Author: Charlotte Beardmore, Director of Professional Policy
New arrangements for apprenticeships, including targets, funding and structures came into effect from April 2017 in England.
Each of the UK nations will manage their own apprenticeships, including determining how the money is spent and how employers access apprenticeships.
The government has set a target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020, including specific targets for the public sector, although there is no specific target for degree level apprenticeships. The NHS in England is set to provide over 27,000 apprenticeships in 2017/18.
New national apprenticeship standards are being developed by employed-led initiatives and all apprenticeships must follow a set of minimum criteria. The Institute of Apprenticeships will oversee the standards, quality and rigour for the scheme.
What does this mean for radiography?
Degree level apprenticeships are being developed and there will be opportunities at masters and doctoral levels, as well as the support workforce at levels 2,3 and 4.
Each proposed apprenticeship standard must be approved for development by the Institute of Apprenticeships. There can be only one apprenticeship standard for each level of practice and each role.
Three expressions of interest were submitted towards the end of 2016, including a joint proposal for diagnostic and therapeutic radiography; a separate one for therapeutic radiography; and a sonography apprenticeship.
When they are developed and approved, these will be the the standards for radiography and sonography in England.
For the radiography submissions, the DfE has invited the two groups to meet and to re-submit a joint proposal.
The work to develop the standard for sonography has started and is being led by Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust.
A level 3 allied health professions therapy support apprenticeship standard has been developed and the Society is working with Skills for Health to possibly evolve the application across imaging and radiotherapy.
An advanced clinical practitioner expression of interest has been approved. This could provide a route into post registration healthcare job roles and career progression for the profession, in addition to existing routes into advanced clinical practice.
This apprenticeship will be supported by access to modules delivered by higher education institutions.
The standards are being developed now and the latest indication is that they will be available for consultation in early summer.
An expression of interest has been submitted for assistant and associate practitioner in mammography.
Who decides what apprenticeships are needed?
Employers decide what skills they require and apprenticeships are developed with education providers to deliver the competencies employers need. An expression of interest is required and must be approved for development. There can be only one standard for each role.
What will apprenticeships offer?
They will improve individuals’ access to work-based learning, increasing social mobility, the transfer of skills, and opportunities for career development. Degree apprenticeships combine university study and workplace learning to allow a full BSc (Hons) to be obtained.
How is the SCoR engaging with the apprenticeship agenda?
We have responded to all the relevant consultations for the profession and officers are working with each of the radiography and sonography trailblazer groups.
We are checking the alignment of the advanced clinical practitioner standard development with the national HEE ACP framework and contributing to work across the AHP groups to help support consistency of apprenticeship development. We continue to work with the Council of Deans of Healthcare to assess the impact of apprenticeships.
Can people take a radiography apprenticeship now?
No, it is too early. Once the standard has been developed, an assessment module will be created and approved, followed by HCPC approval. Then the apprenticeship will be available. This process takes about a year.
Is there going to be an MSc pre-registration apprenticeship?
We are seeing if this will be possible and are working with colleagues from other AHP groups and HEE/Skills for Health.
Is there an advanced practice apprenticeship?
The standard is being developed and should be out for public consultation this Summer.