Sue Hodkinson blogs about the importance of Apprenticeships

During National Apprenticeship Week, (6-10 March 2017) a week when the success of apprenticeships across the country is celebrated, we have been determined to show our support for and recognise the contribution made by our apprentices throughout the Trust.   

Our Communications and Learning and Development teams have been out and about this week to find out how our own apprentices are getting on, how they have progressed and where they want to be in the future. There have been many inspiring stories and it is gratifying to know that a large number have secured permanent positions with us. This is exactly what we want to see.

The Countess has recruited apprentices for a number of years, each year growing the number of opportunities available for both new recruits and existing staff who are looking to develop in their career. An apprenticeship is first and foremost a job which comes with substantial training and the development of transferable skills, offering a uniquely valuable opportunity to gain in-work experience, develop industry specific skills and achieve a recognised qualification.

We have over 30 apprentices currently working at The Countess in a range of departments including procurement, access, health records, estates, catering and therapies.

From 6 April this year the Government is set to introduce an apprenticeship levy requiring all employers operating in the UK with a pay bill over £3 million each year to invest in apprenticeships.

This provides us with an exciting opportunity to attract new talent, offer progression to staff, strengthen and diversify our workforce, develop our future talent based on our business needs as well as helping us to find the leaders of the future.

The arguments for the use of apprenticeships is a strong one. We have heard from a number of managers how their team’s morale and motivation has increased by having an apprentice in the team as they have successfully mentored and imparted knowledge to help the apprentice develop.  

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the managers and teams who have supported our apprentices to date. The work you do is so important in helping to develop the next generation of Team Countess.

We are ending #NationalApprenticeshipWeek on a high with our first ever Countess Apprenticeship Awards. If you would like to attend we would love to see you there. Awards include, Apprentice of the Year, Patient Excellence Award and Admin Apprentice of the Year to name just a few.  

If you would like to know more about apprenticeship opportunities, or how you can recruit an apprentice into your team please contact the Learning and Development team or visit:

Best wishes 


Sue Hodkinson is Executive Director of People and Organisational Development at The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Sue Hodkinson



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