Blackpool NHS Trust grows its own staff

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is investing in its future by giving work opportunities to people in the local community.

a group picture of Apprentices and managers at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Apprentices and managers at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust is building an excellent workforce for tomorrow by offering apprenticeships in all areas of the hospital.

“Apprenticeships provide routes into a variety of careers in the NHS and give an excellent training opportunity for people of all ages to earn while they learn as well as achieve nationally recognised qualifications,” explained Dawn Werra, Clinical Workforce Development Advisor for the Trust.

“The scheme also allows the Trust to nurture its workforce of tomorrow by instilling the vision and values of the organisation at an early stage and ensuring that the philosophy of a caring and compassionate environment is adopted from day one,” she added.

Apprentices are taking up roles throughout the hospital and the success rate is excellent.

Seventeen-year-old Kayleigh Mountford joined the Stroke Ward straight from school. “I have been at the hospital for about a month and get involved in patient care on the ward,” she said.

“I spend time helping with meal times, washing, keeping patients turned and comfortable. I shadow the other nurses to watch and learn new skills. I have enjoyed the experience very much. This is what I have always wanted to do.”

Talking about Kayleigh’s role on the Stroke Ward, ward manager Rachael Bailey said: “Apprentices are important to the Trust. In this current climate it is essential to grow your own staff as it is increasingly difficult to recruit staff. By bringing in apprentices we can shape the staff to be the kind of people we want working at Blackpool. It also gives them a good idea of the type of jobs they might want to undertake once the apprenticeship has finished.

“They hopefully will go on to get a permanent job with us as an Health Care Assistant and then go on to do their nurse training. An apprentice offers a route to new talent, they get to learn on the job and build up valuable skills and knowledge that can be applied on the shop floor. Kayleigh has fast become an integral part of our team,” Rachael added.

“It also gives my HCA’s the opportunity to teach their skills that they have gained throughout their time on the unit.”

picture of apprentice washing her hands

Kayleigh Mountford, an apprentice on the Stroke Ward

Also taking on an HCA role is Kayleigh’s former St George’s school pal, Chelsie Pitchard, 17, who has joined the nursing staff on Ward 26.

“My main role is around patient care and I am really enjoying what I do,” Chelsie said. “I always wanted to be a nurse and this apprenticeship is really showing me that I have made the right decision. The apprenticeship is something I would recommend to any young person just starting out.”

Both Kayleigh and Chelsie are working towards a clinical health apprentice qualification.

But nursing roles are not the only areas that apprentices are finding opportunities.

chelsea at a computer

Chelsie Pitchard who has taken up an Health Care Assistant role on Ward 26

Two trainees, Jennie Aldred and Tom Higson, have joined the finance department and are already making a great impression on their boss, assistant divisional finance manager, James Eaton.

“We are very lucky having two apprentices. They have both fitted in really well and seem to be enjoying the challenge,” James explained. “Originally to get any role in finance you needed to be quite well qualified so this opens all sorts of possibilities for youngsters.

“They have been a massive help, an extra pair of hands and they are both learning really quickly. We hope that they will both stay past their 12 month contract and progress to take their qualifications.”

Both Jennie and Tom will complete Association of Accounting Technicians qualifications.

The Trust’s recruitment department is building on its previous success with apprenticeships. Last year’s trainees have both got permanent jobs in the Trust and are keen to encourage other youngsters to join the scheme.

Former apprentices, Ryan Harris and Sarah Smallwood, who have both secured full-time positions.

Former apprentices, Ryan Harris and Sarah Smallwood, who have both secured full-time positions.

Former apprentice Sarah Smallwood, 22, came to the Trust as an apprentice in August last year. Sarah said: “I just applied for the apprenticeship position online and now I have a fulltime job in recruitment.

“I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship course to anyone, it is so worth doing. You get the experience you need to eventually allow you to get the fulltime job. It puts you in a better position when a job comes up. I really enjoyed my time as an apprentice and I am delighted to now be working here full time”.

This year’s recruitment apprentice is 19-year-old Katie Oliphant who finished college two years ago and became an HCA before moving to medical records in London.

Recruitment manager Jill Evans with apprentice Katie Oliphant

Recruitment manager Jill Evans with apprentice Katie Oliphant

When she moved to the Blackpool area she heard about apprenticeship opportunities through a recruitment fare.

“I emailed the Trust and was told they had a place for an apprentice in recruitment. This role has really given me an appetite for working within the NHS.”

Katie is now working towards business and administrative qualifications.

Recruitment resourcing an contracts team leader, Jill Evans said: “We had two apprentices a year ago and they are both still with us in substantive and responsible roles.

“The apprenticeship scheme works really well allowing us to mould people in the Trust way. As a manager you feel a sense of pride in what your apprentice is doing and it gives great hope for the future.”

The Trust’s sixth apprentice is Trafford Bretherton who is fulfilling his ambition to further a career in IT.

Trafford Bretherton who has an apprentice role on the IT support desk

Trafford Bretherton who has an apprentice role on the IT support desk

Trafford, 17, left school a year ago and did a few jobs before he was made redundant as a business admin apprentice. But then his luck changed when he applied to become an NHS apprentice. He is now working on the IT service desk. “It is great to be in a steady and secure job. That is really important to me. I am really enjoying coming to work every day.”

The apprenticeship schemes are run in partnership with both Blackpool and the Fylde College, Training 2000 for accountancy apprenticeships and Estio Training for IT opportunities.

Anyone interested in the scheme is asked to contact Dawn Werra on 01253 953244 or by email at

Posted in Home Page, Press Releases.