APPRENTICESHIPS IN PRIMARY CARE

Healthcare Assistant (HCA) Apprenticeship

Summary:

  • L3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker Diploma
  • Can be used to upskill existing members of staff or recruit new ones
  • Completed in 15-18 months on day release
  • Delivered in partnership with local training providers
  • Supports consistent delivery of the Care Certificate
  • Primary care-specific ‘Bolt On’ modules facilitated by SY&B Training Hub
  • Advice & support from Training Hub team
  • 95% of training costs funded through Government co-investment

Background:

Many practices are starting to reshape their workforce by increasing the number of Health Care Assistants (HCAs) to alleviate pressures on already stretched nursing teams. Te SY&B Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub is keen to promote an expansion of the HCA workforce within primary care by providing ongoing support to ensure that HCAs in general practice have the knowledge and skills required to understand their role. 

Practices that meet a defined set of criteria are eligible to receive bursary funding to support HCAs completing an apprenticeship in clinical healthcare support, plus primary care specific ‘bolt-on’ modules (Venepuncture/ ECG/ Wound Care/ Motivational Interviewing and First Aid.)

Apprenticeships provide quality developmental routes for existing staff or new recruits and are a cost-effective solution to recruitment and employment. This bespoke apprenticeship delivers skills designed around the needs of the practice and helps to develop the skilled workers required for the future to achieve organisational objectives. 

Training:

Since 2020, the SY&B Training Hub has been working in partnership with local training provider The Source Academy (other local training providers are available.) In the past financial year, the training hub has supported over 40 HCA apprentices through their training in SY&B.

L3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker Diploma: https://thesourceacademy.co.uk/senior-healthcare-support-worker

Fully funded primary care-specific ‘Bolt On’ modules (provided by SY&B Training Hub)

  • Venepuncture
  • ECG
  • Wound Care
  • Motivational Interviewing & Health Promotion
  • First Aid

Frequently Asked Questions:

We already have a HCA; why do we need more?

Retirement statistics show that there will be 33% less nurses over the next few years; HCAs can relieve some of the pressure on already stretched nursing teams. With the introduction of the Nurse Associate role and the Nurse Apprenticeship pathway, HCAs are potentially your future nursing workforce.

HCAs can generate income in the practice by running clinics and managing calls/ recalls of targeted patient groups. They are often local people who have a vested interest in their communities and therefore offer a great return on your investment.

What is the cost to the practice?

The practice only needs to pay the 5% Employers’ Levy for the cost of the apprenticeship (£250 to the Further Education provider.) There are specific circumstances where additional funding is available, please visit the Apprenticeships funding page here:

For the duration of the apprenticeship, the practice must pay the minimum national living wage to the apprentice. 

How much time out of the practice will the apprentice need?

The apprentice will be in college for one day per month for the duration of the apprenticeship. They are also required to be given 20% of their working week for off the job training. For guidance on what constitutes off the job training, please click here.

What support does the employer need to provide?

The employer must provide a supportive learning environment, an education plan for the apprentice and time for release (20% off the job training.) They must also provide a named supervisor at the practice to support the learner.

What support does the named supervisor need to provide?

Every apprenticeship is different according to individual supervisors and apprentices, but typically supervisors can expect to spend the first few months having their clinics observed by their apprentices. During this time, apprentices complete work on the Care Certificate, which must be signed off by the supervisor.

When the supervisor is satisfied that the apprentice is competent and has been trained sufficiently, the apprentice can start running their own clinics. Supervisors/other staff members may need to be available during these times to answer any immediate queries or to talk things through with their apprentices at the end of the day. Monthly reviews between supervisors and apprentices are usually standard.

Are there any other requirements?

Practices must employ the apprentice HCA for a minimum of 30 hours per week. The apprentice should ideally already have functional skills level 2 in Maths and English and must be able to produce certificate evidence of this prior to starting the apprenticeship. If not already achieved, the apprentice must study for and pass these qualifications alongside the level 3 diploma, as they will be unable to complete the qualification without them. 

What support is available from the SY&B Training Hub?

The SY&B Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub is able to offer ongoing support and advice to practices with apprentices, including assistance with the recruitment process if required. The Training Hub facilitates primary care-specific ‘bolt on’ modules at no further cost to practices and works in partnership with training providers to ensure quality of provision.

What happens if we are unable to employ our apprentice at the end of the training period?

If there is a business reason why the ‘commitment to employ’ cannot be fulfilled by the practice, then there would be no penalty. It is hoped that the practice would help the apprentice to find work elsewhere.

What happens if we feel that our apprentice is not suitable to work at the practice at the end of the training period?

The HCA should be treated as any other member of staff at the practice, subject to the same type of performance reviews. If the apprentice is not suitable for continued employment in the practice, the usual procedures would apply.

Interested in the HCA Scheme and want to find out more?

Please contact either Amy Collins or Sanni Khan:

Amy Collins: amy.collins10@nhs.net

Sanni Khan: sanni.khan@nhs.net