A second cohort of radiography apprentices has joined the workforce at a Wolverhampton trust.
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), which operates three sites in the area, has welcomed six new recruits to its paid training programme, which offers an equivalent BSC honours degree in Diagnostic Radiography at the end of the three-year course.
According to the trust, 160 people initially applied for places on the scheme, who were then whittled down to a shortlist of 30 applicants, with 24 being interviewed before the final six were accepted.
The new cohort includes a range of age groups and backgrounds, including five mature students and one A-level graduate.
Sharon Dhadda, radiology workforce lead said: “This apprenticeship is like a golden ticket because it’s so popular – it trains people for a career and it helps us to attract and retain staff because people can see an investment in them.
“Also, if they work towards and gain a qualified position here, they are more likely to stay. If we put the effort in, I know we’re going to have fantastic radiographers, and we can see that with our second years.”
From left: Keely Walker, Simon M Kimberley, Nick Bird, Charlotte Purcell and Amy Babb (Pic: RWT)
Aleema Bibi, 25, a first-year apprentice from Dudley, swapped radiography for her career as a nursery nurse.
She said: “I always wanted to go into healthcare and work with machines.
“I have a background of working with people and meeting their individual needs so I felt diagnostic radiography was a good way to combine both with patient care.”
Nick Bird, 34, a second-year from Fallings Park, was a healthcare assistant for seven years in the emergency department at New Cross Hospital.
“It was a big opportunity for me,” he said. “It’s been tough going back into education but I really enjoy the work. To anyone starting this, I’d say ‘be assertive, speak up and get stuck in’ – once people can see you’re there to work they’re really keen to help you.”
Around 80 per cent of the apprenticeship is done in a hospital setting, with placements at New Cross, Cannock Chase Hospital and Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital.
The remainder involves studying at Keele University, with online lectures supplemented by six face-to-face sessions per year.
Ms Dhadda and Davina Abbott, lead clinical educator in the Radiology Department at RWT, have helped create the content of the apprenticeship.
“We’re not only making sure they are well-rounded radiographers but we’re nurturing them to become leaders,” said Ms Abbott.
The six people follow half dozen who started RWT’s first radiography apprenticeship a year ago and are all into their second year.
More than 100 staff have been recruited to RWT’s Radiology Department in the last 18 months following substantial investment in the service.