolled on a 3 year undergraduate degree with the University of Cumbria (BSc Occupational Therapy), in which I undertook a range of practice placements in a variety of different areas, each placement gave me a unique experience which has benefited me massively now I am qualified, particularly I found it helpful training in an area I knew I was going to work in – as I already began to build connections and knowledge in local services that I am working in now.

“I love working closely with my colleagues from other professions and backgrounds, as an OT you work as part of a multi-disciplinary team and it is important to work together – it is great building relationships with colleagues from physiotherapy, discharge team and medical team for the best outcome for the patient and I really value the support I get from my other colleagues on the ward.

“OT is a great way to get into an interactive and patient facing role, although it can be challenging - it is great building good relationships with patients and is really rewarding when the outcome is positive for the patient.”

What is an Apprentice?

As an apprentice, you study whilst working with an employer and an apprenticeship programme is paid for by your employer and the government. The academic course and the apprenticeship are designed to a national standard for a job role and comes with professional qualifications and accreditation.

You will be employed by NCIC, splitting your time between academic and work based learning, and will be employed throughout, gaining a higher level qualification from the university whilst earning a wage, and getting real on-the-job experience in your chosen profession.

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are popular health career choices for people who want to make a positive difference to the lives of people affected by illness or disability. They provide diverse career options and flexibility to move between roles and sectors including health, social care, education and the third sector. They work autonomously but often in multi-disciplinary and integrated teams.

Physiotherapists work with people to identify and maximise their ability to move and function – an essential part of what it means to be healthy. Physiotherapy encompasses a range of interventions and advice aimed at restoring, maintaining, and improving people's function and movement.

Occupational Therapists aim to improve a persons’ ability to do every tasks. They analyse these activities and support a person to adapt or compensate how they do them using Occupational Science as an evidence base.

Becoming a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist means having a key role in enabling people to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life. Both professional roles can be involved in all stages of patient care – undertaking assessment, diagnosis, treatment, discharge, referral, rehabilitation, and management of long-term conditions.

They work with a variety of age groups and health conditions. They promote and maintain health, help to prevent disease, and support people to stay in and return to work.

We will be holding open days to anyone who is interested and more information will be shared soon.

Dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level.

They use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

The minimum requirement to qualify as a dietitian and be registered with the HCPC is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.  However this is now being offered as an apprenticeship degree through a small number of universities.

NCIC are currently in the process of recruiting an Apprentice Dietitian with an excellent response to the advert. This is in partnership with Teesside University and we are very excited to welcome an apprentice in May when the training starts. Our apprentice will work in the department and spend one day per week attending university teaching which is a blend of face to face and online sessions.

Podiatrists are registered healthcare professionals who are experts in foot and lower limb health. Podiatrists deliver high quality clinical care to people of all ages with foot or lower limb conditions. A podiatrist’s job includes providing assessment, diagnosis and treatment for a range of problems affecting the lower limb and advice to prevent problems.

Podiatrists play a crucial role in reducing the risk of amputation, foot infection, foot pain and hospital admissions. They can deliver a wide range of podiatry interventions including wound care, skin care, nail surgery, scalpel work, or care for long term conditions. They provide assessment of the musculoskeletal structures in the lower leg and initiate treatment plans to improve movement or reduce pain. They may also prescribe insoles for the management of foot / lower limb conditions.

Podiatrists work in a variety of places with a variety of health care professionals including in the NHS alongside community nurses, orthotists, specialist nurses and doctors or on their own running their own private business.

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