Delivering Higher National Apprenticeships at EPUT

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) provide community health, mental health and learning disability services for a population of approximately 1.3 million people throughout Bedfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Luton.

The Trust started delivering BTEC Higher Nationals in Healthcare Practice for England in 2019, shortly after the qualification was launched, and are the first Trust in the UK to deliver this qualification.

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EPUT have a long history of delivering high-quality apprenticeships at various levels that allow their staff to become qualified practitioners. EPUT recognise that there is a skills shortage of qualified staff in NHS and have a strong ethos of investing in and growing their own talent. This allows those who perhaps haven’t followed a traditional educational route the opportunity for a longstanding career and route to progression in the sector.

Delivering the qualification at the Trust also means that staff aren't out of practice so often and ensures that patients get the highest quality of care that they can. What is more, the Trust has more control over the quality and how the programme is delivered.

When considering a new apprenticeship programme, EPUT decided to adopt the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard as it was best suited to the needs of their staff and organisation as a whole.

Looking at different qualifications to complete the off-the-job requirement of the apprenticeship, EPUT found that the BTEC Higher Nationals in Healthcare Practice for England fit the focus of the Trust. Programme Leads decided that the units available in this qualification are very robust, map well to the requirements of the Standard and contain the key content to support the development needs of their staff.

In addition to weekly sessions, students complete various placements to further expand their skills in practice and make the most out of their learning. During the placements, ward managers and team leaders are there to further train apprentices as they apply their theoretical knowledge in practice. 

The organisation also has very close links to the local university, a relationship which allows students to progress to the final year of a degree, become fully qualified registered nurses and achieve their full potential, all whilst maintaining secure employment.