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Top national award for Trust’s apprenticeship programme

A local NHS Trust has won a prestigious national award for its apprenticeship programme, which has successfully continued through the pandemic.

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) has this week been named Employer of the Year by the Central Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), which is providing training for 35 Trust apprentices working in non-clinical areas.

Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton made the announcement at a virtual ceremony held during Apprenticeship Week 2021 (8-14 Feb), as the awards presentation would normally have been held at the House of Commons.

Fiona Carter, Head of Skills for Central YMCA, said RDaSH won this award because they “represent what every apprenticeship provider and apprenticeship learner is looking for, an organisation that gives their staff the opportunity to grow and thrive.

“Despite the significant effect of Covid-19 their support for their apprentices has been unwavering and stayed on top of their list of priorities, which is an accolade in itself.”

RDaSH is committed to lifelong learning, with the age range of the current group of apprentices ranging from 19 to 52 in roles that include Laundry Room Assistant, Care Co-ordinator, Intermediate Care Referrals Manager, Health and Safety Lead, Pharmacy Technician and various levels of Administrators.

Singled out for praise is horticulture apprentice Graham Fretwell, aged 27, from Doncaster, who was named Inspirational Apprentice of the Year for his determination to overcome adversity to get his dream job with employer Flourish Enterprises, a not-for-profit community enterprise which is part of RDaSH. Graham left school without any formal qualifications and experienced homelessness before being supported by YMCA Training’s under-16 provision, which helped him find the gardening opportunity.

Graham Fretwell

Andrew Parker, Head of Learning at RDaSH, said: “A lot of our learners have been out of education for a number of years, so supporting them through the apprenticeship scheme helps to develop their confidence and skills.

“The last 10 months have been unprecedented in terms of the impact Covid has had on learning and development but we have managed to continue our relationship with YMCA through this period. They have introduced online working, one-to-one sessions and weekly catch-ups to make sure our apprentices are on track to finish their respective courses.”

Kathryn Singh, RDaSH Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that we have received this award as it acknowledges our belief that our workforce is our greatest asset. We will continue to invest in our people to help them achieve their potential.”