The announcement was made following a joint meeting between the Morley and Outwood Business Association (MOBA) and several senior educational professionals from the constituency, including Andrea Jenkyns, prospective Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood. On the agenda were various topics that were discussed with the Minister, including the issues of basic education, trainability and instilled work ethic, as well as economic and wider political issues.
The newly approved apprenticeship programmes will go a long way towards improving a number of these areas, creating thousands of job opportunities and strengthening UK dental labs and practices. This is particularly essential in dental labs where over 60% of work is currently exported to the Far East.
Speaking at the meeting Nick Boles said, “These new Trailblazer apprenticeships are controlled and designed by employers so we can be absolutely sure that they give young people all of the skills that are required in the workplace. By putting the businesses in charge of the apprenticeships this makes it more attractive to employers to create further apprenticeships.”
Andrea Jenkyns added, “I’m delighted to see Genix Healthcare is taking on apprentices. New opportunities like this are evidence that Britain is on the road to recovery, and it is companies like Genix who are fuelling the recovery, by innovating and creating jobs. As someone who didn’t go straight from school to university, I see the value of apprenticeships, they offer a different first step into the world of work and provide qualifications up to degree level.”
Dental Laboratory Assistant
This level three apprenticeship will take a minimum of 18 months to attain and is designed to give individuals the opportunity to work their way up to gain higher qualifications and professional registration with the GDC in the future.
The three-year apprenticeship scheme will allow individuals to gain a Level 5 Foundation Degree Science in Dental Technology. On completion they will also be able to apply to register with the GDC as a dental technician.
Dental Practice Manager
This is another really exciting programme that takes roughly 24 months to complete. Individuals will learn to manage all non-clinical aspects within a specific practice or practices, developing the skills and experience to successfully become the managers of tomorrow. Providing the hands-on training that has previously not been available to those working towards a career in dental practice management, this apprenticeship scheme offers unique benefits to all involved.
The impact of apprenticeships
The Dental Technician and Dental Laboratory Assistant apprenticeships in particular have the potential to bring about significant benefits to the dental sector. Each year the number of dental technicians working in Britain declines. Currently, there are just 6,342 dental technicians registered with the GDC. This drop in skilled laboratory technicians from around 12,000 only a decade ago, means many dental labs are struggling with employment. Consequently there has been a rise in the amount of work being outsourced to overseas labs, which has in turn had a hugely negative affect on the UK dental industry and economy.
However, through these first-class apprenticeships, skills shortages in UK dental labs will be addressed and businesses will have the opportunity to develop a skilled and motivated workforce. The programmes will help to secure the future of the UK dental industry while also creating thousands of jobs and allowing individuals the opportunity to earn while they learn.
The Practice Managers apprenticeship will also bring significant benefits to practice owners, providing a clear route from education to employment for future managers. Businesses will have the opportunity to train people they can trust with the skills and hands-on experience to run their practices successfully.
The Government will offer substantial financial support to employers taking on apprentices and full funding will be awarded to dental labs and practices with less than 50 employees. These exciting apprenticeships have also received extensive support from Mustafa Mohammed, owner and founder of Genix Healthcare and Sparkle Dental Labs, and Chair of the Trailblazer project in Dental Health. Mustafa comments:
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved throughout the process, particularly Stephen Dunne, Professor of Primary Dental Care at Kings Dental Institute, and Robert Biggs, Curriculum Manager for Dental Technology at Birmingham Metropolitan College. Their time, expertise and dedication have been instrumental in developing these apprenticeship schemes.”
Now that these apprenticeships have been approved to go ahead, they have the potential to strengthen practices and dental labs, give fundamental opportunities to young people, boost the industry and improve the UK economy.