The Northern Skills Group has highlighted the growing interest in careers in dentistry with the training provider now supporting more than 100 apprentices across the North East.
Currently, 135 apprentices are working towards a Level 3 Professional Apprenticeship in Dental Nursing across 92 dental practices in the region.
The training programme, which is assessed to standards set by awarding body City & Guilds, gives apprentices the knowledge and skills for a role in dental nursing, both in direct chairside work as well as providing support for a range of dental treatments.
Since it was launched in 2016, Northern Skills Group, which is the training arm of Middlesbrough College, has developed a broad curriculum of apprenticeships serving more than 21 different sectors.
This is enabling more young people and employers to benefit from vocational training opportunities that prepare apprentices for careers in their chosen sector.
Among the large cohort of apprentices is 18-year-old Jessica Fletcher from South Shields, who is undertaking her training at N&N Dental Group’s Chester Road practice in Sunderland.
Jessica said: “I really enjoy working with my colleagues and patients at the practice and am happy I chose the apprenticeship route. The experience I am gaining is fantastic and will certainly help me in my future career. The team at the practice, as well as the Northern Skills Group assessors are very supportive and are helping me achieve my ambitions for a career in dentistry.”
Beth Hansen, practice manager at the Chester Road practice said: “We believe apprenticeships are the best way to train our dental nurses. Although the academic aspects of dental nursing are very important, on-the-job learning allows apprentices to adopt the correct techniques more easily.”
Jessica will be joined by a second N&N Dental Group apprentice trained by Northern Skills Group in the coming weeks, who will be based at the company’s Princess Road practice in Seaham.
Peter Wilson, Director at Northern Skills Group, said: “It’s fantastic to see an apprentice like Jessica having such a positive impact in practices like N&N Dental Group. Her enthusiasm demonstrates the current popularity of this profession.”
“This enthusiasm is being matched by dentist practices that recognise the benefits of training apprentices as part of their long-term workforce development. As well as gaining the skills and qualifications they need in a practical, workplace environment, they are also gaining an understanding of the culture and working practices of the employer, which will help them seamlessly fit into the business once they have completed their training.”