Today marks the close of National Apprenticeship Week, the annual celebration of apprenticeships across England.
The University of Northampton runs several apprenticeship programmes with a new one – MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) – starting this very week.
Laura Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Practice Development, runs ACP at the University and writes here about why ACP is valuable for apprentices, the NHS, patients and why this programme is important.
The MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) apprenticeship programme started this week, a timely moment given that the national spotlight has been focused on apprenticeships.
It is a postgraduate programme offered to healthcare professionals working towards an ACP role in clinical environments. The apprenticeship equips them with the key skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to independently manage defined episodes of clinical care whilst demonstrating expertise within their scope of practice.
Our apprenticeship route was developed to meet local and national demands of a changing NHS, the private and independent sector healthcare workforce, with the development of ACPs identified within the long-term NHS plan.
We have 2 routes – prescribing and a non-prescribing – for those apprentices who are not required to obtain a non-medical prescribing qualification for their roles.
At UON, apprentices can learn from practitioners who already work as ACPs in clinical practice as well as academic lecturers. They also have access to our clinical skills laboratories and Virtual Reality simulation kits to enhance their development as clinicians while in a safe environment.
Apprentices attend the University or undertake other clinically relevant ‘on-the-job’ training for one day a week where they are able to participate in core learning relevant to the apprenticeship standards.
Something that is very attractive about apprenticeships to older students is it combines higher and vocational education and the apprenticeship offers a learning environment that fits around work and family commitments.
There are also benefits for employers. They can levy funds following identification that apprenticeships can develop highly motivated professionals, offering employers the chance to provide greater opportunities to their own staff, investing in them to not only ‘grow and develop their own’ but increase staff satisfaction and retention.
It’s early days for the ACP apprenticeship here at the University, but the signs are already there that studying for it is a ‘win win’ for all.
Find out more about the ACP apprenticeship and others at University of Northampton.