Oxford Health hosted a joint training week last month to mark the start of a new apprenticeship collaboration.

Oxford Health has long offered an apprenticeship programme to current and prospective staff members to help people interested in a healthcare career work while they earn their qualifications. In 2017 we expanded these course offerings to include a two-year nursing associate trainee apprenticeship designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills relevant to employment as a nursing associate.

Now, following the successful pilot run of the nursing associate trainee programme, Oxford Health is collaborating with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) to add a new element to the training.

This summer the nursing associate trainee programmes at Oxford Health and OUH have introduced a buddy programme designed to enhance the experience of trainees in both programmes.

Nursing associate trainees from both trusts have been assigned a ‘buddy’ who they will shadow one day each month; OUH trainees at Oxford Health sites one day, and Oxford Health trainees at OUH sites another. This will allow the trainees to gain experience in an external organisation, familiarising themselves with the nursing associate role and a giving a broader understanding of the position in different contexts.

Victoria Drew, learning and development lead at Oxford Health, said: “We are excited to be a part of this initiative which will give trainees from both trusts the opportunity to gain valuable and varied experience in diverse settings.

“We want our trainees to have as many opportunities to learn and develop their skills as possible, and this buddy system will ensure everyone leaves the programme more well-rounded.”

room full of people listening to powerpoint presentationTo kick off the initiative, which is running from April to August this year, Oxford Health hosted a week-long collaborative training session for over 70 nursing associate trainees last month to share learning between the two trusts and provide insight into work-based areas, patient groups and treatment approaches.

The training week saw four days of sessions hosted by Oxford Health and OUH staff with an aim to extend learning opportunities, reduce pressure on work environments and allow the nursing associate trainees to explore areas of both trusts where they may have an interest in working.

Stuart Lamb, a nursing associate trainee at Oxford Health, said: “It has been really useful to connect with my peers to reflect and discuss our experiences.

“My favourite part of the nursing associate trainee programme is the opportunity it provides. My ambition is to get my professional registration, and this acts as a pathway.”

Learn more about the nursing associate trainee programme.