The healthcare industry faces a growing skills gap, and delivering high-quality patient care is becoming increasingly challenging. Many healthcare organisations struggle to find qualified professionals to meet the sector’s demands. The shortage of these workers makes it harder to offer the services our society needs.
But what if there was a solution?
Healthcare apprenticeships, such as the Level 3 Health and Social Care Apprenticeship, offer a unique opportunity for individuals to learn on the job while earning a wage. They also come with various benefits for the organisation.
If you are wondering how apprenticeships could help the healthcare sector, take a look and see how they can be a potential solution to this ongoing problem.
1) The Healthcare Skills Gap: An Overview of the Problem
Part of the issue with the skills gap is that the healthcare sector is understaffed, impacting the people currently working within that industry.
Compared with other countries within the EU, England has fewer doctors per 1000 people, meaning the ones we do have work for an additional 11-12 hours weekly.
Also, before Brexit, the country relied on European workers within the healthcare sector. However, new restrictions have meant people were forced to leave England, with a need for more staff left in their wake.
Talent was being drained in this sector even before the Coronavirus pandemic, but the arrival of Covid-19 exacerbated the issue.
Researchers found that many staff members working in intensive care units (ICU) met the criteria for a mental health disorder during the winter influx of Covid-19 cases in January – February 2021. These disorders included anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mental health disorders can affect staff retention and absences within a company.
With experienced professionals retiring early and new doctors and nurses needing years to become qualified, the healthcare industry suffers from a skills gap.
2) Advantages of using apprenticeships to address the skills gap
Apprentices, by nature, learn the skills they require whilst working within the relevant sector, meaning healthcare apprentices will be developing the required skills in a healthcare setting.
Their apprenticeships can also help a person to focus on training for a specific type of role or in a particular niche, meaning when they are qualified, they have the necessary skills for that job. For example, an Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship would enable a person to qualify as an Adult Care Worker.
Not only that, but apprentices also offer benefits to their specific company. They can lower staff turnover, as they are more likely to remain with the organisation that provided the apprenticeship. Apprentices can also increase overall productivity within a workplace.
Some apprenticeships offer End Point Assessments (EPA), such as the Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship. These apprenticeships provide on-the-job training and are crucial to train the next generation of healthcare staff to do the required tasks.
3) The Future of Healthcare Apprenticeships and Their Role in Closing the Skills Gap
The reduced number of employees from other European countries after Brexit currently contributes to the staff shortages within this industry. However, it offers a potential wealth of opportunities for future staff with the vast amount of jobs available.
There are already lots of apprenticeships within this industry. With how much they could benefit the NHS, the relevant organisations need to endorse apprenticeships within the healthcare sector so the skills gap can shrink and the staff numbers can increase.
There are solutions available to the skills gap within the healthcare sector. We just need to promote them so they can support the nation’s needs.