NEAS climbs the ranks

Wednesday, 05 July, 2023

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has been recognised by the government as one of the country’s top apprenticeship employers.

The annual rankings, produced by the Department of Education in partnership with High Fliers Research, list the businesses with the most successful apprentice programmes across the country.  

The service, which employs more than 3,200 people, including 268 apprentices, and serves a population of 2.7million people across the North East, is one of only four NHS organisations to make it into this year’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers, and has climbed up 15 places to be ranked 65 this year.

Employers are ranked not just on the number of apprentices they take on, but for their commitment to diversity and apprenticeship achievements.

The Trust also holds a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating for apprenticeship training and education.

Karen O’Brien, Director of People and Development, said: “We’re committed to making NEAS a great place to work, and offering opportunities for our employees to grow and develop is a key part of this.

“The whole team who play a part in apprenticeship delivery from recruitment, safeguarding, education, pastoral support and mentoring are incredibly passionate and dedicated in supporting our employees to deliver an excellent patient focussed service to the people and communities across the North East. This is well-deserved recognition for them all.”

The 268 apprentices currently employed at NEAS work in a variety of roles, including:

  • 188 on the ambulance support worker apprenticeship, training to become ambulance care assistants or clinical care assistants whilst working on the patient transport or emergency ambulance vehicles.
  • 60 on the internal paramedic apprenticeship course
  • 20 colleagues on a variety of other apprenticeships across the organisation

Apprenticeship courses offered through NEAS currently have a 100% pass rate, with a 34% distinction rate.

Karen Gardner, Assistant Director of People Development, added: “Apprenticeships were traditionally seen as something that was only for school leavers at career entry level but they have come on so far over the last few years and are now undertaken by people of all ages and at all levels to help our people progress throughout their career.

“To be one of only four NHS organisations in the top 100 nationally – and to have climbed so many spaces over the last year – is a fantastic achievement, and is testament to the efforts of our teams behind the scenes. I’m very proud of them all.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “Congratulations to all the employers which have been recognised for their brilliant apprenticeship programmes.

“My apprenticeship was my golden ticket to a successful business career. These employers in sectors from digital, childcare and healthcare recognise the benefits apprentices can bring to their business, helping to create a talent pipeline and filling skills gaps to grow the economy.  I would encourage all businesses - no matter what size or sector - to follow their lead.”

All NEAS vacancies are available to view on NHS Jobs:

Here are just some of the recent feedback we have had from our apprentices:

  • “I'm a very practical person so doing a practical based course of study is far better for me than, say another degree. I learn better by experiences, so this ticked a lot of boxes for me.”
  • “There's so much I like about working for NEAS. I like the fact that there's room for progression. The training school is fantastic, and they support you all the way through the apprenticeship. And my colleagues, they are the people that make NEAS a great place to work, they're caring and passionate and support you on the road, especially when you're new."
  • “In my opinion coming in at the apprenticeship level is the best way to learn the core skills involved with working on the ambulance, as well as an understanding of NEAS as whole through a mix of classroom and work experience.”
  • "I like working at NEAS because of all the ways they've helped me better myself as an individual and grown my self-confidence which helps me deliver the best care I can to patients. I feel part of the bigger picture and work well in the team."
  • “Whilst studying this apprenticeship I have been able to build my confidence both within my role and self-belief. I also appreciate the help and support from my peers, mentors and tutors who are always on hand to guide me in the right direction.”
  • “There is a great work ethic, and the staff are all very supportive of each other. NEAS is like one big family and from my short time here, I feel I can go to anybody with any issues and they are always willing to help."

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