Celebrations as Ofsted inspects Oxford Health’s career-forging apprenticeship programme.

Celebrations as Ofsted inspects Oxford Health’s career-forging apprenticeship programme.

Apprentices benefit from substantial new knowledge and skills, found Ofsted inspectors.

Oxford Health apprentices and tutors are celebrating after the trust’s apprenticeship programme was commended by Ofsted. The programme includes routes into working in healthcare for local people, as well as opportunities for staff to advance their practice and careers.

Inspectors found apprentices are benefiting from new knowledge and skills and praised the integrity of tutors.

They found Oxford Health has a clear strategy to use apprenticeships to boost the number and skills of staff providing and supporting care for people in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Swindon and North East Somerset.

Oxford Health apprenticeship’s programme gives staff the chance to earn while they learn and is open to people at all stages of their career and at any age.

Inspectors toured the trust’s learning and development department in October, speaking to trainers and apprentices about their experience, for the programme’s first inspection.

The trust was said to be making “reasonable progress” in all theme areas.

Inspectors found apprentices at Oxford Health:

  • develop substantial new knowledge, skills and behaviours and use these well to make progress in their jobs and take on additional responsibilities
  • gain promotion as a result of the skills and knowledge they have developed
  • receive their full entitlement to off-the-job training

Inspectors praised the trust’s Learning and Development staff who they found:

  • recruit apprentices with integrity
  • ensured apprentices participated in a programme which matched their needs
  • reflect effectively on their own practice and use feedback from apprentices to make changes to the programme

Helen Green, director of education and development at the trust, said: “This is as a result of the efforts of all the team in Learning and Development so I would like to thank them all for their contributions not just on the day but every day when we continue to provide high quality development opportunities to the staff at Oxford Health.”

Developing our staff

Apprenticeships are for everyone of all ages and experience and enable people to earn while they learn.

The trust launched its apprenticeship scheme in 2017 and welcomed its first group of apprentice staff in January 2018

Apprentices receive training from experts in their fields, developing skills to have a better career in our mental health and community services. Apprenticeships range from senior healthcare support to business administration and operational manager – some courses last 15 months and others up to two years.

Jo Selwood, healthcare assistant in the district nursing team at Abingdon, is inspired to become a nurse after completing her senior healthcare apprenticeship. She said: “I’ve enjoyed learning whilst working and learning more about the things I do day to day. It’s helped me in my role and I want to go onto the nursing associate course afterwards and become a nurse.”

Jane Szluha, administration manager at Luther Street GP surgery in Oxford, is taking part in the Level 3 team leader/supervision apprenticeship. She said: “I’ve learned additional skills and knowledge from the apprenticeship and it is something that will help people develop.”

Anyone who already works with us and finds there isn’t an existing course that interests them, can talk to their manager. Our apprenticeship team can work with them to find an apprenticeship that is right for them.

Our Nurse Associate Trainee course has 60 places and is open to external and internal applicants. Currently all our other apprenticeships are only open to people once they join the trust.


Apprenticeships currently available

Our apprenticeships all have protected learning time as well as on the job training.

For more information about our apprenticeships email apprenticeships@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.

How do Ofsted inspect and evaluate?

The Ofsted inspection evaluated the trust’s apprenticeship programme across three themes:

  • how much progress have leader made in ensuring the provider is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision?;
  • what progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring apprentices benefit from high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes for apprentices?;
  • how much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring effective safeguarding arrangements are in place?

Oxford Health’s programme was awarded a “reasonable progress” rating– the mid-point of Ofsted’s three- scale judgement grading:

  • insufficient progress: progress has been either slow or insubstantial or both, and the demonstrable impact on learners has been negligible
  • reasonable progress: action taken by the provider is already having a beneficial impact on learners and improvements are sustainable and are based on the provider’s thorough quality assurance procedures
  • significant progress: progress has been rapid and is already having considerable beneficial impact on learners.


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Published: 13 November 2019