Patients in East Sussex are set to benefit from a project where NHS staff take on new apprenticeships, after the East Sussex College Group teamed up with Brighton & Hove Albion FC and NHS East Sussex Training Hub to support internal training in local GP practices.

Sussex Skills Solutions, the apprenticeship and training arm of East Sussex College, has launched the new apprenticeship project in collaboration with East Sussex Training Hub, the NHS team overseeing training for GP practices, and Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

The project will see existing NHS staff take on new apprenticeship roles in February and March. These consist of five Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprentices, two Level 3 Business Administrator apprentices, two Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager apprentices, and one Level 3 Team Leader-Supervisor apprentice.

Dee Kellett, Primary Care Workforce Tutor on behalf of the NHS East Sussex Training Hub, said: “Training Hubs are multi-disciplinary networks of health, local authority and education providers with the purpose of providing sustainable workforce transformation, in primary care. We aim to develop all members of the primary care workforce so that they have the right skills to meet the evolving needs of patients. We hope that this programme will encourage staff retention through career progression providing a recognised career pathway in primary care. We are delighted Brighton & Hove Albion FC are supporting Primary Care by funding a cohort of apprenticeships. BHAFC is allowed to transfer 25% of this funding to smaller employers, and has done exactly this, allocating funding to GP practices in East Sussex.”

Rose Read, Brighton & Hove Albion’s head of People and Culture, said: “When we heard of the opportunity to transfer our levy funding, via East Sussex College, we were delighted to be involved. Over the next two years or so we are keen to see how all the apprentices’ progress. As a levy employer, we are keen to help support other local employers so that the community has access to training opportunities.”

It comes at a welcome time, after the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for the NHS and there is a need for more healthcare support workers and nurses. The 10 apprentices will continue their role working in practices, while gaining the apprenticeship qualification through Sussex Skills Solutions at East Sussex College. Those who do not have GCSE Maths and English, are also supported in achieving Functional Skills alongside their apprenticeships.

Stephen Burkes, Director of Sussex Skills Solutions said: “We are so pleased to be working in partnership, with Brighton & Hove Albion FC and the NHS East Sussex Training Hub to support local GP surgeries, during this challenging time. We believe the qualifications will not only help the apprentices with their future career prospects, but also help them thrive in their existing job roles. Our qualified assessors, are experts in their fields and we look forward to helping the apprentices gain all the relevant skills, knowledge and behaviours to succeed in their careers.”