The medical imaging team at the University of Exeter were delighted to launch the diagnostic radiographer degree apprenticeship recently, welcoming 29 apprentices representing 17 hospital trusts nationwide for their first campus week.
The apprentices are all embedded in radiology departments working within hospital trusts for 80% of their contracted hours, and studying using virtual learning resources for the remainder of the time.
They are supported by workplace and academic mentors from the university. The programme has been designed to include three campus weeks a year to build a community between the apprentices and the academic team. In 36 months they will be fully qualified with a BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging.
In response to demand from trusts to extend the opportunity to junior members of radiology staff, supported by the Apprenticeship Levy, the programme is currently taking two cohorts a year and entry is now open for September 2020 start.
"The launch of the degree apprenticeship as a new pathway into the profession is very exciting," said Elaine Pavell, impact partnership development officer, University of Exeter.
"The programme team is committed to helping to increase the number of qualified radiographers around the country."
Emily Thresher, at Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust, commented, "I previously graduated with a science degree, but there were no job opportunities. The radiographer degree apprenticeship programme has given me a further opportunity to continue my studies, knowing that at the end there will be a job accessible straight away.
"Also, as a mature student I am able to study and work at the same time while being paid as an employee with the bonus of not having the added university debt usually incurred studying for a degree.”
Alexandra Evans, an apprentice at University Hospital North Midlands NHS Trust, said, “There were no development options in my previous role and with general adult responsibilities, being a full time student would never have been right for me.
"This opportunity allows me study and earn a wage at the same time. I can progress in my career, reaching a higher potential and hopefully become a fully-fledged radiographer with endless progression and career possibilities.”