The dental nurse workforce is set to grow by 6.6% between now and 2024, creating 4,200 jobs across the West Midlands. Practices can speak to College’s employer responsive team about how to meet their skills needs through apprenticeship and continuous professional development courses.
The apprenticeship provides a balance between professional experience and flexible study. Most apprentices stay on with their employer, continue training and go into higher education. This enables them to progress onto careers as a dental therapist, dental hygienist, orthodontic therapist and many more.
The Smile Works based in Telford and Wolverhampton has successfully invested in apprenticeships since 2013. Five nurses have completed training and three are currently on programmes.
Millie Carter, a former apprentice who is now a dental nurse and the practice’s Training and Data Protection Officer explained: “Taking on apprentices benefits a practice no end, particularly by keeping them up to date with the latest training that nurses receive.
“Our dental nurses are encouraged to continue their development after their apprenticeship. Two nurses have also gone on to senior roles, which is fantastic. This isn’t something that would necessarily be possible without the apprenticeship acting as a foundation for their professional expertise.”
Sue Williams, Practice Manager at New Road Dental is also an apprenticeship advocate.
The Bromsgrove-based practice has two apprentices undergoing training and two former apprentices that are registered nurses.
“Ours is a demanding practice with high standards,” she commented. “We train our apprentices to develop the commitment, professionalism and interpersonal skills to match their clinical skills. If an apprentice ever struggles with a task, we work with the college to find an alternative way for them to develop their knowledge. Making the transition to registered nurse is easier then because they have the experience and understand the requirements of the role.”