Apprenticeships – Allied Health Professionals
Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) provide frontline healthcare and treatment to help rehabilitate patients who are ill, have disabilities or have special needs, to live life as fully as possible.
Through adopting a holistic approach to healthcare, AHPs are able to help manage patients’ care throughout the life course from birth to palliative care. Their focus is on prevention and improvement of health and wellbeing to maximise the potential for individuals to live full and active lives within their family circles, social networks, education/training and the workplace.
There are 14 different professions within the AHP sector and CUH currently employs people within 11 of these specialties. For more information about these roles at CUH see Where Could I Work? More information can also be found on the NHS pages.
Information is provided below for the AHP apprenticeships at CUH and the academic level for each apprenticeship. For more information about the apprenticeship levels and standards please see Apprenticeships Explained
AHP Career Progression Degree Apprenticeship route
These roles include:
- Operating Department Practitioner (ODP)
- Occupational Therapist
- Diagnostic Radiographer
There is more information about these apprenticeships further down.
How it works:
- This degree route apprenticeship enables people to train to become graduate registered professionals. It combines work and part time study in a higher education institute (university) and practice placements at CUH.
- Those undertaking these apprenticeships are employed in clinical support roles (Theatre Support Workers, or support roles within Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy).
- The core salary for these apprenticeships combine the CUH career/degree progression rate and the employee’s current pay band, usually band 2 (if current staff are paid a higher rate CUH will consider personal pay protection).
- Permanent employment in a clinical support role
- Access to the professional degree programmes
- University course fees paid by CUH (earn, learn and no debt)
- Paid leave for academic study and practice placement
- Support throughout your employment and training
- Promotion to the professional band 5 role, subject to registration with the HPCC
Operating specialised mammography equipment safely and within standard operating procedures to produce high quality mammography images. Mammography Associates work within the breast imaging workforce undertaking routine two-view mammography (x-ray images of breasts). You will work in a multi-disciplinary team within a hospital or in a community setting (e.g. mobile breast screening units, medical centres), undertaking mammography of individuals as part of a breast screening programme.
You will also be able to undertake routine mammography on individuals with symptoms of breast disease. You will have a good understanding of breast anatomy, physiology and pathology, including clinical signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and be able to apply knowledge of ionising radiation regulations.
The apprenticeship that goes alongside this role is a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4).
You will mainly work in operating departments/theatres. You will work alongside other professionals (such as doctors and nurses) and take a lead role in ensuring a patient is safe during each stage. ODPs must continually make professional decisions to ensure the patient receives the best care before, during and after their surgery.
ODPs also ensure that the operating theatre environment is safe and effective and therefore have expertise in the management of specialist equipment and materials in a highly technical environment, for example handling surgical instruments, checking anaesthetic equipment, moving patients and giving medication.
You must demonstrate confidence, compassion, competence and effective judgement; being responsible for your decisions. You must use evidence based practice to inform & evaluate the effectiveness of the actions you take with the aim of continually improving outcomes for patients.
Operating Department Practitioner
Occupational Therapy is a rewarding career which entails working with individuals to enable them to participate in meaningful occupations and activities of everyday life.
As a career, Occupational Therapists require a highly developed knowledge and professional skill-set enabling them to work across a range of settings and environments, ranging from birth to end of life. Occupational Therapists work in many settings, including health organisations, social care services, housing, education, voluntary organisations, or as independent practitioners.
They also work in a wide variety of specialties including working with individuals with physical and mental health conditions, learning disabilities, long-term conditions, palliative care needs. Due to their condition or circumstances, these individuals may have difficulty carrying out their daily activities.
Occupational Therapists are problem solvers who aim to help people to carry out these activities – or ‘occupations’ – that they need to do and want to do by providing ‘practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities that matter to them’ (Royal College of Occupational Therapists 2019).
Physiotherapy is a science-based profession. You will work with individuals, their families and carers, from birth to end of life. You will lead and deliver programmes and interventions to help people affected by injury, ageing, illness or disability.
Physiotherapists use a range of physical and psychological treatment approaches, including movement, exercise and manual therapy, to optimise an individual’s mobility, function and quality of life. You will also provide education about health and wellbeing and provide specific advice that can be applied to everyday activities to manage and reduce the risk of pain or injury.
The profession helps to encourage development and facilitate recovery, enabling people to remain independent for as long as possible.
As a Physiotherapist, you will practice as an autonomous, independent practitioner, while contributing strongly to team-working. You will work with people who may present with complex and challenging problems resulting from multiple illnesses, injury or disability.
Davina - Occupational Therapy Degree Apprentice
Davinia joined CUH in 2017 as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and in 2019 started her degree apprenticeship to become a qualified Occupational Therapist (OT). Before joining the hospital Davinia was already working in patient care.
Background and Role
Davinia started training to be a nurse when she left school but decided not to complete the course, instead working as a healthcare assistant in the NHS and gaining her health and social care level 3. Davinia also gained an Assessor qualification to assess others in health and social care. She later worked as a support worker for people with learning disabilities before moving to CUH at the hope she could eventually study the OT degree whilst working.
Davinia works within stroke rehab as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at Addenbrookes Hospital. This role includes working under the direction of an Occupational Therapist carrying out a treatment plan to deliver interventions to help patients with their recovery.
Occupational therapy looks at what aspects patient’s need, want and are expected to do on a daily basis at home. Rehabilitation involves physical and cognitive therapy, using everyday tasks and activities such as washing & dressing, transfers (getting in/out of bed), making a snack or meal, group therapy (breakfast group, music group, baking group, gardening group etc.) and any other activities that are important to the patient. This could also be to continue a hobby that a patient had prior to their stroke like painting or playing a musical instrument. It also involves considering strategies or equipment to help patients manage daily tasks when leaving hospital. And lastly Occupational therapy promotes mental health well-being, addresses any emotional and psychological struggles patients may have. Overall Occupational therapy focuses on enabling patients to maximise their capacity to participate in life activities that are important and meaningful to them to promote overall health and wellbeing.
How does the Apprenticeship Work?
This Apprenticeship includes working in the job role as a banded member of staff well as studying the Occupational Therapy Degree Apprenticeship for four years. The Degree is through Coventry University and the course participants are a number of OT apprentices who work in a mixture of settings nationally.
In usual times the course includes attending the University onsite one full day per week. The day includes a mixture of lectures, workshops and seminars. The students study two modules per semester. Work is submitted in assignments which can include group or individual assignments and oral assessments. They are also assessed through giving presentations, contributing to online forum discussions and written reflections.
Davinia’s course assessor and manager meet with her together in a tri-party meeting at regular intervals. Also within the department there are many colleagues who offer support to Davinia in her learning and she also has a dedicated mentor in the team.
Davinia’s managers will consider her study workload and give additional study time, if and when needed.
How has the Covid-19 Pandemic affected the Role?
Some of the activities they would usually do with patients such as group therapy sessions have had to stop in the worst parts of the pandemic. At times Davinia has also needed to work with a different set of patients from different areas.
The University course has all moved online. It is more challenging managing time to view recorded online lectures which need to be done separately to the allocated study day. Study days now consist of around five hours of remote workshops and seminars in a day which can be more difficult to concentrate in than face to face ones, however the plus side is there is not the travelling requirement. The key is to time manage well.
What are the benefits of studying through the apprenticeship route?
“I get to work with other health professionals who can support and guide me and have a broad experience learning the basic duties. I will come out of the university degree without the debt and get a paid salary in the role. New staff who come into a qualified role straight from their fulltime university degree can lack broad experience and therefore they sometimes lack confidence. I help to support newly qualified staff as an experienced OT assistant.”
In early 2020 Davinia was nominated by her university lecturer for a university-based apprenticeship award for her good work and participation which she said was a real confidence boost.
What advice would you give to others starting an Apprenticeship?
“Use your colleagues to learn from, ask them questions and observe them. Participate with group learning with other people on the course – it has opened my eyes to different avenues and working environments for Occupational Therapists.
Most of all remember to factor in self-care and rest and manage the workload well as it is a challenge studying and working at the same time.”
Obtaining images of a high diagnostic quality using a range of complex imaging equipment
Typical Apprenticeship Duration:36 months
This occupation is found in all healthcare settings including, primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, independent and private healthcare sectors.
The broad purpose of the occupation is to provide excellent patient care by obtaining images of a high diagnostic quality using a range of high imaging equipment. This will include imaging using x-rays and cross-sectional imaging methods (Computed Tomography or CT), fluoroscopy and Interventional Radiology and will be able to assist in other imaging modalities such as Ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Breast Imaging and Nuclear Medicine. Diagnostic Radiographers work with a broad range of patients, e.g. patients who may have mental and/or physical disabilities or be distressed, children and the terminally ill. They work independently to assess, authorise, obtain consent and undertake individual examination requests for radiography procedures. They will critique images and determine appropriate actions. The work is physically and mentally demanding and involves direct patient contact, which can be of a personal nature.
In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with patients, their careers, members of the public and other healthcare staff e.g. porters, nurses, other allied health professionals, doctors, external contractors, engineers and medical physicists etc. They will primarily work in diagnostic imaging departments in hospitals (inpatients and outpatients), but also provide mobile imaging on Wards, including the Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Unit, Emergency Department and Operating Theatres. Diagnostic Radiographers may also provide imaging in stand- alone satellite units.
An employee in this occupation will be responsible for the safe use of imaging equipment and the safe conduct of examinations, including the radiation protection of patients, themselves, staff and visitors. As registered autonomous practitioners they are accountable both professionally and legally for their own actions and for those operating under their supervision as they deliver safe and compassionate care. Work may be undertaken independently or as part of a team. They may refer to another healthcare professional for advice; however, this may not always be available at night in smaller organisations or in satellite departments. They are expected to contribute to a 24-hour, 7-day week imaging service with varying shift patterns and on call service and, on occasion, may be the sole provider of imaging services for the organisation.