A partnership approach: Apprenticeship delivery in the NHS

A photograph of Gareth Graham.

Posted by  Gareth Graham, Head of Key Accounts, Apprenticeships,

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) provides healthcare services via St James Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and Chapel Allerton Hospital.

learndirect has run an Apprenticeship programme in partnership with LTHT since 2013, and in that time over 450 apprentices have been recruited and commenced employment across the Trust. Traditionally apprentices have been recruited into Clinical roles, but more recently apprentices have also been recruited into numerous administrative vacancies.

We have created a bespoke delivery model for LTHT who aim to recruit 30 apprentices into Clinical Support roles each month. A ‘Learner Journey’ maps out how the programme looks for clinical apprentices, from a 3 week induction to details about what their 12 month Apprenticeship will look like – including dedicated study days.

We expect to see significant future growth in Apprenticeship numbers within LTHT, with increases in the number of Clinical apprentices per month. We are continuing to work closely with the Trust to understand other areas that would benefit from Apprenticeship delivery including IT, Management and Recruitment.

In 2015 the LTHT / learndirect partnership was awarded Highly Commended for ‘Partnership of the Year’ at the Talent for Care awards.

The Support Staff Development team at the hospital trust have been extremely complimentary about the training partnership with learndirect, explaining that the close relationship and positive communication channels have led to a shared vision of the Leeds values, behaviours and attitudes that together have provided the basis for high quality patient care.

In addition, the more efficient use of resources has allowed LTHT to increase the number of apprentices joining the programme each year which has put them in a stronger position to meet future workforce demands.

Our ethos is always strongly focused on building effective relationships and working collaboratively to drive positive change and help employers like LTHT develop the right skills for their workforce.

To achieve this, our attention is focused on the following areas so we can provide what employers want from their apprenticeship programmes.

Programme design

As the Apprenticeship sector is currently undergoing many changes we know it is important to keep our partners on top of the latest requirements, such as the Trailblazer standards. By taking this collaborative approach we can incorporate relevant requirements into the Apprenticeship programmes developed for LTHT to ensure that the Trust are prepared for the new apprenticeship standards.


In developing the programme for LTHT we considered; assessment of existing knowledge, skills and prior achievement against those required to meet the needs of their job role; the provision for structured learning (both on-job and off-job) to enable the development of the relevant skills and knowledge; and the assessment and accreditation of existing and new abilities to the competencies of the qualification.

Our approach to delivery includes the application of blended learning methods which offer continued support, guidance and re-assessment to maximise learner success.

Quality matters

Quality assurance and continuous improvement are central priorities for us and really matter to employers. For this reason we work closely with our customers to develop a quality improvement cycle which underpins a programme of observation, teaching, learning and formative assessment.

For us, a high quality programme should include; an overall quality strategy; procedures for sign-up, assessment and review and a quality assurance process.

The apprentice is at the heart

Although Apprenticeship programmes need to meet organisational priorities and objectives, it is important to keep focused on the learner journey as programmes are developed and implemented.

A quality experience from the apprentices’ perspective, means they’re more likely to persist with their learning and therefore achieve success. Underpinning this should be robust quality and continuous improvement processes, which review and evaluate learner and customer satisfaction and feedback.

Our experience shows the value of undertaking regular apprentice satisfaction surveys, involving them in focus groups, and acknowledging and celebrating the apprentices’ success.

Developing talent beyond Apprenticeships

Employers value the ability to obtain a range of high quality training services from one supplier. While Apprenticeships are at the heart of what we do at learndirect, we also provide a range of employment related services, English and maths delivery, Traineeships and more.

This allows employers to benefit from solutions which can be sized and shaped according to their needs – whether that be location, workforce characteristics or seasonal demands.

In developing an overall talent management strategy, employers can explore:

  • Traineeships as a route to get young people into the business, by helping them prepare for an Apprenticeship or employment;
  • Using Apprenticeship programmes as a career progression route;
  • Pre-employment training as part of community or corporate social responsibility commitments, or work experience and internships for school and college students.

If you’ve got any questions about our Apprenticeship programmes, we’re here to help. Call us on 0800 101 901 or complete our short form and we’ll call you back.