Innovative Scheme Helps Secure Radiotherapy Future
11 October 2018 Local News
UHNM is helping to secure the future of radiotherapy services in the area by nurturing home-grown engineering talent. The hospital launched an innovative and bespoke radiotherapy engineering degree apprenticeship scheme recently and has now been given the award of ‘Best Large Apprentice Employer 2018’ by Newcastle-under-Lyme College, who partnered the programme. Students embark on a five-year journey to Degree and are mentored by engineering staff at UHNM as they train in the maintenance and calibration of essential radiotherapy equipment.
Craig Edwards, Radiotherapy Engineer, said: “The apprentice program was developed because we found attracting appropriately qualified engineers exceptionally difficult. This led Nick Wright, our Medical Technical Officer, to contact Newcastle-under-Lyme College and develop an apprentice engineer programme to help alleviate the growing problem. Before recruiting an apprentice, Nick presented the role to students at the college and arranged open evenings for students, college lecturers and parents. He also organised work experience placements for students before a formal interview so that only high-quality applications from candidates who were excited by the programme were recruited. As a result of Nick’s diligence, our current apprentice is dedicated to the profession and has become an outstanding member of the team. The process developed by Nick has proven to be so comprehensive and successful that we have expanded it by employing a further two apprentices. Moreover, Nick’s selection process is even being used as a blueprint by the college for new apprentice employers.”
Nick has been given the Employee of the Month award in recognition of his outstanding contribution.
Nick said: “I am pleased that my work has been recognised in this way, but the really important thing is that this programme has helped to put UHNM on the map. The NHS is not just about doctors and nurses, it relies on having many other types of skilled staff to keep it ticking over. We knew there was a real need to grow and train talent in our own area because it can be very difficult to recruit people further down the line. The role of Radiotherapy Engineer is a highly skilled one and we now have three apprentices and four senior engineers on our team. This is a fantastic result and will help to ensure the people of Staffordshire and surrounding areas are properly looked after by well-trained staff in the future. “