Apprenticeships have been in the news again recently with coverage about the value they contribute, alongside our world-class university system.
At Bupa, building a diverse, skilled workforce is a key part of ensuring we are in a strong position to thrive. We are dependent on recruiting and developing highly skilled teams, which makes it a priority for us to attract new talent and encourage employees to build a long-term career with us. This is why, across our business, we believe apprenticeships are critical to building the workforce of the future.
We currently have over 1,000 active apprentices on 24 programmes across the country. This represents six percent of our workforce and we are aiming to see this rise. 77 percent of our apprentices are in front-line roles across our Care Services, Dental and Health Service businesses. By the end of 2019, our investment in apprentices will have increased by 175 percent, from £1.6m in 2017 to £4.4m. It is often assumed that all our apprentices will be school leavers, but the value of the programme is much wider than that – it also offers a route into a new career for people who want to retrain or who are returning to work at a later stage.
We believe that apprenticeships play a fundamental role in supporting our communities, helping us build a diverse workforce and further supporting our business-wide inclusive approach. Two in five of the apprentices in our care homes business are BAME and over 25 percent in our Leadership programmes, compared to 11 percent of all apprentices nationally. We’re also a strong advocate of upskilling and lifelong learning with over 40 percent of Bupa’s apprentices aged over 44 years old.
Apprenticeships are so important to us that we have established an Apprenticeship Board which drives the programme and is populated with leaders from across the business. Across our 125 care homes and eight retirement villages, we have invested almost £900,000 (via the Apprenticeship Levy) to enhance the skills of our healthcare assistants, carers and home managers. We are also soon to invest around £500,000 to create a Care Practitioner role supporting our nursing teams.
Across our 480 dental practices, we have a well-established apprenticeship programme which trains 160 new dental nurse apprentices each year. One of our biggest challenges as a sector is the shortage of qualified dental nurses — apprenticeships are one way for us to fill this gap. But our apprenticeship programmes go beyond the direct delivery of care. We promote apprenticeships across our Finance, IT and People functions with graduate programmes and development schemes for our existing teams.
Beyond apprenticeships, we’re also committed to ensuring investment in people with limited employment prospects. Other than the NHS, we are the only health and social care member of ‘Movement to Work’, a scheme that aims to provide young people not in education, employment or training with work experience opportunities. Many ‘Movement to Work’ learners go on to become apprentices.
We believe that it is crucial for the future of our business to invest in our people and make apprenticeships a priority. Apprenticeships offer an important opportunity to find and nurture talent, build a sustainable workforce and help Bupa to be a great place to work which in turn leads to positive outcomes for our customers.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.