In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty highlights the importance of apprentices and our new Life Rooms

Apprenticeship Week

I have often written about the importance of apprentices to this organisation and at the start of National Apprenticeship week, which begins today, I thought I would highlight some of the opportunities available to those within the Mersey Care programme.

Everyone tends to think of NHS apprentices as people training to be nurses, but there are a whole range of different roles available in this programme. They include roles in hospitality, data analyst, software developer, associate in project management, advanced clinical practice and MBA in leadership.

As you can see from the above diagram, Mersey Care remains committed to providing opportunities for the next generation of staff in a variety of different roles. We have developed as an organisation that delivered apprenticeship courses in house prior to 2017 to one that now has direct access to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

This has forced us to change our provision to ensure compliance with funding rules and regulations, but we’re continuing to support the programme, which now includes:

  • 82 apprentices currently on the internal programme levels 2 and 3
  • 20 of which are studying business administrator standard and the remainder are on healthcare and adult care apprenticeships
  • 50 trust staff on apprenticeships are studying with external training providers ranging from levels 2 to 7
  • 10 apprentices are successfully through end point assessment and have secured jobs with the trust
  • 12 level 2 healthcare support workers are also being supported through this process and four of these staff members have been promoted while on the programme.

It’s important to continue to invest in our workforce, so they have the necessary skills and training that will enable them to adapt and thrive as they move forward in their careers, hopefully within the NHS and with Mersey Care.

As a main provider of apprenticeship provision, we’re in a fantastic position to promote our work and provide excellent apprenticeship learning and development programmes for learners. Through our work with external education providers, universities, further education colleges and training companies, we aim to ensure we’re able to offer staff a wide range of learning opportunities. 

Further information about our apprenticeships programme and Vocational Centre can be found on our website and we will be continuing to support National Apprenticeship Week on our social media channels this week.

The Vocational Centre provides good advice and guidance to staff around career progression while we are promoting Mersey Care as a place to work at careers fairs, skills shows and career days at local high schools.


Life Rooms Bootle

We hope another potential source of future employment will be our partnership with Hugh Baird College, which has been finalised this week with the official opening of Life Rooms Bootle as part of the St Winefride’s Campus.

Our new Life Rooms, which follows those established in Walton and Southport, will offer a range of community, social and learning programmes and services to support positive mental health and wellbeing. It also provides safe spaces and welcoming environments, with access to community resources and offers real practical support for those wanting to take the next steps in their life journey, whatever those steps may be.

The Life Rooms will play a key role in supporting Hugh Baird in strengthening the resilience and wellbeing of its student community as well as offering its full range of mental health support to the residents of South Sefton.

Importantly, our partnership with Hugh Baird will see health and education come together to support the social and economic life chances of individuals and communities, which leads to better health outcomes. We believe the impact of this way of working will have a truly transformative effect on the people we serve but also on how health and education services will work together right across the country.

The site was transformed thanks to a £3.9 million investment from the Local Growth Fund and awarded through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund. They have been used to transform the main church into a Health Training Hub and the new campus was officially opened by Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool, alongside Yana Williams, the Principal and Chief Executive of Hugh Baird College and Elaine Darbyshire, our Executive Director of Estates and Communications.