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New apprenticeship for mental health staff

The UK’s largest mental health trust is to develop the skills of hundreds of its employees through an innovative new apprenticeship being delivered in partnership with two North East colleges.

Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust will work with Sunderland College and Tyne Coast College to implement the specially designed programme. Known as an apprenticeship standard, it will give additional skills to the trust’s mental health workers over the next two years.

The Trust, which operates over 60 sites across South Tyneside, Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead and Sunderland, is utilising its apprenticeship levy for the initiative. Doing so means it is one of the first organisations in the country to implement training using the apprenticeship standard, part of the Government’s apprenticeship reforms.

Marc House, Head of Training Academy at Northumberland Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust said:

“At NTW we’re always looking for new ways to offer opportunities that improve outcomes for our service users, meet the needs of the organisation and offer real development pathways to staff.

“We are pleased to be working with two excellent colleges to support our health care support workers to access these opportunities.”

Tyne Coast College, created through a merger last year of South Tyneside College and Tyne Metropolitan College, and Sunderland College were selected by the Trust following a robust procurement process.

Iain Nixon, Executive Director for Commercial Activity at Sunderland College, said:

“Sunderland College are experts in providing training to the healthcare sector.

“We already have an established relationship with Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and we’re delighted to be delivering such a specialised training programme to their staff, which meets the specific requirements of the Trust.”

Julie Sloanes, Assistant Principal and Strategic Lead for Apprentices at Tyne Coast College, said:

“This college has longstanding and in-depth experience of delivering outstanding mental health provision for learners.

“Many of our assessors have worked in the NHS, and directly within mental health services, and have a wide and important understanding of how academic learning applies to the workplace.

“Tyne Coast College enjoys an already strong and highly effective relationship with Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust around health and social care provision.

“The new apprenticeships we are delivering to the trust’s mental health workers is an exciting opportunity to build on that while developing important employee skills.”

The Mental Health Pathway of the Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprenticeship has been developed with input from health sector specialists.

Apprenticeship standards are a new type of targeted training being delivered as part of the government’s ongoing national apprenticeship reforms. The reforms aim to create an additional three million apprentices by 2020 so that the UK is more competitive internationally.

Peer Support Worker, Joanne Cowen, who has worked at the Trust for over three years, has joined the apprenticeship programme. She said:

“As soon as I heard that the trust was offering the chance to study this qualification I was really keen to be involved.

“It is a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and learn more about the principles and theories of mental health care.

“Achieving the Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker will enhance my future career prospects at the Trust.

“I’m really enjoying it the programme and my college Trainer Assessor is very supportive. I’m already applying the knowledge that I’m acquiring in my job role.”

For more information about apprenticeships click here.



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