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Apprenticeships in primary care

The National Skills Academy for Health provides expert help and advice to enable primary care employers to implement successful apprenticeship programmes. We can help you use apprenticeships to attract new talent or reskill existing staff to ensure your people have the right knowledge and skills to deliver care and services of the highest quality.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that provide young people and adults with the opportunity to gain job-specific skills and study for a related qualification.

There are currently over 200 different apprenticeships, known as apprenticeship frameworks, covering more than 1,500 job roles and 170 industries.

Apprenticeships are used to develop the skills and knowledge of both new and existing employees and typically combine on-the-job training at an employer’s site with off-the-job training provided by a training organisation.

The reasons why employers engage with apprenticeship are varied but often include maintaining or improving future skill levels in the organisation, improving service quality, improving productivity, improving the employer’s ability to attract good staff and bringing new ideas into the organisation.

Depending on the framework, apprenticeships are available at intermediate, advanced and higher and degree levels. This enables employers to select the most relevant framework for the requirements of the job role and the apprentice’s previous experience, and to provide a clearly defined progression pathway for apprentices.

Apprenticeships in primary care

Apprenticeships are well embedded in primary care and are used to develop new and existing staff in both clinical and non-clinical roles. Apprenticeships can be used to develop skills in administration, customer service, and in specialist back-office skills, such as finance and IT. Apprenticeships are also available for roles such as:

  • Optical assistants 
  • Dispensing assistants
  • Contact lens assistants
  • Optical retail receptionists
  • Healthcare assistants
  • Dental nurses 
  • Dispensing and pharmacist assistants
  • Pharmacy technicians

Thinking of hiring an apprentice, but not sure where to start?

Our apprenticeship experts provide free advice and guidance on all aspects of employing apprentices, including:

  • Which apprenticeship programmes could benefit your organisation the most
  • How to recruit an apprentice
  • How much it costs to employ and train an apprentice
  • Whether you are eligible for a grant to help cover training costs
  • Which training providers deliver apprenticeships in your area

As an alternative to employing the apprentice yourself, we can recruit, employ and manage apprentices on your behalf through our Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA). This service enables you to benefit from hosting an apprentice within your organisation but, as the apprentice is employed by the ATA, we will take care of any HR issues, performance management and payroll administration. 

For further information about any aspect of apprenticeships, contact our apprenticeship  experts - call 020 7391 7173, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request a call back.

General Practice case studies

Video: Apprentices are the talent pool of the future

Waterside Medical Practice case studyWaterside Medical Practice believes that apprentices provide a pool of talent for the future and have employed Katie Young as a Business Administration Apprentice. An important part of Katie’s role is to undertake new projects, for example she has become the lead for social media, an area that had previously been underutilised as a marketing tool by the practice.

Rural surgery recruits and trains clinical apprentice

whiteparish gp case studyA GP surgery near Salisbury has taken on an Apprentice Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support to help boost the Healthcare support offered by the practice. The apprentice's activities include health promotion, ECG and blood pressure monitoring as well as phlebotomy and supporting the nursing team both practically and administratively.

West Heath Surgery takes innovative approach to upskilling primary care workforce

upskilling the primary care workforceWest Heath Surgery works closely with the local GP provider organisation South Doc Services to deliver quality services across the area. It has found an innovative response to evolving patient needs by training an HCA to Band 4 in many of the functions that were formally carried out only by doctors and nurses. Download PDF

Video case studies - Apprenticeships in primary care

apprenticeships-in-primary-careThis series of short video case studies show how primary care providers are using apprenticeships to enhance service delivery and provide great patient care. The videos feature both clinical and non-clinical apprenticeships and explore the benefits apprenticeships bring from the apprentice and employer perspective. 

Accomplished Business Admin apprentice 'has potential to be the practice manager'

business-adminsitration10067Twenty-one-yearold Chris Hague’s first apprenticeship happened purely by chance: he was working as an Assistant Administrator at the Emmett Carr GP surgery in Renishaw when the executive director of a local healthcare training provider stopped by for a routine appointment. Download PDF

Success for practice’s award-winning apprenticeship programme

Case study: Salisbury Medical PracticeSalisbury Medical Practice has been recognised throughout the region for their proactive and innovative approach to working with apprentices, winning the South Wiltshire Apprenticeship Employer of the Year Award for 2014. Download PDF

Apprentice lift-off at Air Balloon Surgery

Apprentice lift-off at Air Balloon SurgeryAfter hearing positive feedback about other practices’ experience with apprentices, Kate Francis, Practice Manager, and Miffy Saunders, HR Manager, at Air Balloon Surgery in Bristol, took the decisive step to take on their first-ever apprentice, Chelsea Pearce – with results that ushered in great success for both the practice and 18-year-old Chelsea.

A day in the life of a healthcare apprentice

National Apprenticeship WeekTo celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, the National Skills Academy for Health decided to send some of its senior managers 'back to the floor' to spend valuable time with just a few of the young people who are making a real difference to the shape of the health sector workforce. AnneMarie McCabe, Head of Engagement at the the National Skills Academy for Health, was delighted when she was invited to meet two young apprentices, based at the Crawcrook Medical Centre, Ryton, Tyne and Wear. 

Dental Practice case studies

Video: Apprentices add value and efficiency to the business

Dental Clinique Dental Practice case studyDr Gurjit Moore, a dentist at Dental Clinique Dental Practice, believes that apprentices are fundamental in making the business more productive and efficient. Morgan McDonough is currently undertaking a Dental Nursing apprenticeship with the practice and has become a valuable member of the team.

A solid partnership spells success for a dental practice, training provider and apprentices

dentistry10067For the last decade, training provider In Touch Care and Hurlfield Dental Practice have exemplified the open, trustworthy partnership that is vital to cultivating new talent, establishing a loyal team and achieving organisational growth. Download PDF

Dental apprenticeships gain new ground

Dental nurse apprenticeshipsDental nurse apprenticeships are on the rise throughout the Thames Valley and Wessex regions, thanks to a partnership between Eastleigh College and Health Education England – as well as an innovative two-year training programme utilising the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 3 Health (The Dental Nursing Framework).

Pharmacy case studies

Salisbury pharmacy enjoys the benefits of using Apprenticeship Training Agency

three swans pharmacy case studyThree Swans Pharmacy had the opportunity to introduce an apprentice as a Level 2 Dispensing Assistant. The pharmacy knew from experience how much time and effort is required to fill a post, but one of the practice managers recommended the National Skills Academy for Health’s Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA), which he had used elsewhere. Download PDF

Find out more

For further information about any aspect of apprenticeships, contact our apprenticeship  experts - call 020 7391 7173, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request a call back.