From education to employment

Higher apprentices celebrate regional healthcare graduation first

Clarete Zvoushe was inspired to change careers and go into healthcare when she became a community volunteer having previously trained in fashion design.

Now she is one of the first higher apprentice graduates of a new pilot training programme in a regional first for healthcare employers in South Yorkshire.

Clarete is one of 68 graduates to have completed the Trainee Assistant Practitioners (TAPs) programme led by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The higher apprentices, also known as TAPs, have achieved the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Diploma at Level 5 with The Sheffield College.

The 18-month qualification helps employers to develop a skilled workforce to support healthcare professionals that better meets the changing health needs of patients.

Now the graduates have celebrated their success, with their families, friends and employers, wearing traditional robes to receive their scrolls at a graduation ceremony held at the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield on November 12th.

Clarete said: “I’m so proud to be amongst the first in the region to graduate from this programme. It’s wonderful to have developed my skills in the workplace and gained a university level qualification at the same time.”

She added: “My career journey began when I was a stay-at-home mum. I started volunteering with lunch clubs, advocacy, nursing homes, youth clubs, conversation clubs and a tenants and residents’ association, which taught me that I loved caring for people.”

“That is what inspired me to go into healthcare,” continued Clarete, who is now working as an Assistant Practitioner on a neurology and hyper acute stroke unit.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust secured the funding for the project from Health Care England and conceived the idea for the training programme.

Karen Jessop, Deputy Chief Nurse, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are proud to have worked with The Sheffield College to develop this role, with many of our trainees now working in departments across the Trust as Assistant Practitioners and using their skills to support our teams and make a difference for patients. Congratulations to all who have completed the course.”

The 68 graduates have trained with eight regional healthcare providers that also include Barnsley General Hospital, BMI Hospitals, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals. Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield and The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal of The Sheffield College, added: “It was a privilege to celebrate the TAPs’ graduation along with their families, friends and employers, and our teaching staff. It’s very rewarding to see them go further in their careers.”

The TAPs support registered nurses, theatre staff and healthcare scientists to deliver patient care by taking on specific tasks and caseloads in specialist wards and clinical departments. They assess, plan, implement and evaluate care for patients under the direct supervision of a registered healthcare professional.

Their role bridges the skills gap between an experienced health care assistant and a registered nurse, and is a stepping stone to nurse training resulting in a recognised qualification and confirming the employers’ commitment to investing in their staff.

The qualification has enabled the TAPs to progress with their careers in the workplace with some going onto a full or part-time nursing or paramedic practice degrees at university.

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