The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers

Apprenticeships and The NHS

13th April 2021

The NHS experienced something of a hiring surge in recent times, as many individuals are becoming more interested in a career in Healthcare since the beginning of the pandemic; which has shone a light on just how essential NHS staff and volunteers are to keeping us safe and well.

One route to building a career in health and care services is through NHS Apprenticeships. They offer young people an opportunity to enter dynamic healthcare environments and learn directly from experienced staff members who are focused on nurturing talent.

Apprentices at Sheffield NHS Foundation Trust 

Apprenticeships offer a route into hundreds of different NHS careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning, including health and social care, allied health professional support, care, leadership and management, and informatics. Courses will typically run across four levels: Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree. NHS Apprenticeships work towards a competence qualification and can take one to five years to complete depending on the level and the employer.

While there can sometimes be tough competition for places, there’s real potential for young people to start a rewarding long-term career. Rebecca Carlson, our 2020 Apprentice of the Year winner, recently completed her training in Occupational Therapy at The Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. Rebecca demonstrated immense resilience and loyalty to the Occupational Therapy and Apprenticeship Department, with 100% attendance and a proactive approach to match. She tirelessly promoted Occupational Therapy to patients, parents, visitors and colleagues and has effectively supported two student work placements. She has also become used to training new members of the team.

        Becca Carlson at work at The Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle

“On a day-to-day basis we do things like story time, arts and crafts and baby massage. We also focus on communication; this could be using switches and sign language for the non-verbal children. We adapt the forms of communication according to what the individual child is able to access. What I really love about my job is that even though the children are poorly and it’s a scary environment for them, doing fun things brightens their day. Even if it’s just for an hour, it really makes a difference. Seeing the children go away with a smile – it’s the best thing ever”.

Rebecca’s work demonstrates how vital apprenticeships are in the NHS and the capacity they have to make a direct positive impact upon patients and their families. By taking the time to invest in talent, the NHS can add to its existing skilled, dedicated workforce to improve patient outcomes and create positive experiences.

Becca Carlson onstage accepting her award in February 2020 

At the Unsung Hero Awards, we’ll continue to champion outstanding young people like Rebecca as they take their first steps into the NHS and become leaders in their own right. While it’s important to recognise those that go the extra mile on the front line, thousands of young apprentices are currently learning and adapting to their roles in these continuing unprecedented times. We want to give a huge thank you to all the younger staff of the NHS who have going above and beyond this past year to keep us safe and well. 

Apprentice of The Year will be a category in the online 2021 Awards – nominations opening in May! Please check our social media accounts for more information closer to the time. 

If you’re looking to learn more about NHS Apprenticeships, visit

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