UK’s first degree apprenticeships in physiotherapy and occupational therapy

Sheffield Hallam University will become the first institution in the UK to offer degree apprenticeships in physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

From April, current and aspiring physiotherapists and occupational therapists will have the opportunity to gain a degree while working as the first apprentices start the 30-month course.

As part of Sheffield Hallam’s National Centre of Excellence for Degree Apprenticeships (NCEDA), the apprentices will attend a series of study blocks throughout the year within the University’s award-winning teaching facilities with the remaining time being spent applying their learning in the workplace.

The new courses have been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council as well as by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

The employer’s apprenticeship levy or co-funding will cover the course fees and the apprentices will receive a salary as they learn.

The intensive courses have been designed in consultation with employers from primary and secondary care, local government and the private sector across Yorkshire and the Humber, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

They include an integrated end-point assessment which checks that the employee meets the apprenticeship standard and is ready to join the profession with full occupational competence.

Graduates are eligible to apply to register with the HCPC and can apply to become members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Sheffield Hallam’s NCEDA is one of the UK’s leading providers of degree apprenticeships, working with over 270 employers. Apprenticeship courses are available within a range of sectors including construction, engineering, health and social care and cross sector in digital/IT, leadership and management.

Over the next academic year, the University will welcome its 1,000th apprentice and is on target to host over 2,000 apprentices by the end of 2020.

Courses are developed in consultation with key partners, including industry leaders, SMEs, and the Local Enterprise Partnership and employers such as Network Rail, Rolls Royce, JCB and Nestle are already working with the NCEDA, which was officially opened by Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP in November last year.

Conor Moss, Director of NCEDA, said: “Degree apprenticeships provide more routes to success for more people, particularly in regions with traditionally low productivity. Our courses are designed to address skills gaps in priority sectors – helping to drive regional and national economic growth.

“At a time when the health sector faces a workforce crisis, these two new degree apprenticeships in physiotherapy and occupational therapy are a unique opportunity for health sector employers to recruit new, career-ready professionals or develop the skills and capabilities of their existing workforce.”

Sheffield Hallam is the largest provider of health and social care education in England with more than 8,000 students qualifying as healthcare professionals from Sheffield Hallam in the last five years. 

With courses covering all aspects of healthcare including: nursing, midwifery, allied health, social care and sport, its curriculum creates the skilled workforce the NHS needs to deliver better long-term health outcomes for the nation.

Health professional trainees benefit from an interdisciplinary teaching approach, working with partners and academics who are leaders in their fields. The University’s partnerships with hospital trusts, social care providers and leading health charities, provides around 20,000 placement opportunities for Sheffield Hallam’s healthcare students each year. 

Ruth Allarton, head of Sheffield Hallam’s department for allied health professions, said: “These new degree apprenticeships are an exciting development for the physiotherapy and occupational therapy professions. The fact Sheffield Hallam is the first university in the country to run these courses is an example of how we can use our extensive expertise in healthcare and longstanding partnerships to provide employers with an additional route to train registered health care professionals or attract new talent to the healthcare workforce.”


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