Brand-new apprenticeship launched to change the future of rehabilitation training in the UK
The Rehabilitation Assistant Practitioner Apprenticeship course is the first of its kind and combines academic lectures delivered by the university with three six-month placements with the Therapies teams at Nottingham University Hospitals in order to develop a wide variety of skills.
The NRC programme recently received formal Government approval for the £105million plans and so work is now progressing in earnest to create the 70-bed, purpose-built and highly energy efficient new facility as part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme. The specialist NHS facility will be built on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate near Loughborough, home to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre which opened in 2018.
On completing the 18-month apprenticeship, which the NRC commissioned Birmingham City University to create, students will leave with the skills they need to work as an Assistant Practitioner (AP) at the state-of-the-art National Rehabilitation Centre and other healthcare rehabilitation settings.
The role of the Rehab AP was devised to support and enable the NRC to provide an intensive level of rehabilitation, to improve patient outcomes and in-line with international best practice. This intensive model of care will require the APs to work across Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Nursing, bringing therapy into every interaction with the patient and truly embedding the 24-hour rehab model.
Alison Wildt, Service Improvement Lead for the NRC, explained that this apprenticeship was born out of the NRC’s commitment to provide its staff with access to career development opportunities.
This new apprenticeship is part of a ‘skills escalator’ developed by the NRC team, which will provide staff with education and training at all levels, enabling an individual to join the NHS as a Band 2 therapy assistant and work all the way up to an Allied Health Professionals consultant if they wish.
Alison said: “This bespoke Rehab AP apprenticeship has the potential to change the way we train professionals coming into the field of rehabilitation – not just those who want to come and work at the NRC, but for healthcare workers in rehabilitation settings across the UK.
“Birmingham City University were appointed to develop this bespoke apprenticeship due to their willingness to develop a specific course for rehabilitation and they have been a great team to work with.
“We know that training not only nurtures and develops our own workforce, it also demonstrates our commitment to our staff and the value that we see in them and what they can deliver, which ultimately supports with the retention of staff.
“We want to enable continued professional development and for all members of the team to be working to the top of their licence.”
Jodie Bryant, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University School of Health Sciences, said: “This is an extremely exciting partnership that offers a lot of opportunities for staff and students at Birmingham City University.
“Being part of this project has allowed BCU to demonstrate its expertise, agility and willingness to react to the ever-changing demands of the healthcare profession.
“We’re delighted to be working with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and thankful to be a part of this wonderful initiative, which puts rehabilitation front and centre of healthcare.”
The first cohort of the Rehab AP apprenticeship embarked on the debut course in September, and the six individuals are now eight weeks into their first placement.
James Tague, aged 22, is one of these apprentices and is currently on placement with the Daybrook Unit at Nottingham City Hospital which supports with the rehabilitation of stroke patients.
He said: “If someone has suffered an injury then it can affect their physical, mental, and social functions, and our role is to help them find that new normal.
“The key thing is that everyone is different, and so everyone will recover differently and will have different goals.
“It’s a privilege to be part of someone’s rehab and you get to make such a positive difference in helping them to reach their goals. It’s especially rewarding to visually see the progress of their rehab.”
James says that once he’s completed his three placements and comes to the end of the apprenticeship he would love to work at the NRC.
He said: “The NRC can only be a positive thing and it shows how far we’ve come in understanding the importance of rehabilitation.”
“It will be lovely to have a building which has been specifically designed to improve someone’s rehab. In a hospital setting there are always other things going on, so it will be good to be somewhere that patients can focus on their goals and targets, and being a part of that would be really cool.”
The second cohort of apprentices will be recruited in Spring 2024 and will be advertised through our website: Home - National Rehabilitation Centre. These apprentices will also get to train at the NRC when it opens in early 2025.
Notes for editors
- Other hospitals will be able to access the apprenticeship which is being delivered by Birmingham City University, and may decide to run their placements schedule differently to the way NUH is conducting theirs.