Left to right: apprentices Leanne Weaver, Kirsty Morgan; instructor Jo Davey (posing as patient); apprentices Charliey Grove, Rose Dignan from NHS Herefordshire.

The health sector has exceeded its aim to recruit 5,000 public sector apprentices, Health Secretary Andy Burnham has announced.

Last year both the NHS and social care services agreed to provide a major contribution to the Prime Minister’s commitment, made in February 2009, to increase the number of apprenticeships by 21,000 across the public sector. 

Speaking before the NHS National Apprenticeship Conference at Westminister Hall, Andy Burnham said: 

‘I am delighted that we have hit the target to create an extra 5,000 apprentices. Apprenticeships are an excellent way of giving young people the chance to learn life-changing skills and offer a genuine opportunity to train clinical staff.’ 

Minister for Further Education and Skills Kevin Brennan said: 

‘The NHS has shown fantastic support for Apprenticeships, and these figures are a timely reminder of the great success we have seen across the board. 

‘There is now an all-time high completion rate of 71%, with a record 240,000 people starting an Apprenticeship in 2008/9. This is a real sign of confidence in our workforce and shows the great progress we are making on improving skills throughout the country.’ 

Jemima Tevendale, 22, from Kettering, was an NVQ2 apprentice in business administration through Kettering Borough Training’s Apprenticeship Scheme and now works full time at the Trust, and has recently completed her NVQ3. 

Jemima said: 

‘Completing my NVQ with Kettering General Hospital gave me confidence in the workplace. I have become aware of the huge amount of effort it takes to run a hospital and I think it’s a great place to work in.’