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Apprenticeship pilot accelerates qualification and recruitment journey for Biomedical Scientists

A Healthcare Science pilot hosted by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust aims to reduce the amount of time it takes students to become registered as Biomedical Scientists with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If successful, this pilot could demonstrate a novel alternative to the traditional placement model for Biomedical Science students.

The Level 6 Healthcare Science Practitioner Apprenticeship pilot model, developed in partnership with Coventry University and Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Services (CWPS), offers candidates paid work as they work towards their qualifications and covers the fees of the final year of their degree.

The pilot includes completion of the final year modules of their Accredited Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) degree, the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Registration Portfolio, paid hands-on experience in a professional laboratory and an end-point assessment (EPA).

Through the combination of the degree modules and IBMS Registration Portfolio, this apprenticeship replaces the need for successful applicants to undergo a ‘Sandwich year’ on their journey to becoming registered as Biomedical Scientists.

Launching in September 2022, this specific pilot model has recruited a candidate within five different departments:

  • Biochemistry
  • Haematology
  • Histology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology and Molecular Pathology

These candidates were eligible for the Level 6 Healthcare Science Practitioner Apprenticeship pilot following completion of their second year of the accredited Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) degree with at least 240 credits.

A candidate’s final year of study forms part of the apprenticeship model and their fees for that year are covered through the Apprenticeship Levy.

Candidates are also employed within a clinical laboratory throughout the duration of the pilot as a Band 4 Associate Practitioner. Upon successful completion of the 18-month programme, candidates will be offered the opportunity for substantive recruitment as Band 5 Biomedical Scientists.

The Level 6 Healthcare Science Practitioner Apprenticeship pilot also promises handful of benefits for employers.

On a standard Level 6 Apprenticeship, employers have been known to hold a vacancy for three to four years as opposed to the pilot’s target of 18 months which will introduce a valuable pipeline of qualified Biomedical Scientists within a faster timeframe, reducing vacancies; potentially saving on bank and locum staffing costs.

Additionally, it’s predicted by further strengthening this relationship between the university and local professional laboratory, there will opportunity for further models to support students gaining the required skills and experience whilst supporting local laboratory services.

Ruth Yosef, Biomedical Associate Practitioner at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, said:

“I feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity,” said Ruth Yosef, Biomedical Associate Practitioner. “Having my tuition fees paid for and being given paid experience is a laboratory is such a big positive.”

“I was planning to complete the IBMS Registration Training Portfolio after graduating, but this is a quicker path to gain both my qualification and registration. On top of that, I’m improving my professional skills as I’m working alongside Biomedical Scientists in a professional laboratory.

“Throughout this apprenticeship, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many talented individuals who are willing to take the time to help me progress professionally. This has helped open me up to the different roles which are within the umbrella of ‘biomedical science’ and I’m interested in pursuing these even further.

“I’ve received useful support from members of staff at the University and in the laboratory. They’re always on hand to offer support and guidance whenever it’s required.”

Rachel Cleaton, Pathology Practice Education Coordinator for Midlands and East 4 Pathology Network, added:

“This apprenticeship pilot offers a chance to explore a novel approach to the Level 6 apprenticeship which holds benefits for employers whilst providing a golden opportunity to attract talented individuals whom we can retain locally.”

Dr Rebecca Butler, Head of the School of Life Sciences at Coventry University, said:

“Given that apprentices are in a paid role this enables students that are unable to take an unpaid sandwich year placement access to HCPC registration and therefore access to the profession upon graduation.

“This is essential for widening participation and enabling people from low-socioeconomic backgrounds to access the profession in a timely manner."


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