General practice could be using apprenticeships as a means of boosting staff skills and making the most of recent changes in practice such as remote working, according to the Practice Managers Association.
The association, which is offering apprenticeships lasting 18 to 20 months, held a video webinar today, explaining how the scheme works and what businesses could get out of them.
An apprenticeship could help a practice with succession plans, for example, where a manager is due to leave their position, explained PMA head of business development, Kevin Maxfield.
‘There is a myth that apprenticeships are just for young or lower-skilled people,’ said Mr Maxfield. ‘The opposite is true. The vast majority of apprenticeships are for people who are already employed – and it leads all the way up to management and senior levels.’
Generally, apprenticeships are available from levels two to seven, equivalent to GCSE to master’s degree level.
An apprenticeship could either prepare a staff member for ‘a job role they’re already in or one they may be aspiring to,’ he said.
‘We can step in and place somebody onto a management apprenticeship programme and build their knowledge, experience and confidence to make them ready for a handover. That stops the panic and the drop in productivity when somebody exits a business,’ he commented.
‘A lot of changes have taken place in general practice, and the patient interface is largely different. So, we have apprenticeships for receptionists around customer service in a clinical environment. People are getting training in how to deal with patients in that new format, including around telephone techniques or online consultation training,’ he said.
A quarter (98,000) of all apprenticeship starts in England were in health, public services and care in 2018/19, according to a House of Commons report.