850 lives changed thanks to hospital apprenticeships

Communications TeamNews

Selection of different healthcare uniform hanging on a rail

Hospital staff are celebrating their achievements in helping hundreds of people into training and employment as National Apprenticeship Week* kicks off again this week.

2023 marks 10 years since Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, began offering apprenticeships as a route into healthcare careers.

In that time, over 850 people have embarked on apprenticeship programmes, which comprise both on-the-job training and study toward formal qualifications.

Anne Burdis, Assistant Learning and Development Manager for the Trust says:

“Over the last 10 years, we’re proud to say we’ve supported more than 850 people onto apprenticeship training and development in our hospitals; that’s 850 people who have been given genuine opportunities to learn, earn and progress.

“We often find people still stereotype apprenticeships, thinking that they’re just for school leavers, that they’re mainly admin jobs or manual trades, but apprenticeships have come a long way in recent years.

“Our hospital managers and senior clinicians see the value that apprenticeships bring, so we’ve gradually seen the number of teams and departments wanting to take on apprentices grow. We now offer apprenticeships across the majority of our teams and services, from pharmacy to finance, communications to cardiac physiology, occupational therapy to estates.

Robert Dyer sitting in front of his desk which has a phone and laptop on

Former apprentice turned finance manager, Robert Dyer

“Many of those starting out as apprentices are still with us, having gained qualifications, secured permanent roles or promotions, and in many cases, they are now carving out careers for themselves within their chosen department or clinical speciality.”

One of those people is Robert Dyer, who has progressed from apprentice to finance manager and gained his formal accountancy qualifications all within the space of seven years. He says:

“The experience gained during my apprenticeship continues to pay dividends. For anyone with a quiver of interest, I would wholeheartedly recommend the apprenticeship route and the Trust’s finance team; it not only grows you professionally but personally too, and the value in that is immeasurable.”

Rachael Simpson wearing a white tunic

Apprentice health care support worker, Rachael Simpson

Rachael Simpson initially volunteered with the Trust as a Young Health Champion while she was still in high school, and is now working as an apprentice Health Care Support Worker on the elective orthopaedics ward at Castle Hill Hospital. She says:

“I got into nursing because I saw how happy the career made my mum. I love people and want to make a difference to people’s lives.

“I love being able to help patients, to listen to their stories and make them feel comfortable on our ward.  My aim is to become a registered nurse by 2026, which I’ll achieve by doing the three-year nurse degree apprenticeship after completing my current course.”

Paula Thompson worked as an Occupational Therapist Assistant in Neurosurgery before starting her degree apprenticeship in 2019. Since completing her studies and becoming a fully qualified Occupational Therapist, Paula has been promoted again within her department and now has role with more leadership responsibilities. She says:

Paula Thompson wearing a blue tunic that says 'Occupational Therapist' on, standing in front of a row of coloured doors

Paula Thompson completed a degree-level apprenticeship

“Having prior experience as a member of support staff meant I was able to bring practical knowledge and skills into the academic environment. Most of those I studied alongside either went straight into senior therapist roles after graduating or, like myself, they’ve attained senior roles within a shorter timescale than most traditional degree graduates might be expected to.”

Anne continues: “Recruitment challenges for the health service are no secret, so this is one really valuable and successful way in which we’re working to grow our own remarkable people.

“As we celebrate 10 years of apprenticeships at Hull Hospitals this National Apprenticeship Week, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported our healthcare professionals of the future. Supporting apprenticeships doesn’t just represent an investment in the people, it’s an investment in our community and the future of our health services too.”

If you or someone you know would be interested in a healthcare apprenticeship with Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, visit www.hull.nhs.uk/medshed/apprenticeships to find out more about a career in the NHS.


* The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2023 is ‘Skills for Life’, reflecting how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for rewarding careers and business development. For more information on National Apprenticeship Week, visit https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/influencers/national-apprenticeship-week#