The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Operating Department Practitioner Apprenticeship Q&A with Elina Kabwe - National Apprenticeship Week 2022

11 February 2022

NAW2022 case study 2Name: Elina Kabwe

Job role: Professional Development Practitioner

Area of work: Theatres and Anaesthesia

What apprenticeships do you offer?

We offer the Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) Apprenticeship. This is a really important role within our service as it helps prepare patients for surgery, and then support their recovery.

Why do you offer apprenticeships to your staff?

We offer this apprenticeship to non-registered staff at the Trust as a development opportunity for existing workforce to support and invest in our staff. We also know that, if you develop current staff who already like the environment, they are more likely to stay.

The programme is also offered to external recruits to increase workforce and help improve the staffing shortages. We offer the apprenticeship because we know that we cannot recruit all the ODPs we need through traditional methods, and so this is a great way of supporting staff to enter the organisation. The apprenticeship also allows us to train new recruits from scratch to help make sure they embody the values of the Trust.

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship and why would you recommend it to others?

Operating Department Practitioners are a vital part of the multidisciplinary operating theatre team, providing a high standard of patient-focused care during anaesthesia, surgery and recovery, responding to patients' physical and psychological needs. Our apprentices then can make a real and substantial difference to people's lives.

We also offer this apprenticeship to build a high-skilled workforce that can respond to complex and changing care needs

The major benefit for the apprentices themselves is that they can earn money whilst undergoing training. As an ODP they will be allocated to one specific area, but will experience working across both internal placements to gain an appreciation of the different areas in healthcare services

After gaining their qualification, there are further career progression opportunities and continuous professional development available as well, as there are for any other member of staff.

There’s a lot of support during your training from the university and the Theatre and Anaesthesia education team.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The apprenticeship has presented a few challenges to my colleagues and I that we’ve had to address.

One of the main challenges is supporting apprentices to manage their time between learning and working. Another challenge has been to support some apprentices to develop academic writing skills that they may not have had to use before. We help apprentices overcome these challenges by working with their training provider to ensure that appropriate support is in place, and by encouraging apprentices in difficulty to speak up.

Do you have any advice for anyone interested in this apprenticeship?

I would encourage all those interested in working in the Health care to consider this apprenticeship for three reasons.

The first is that as you will have the opportunity to earn as you learn.

The second is that you will also be working with dynamic teams and making a difference in people’s lives

The third is that you will be able to gain a qualification and progress in your career onto any specialty of your choice and there are opportunities to branch off to other specialities such as:

  • Surgical 1st assistant
  • Research practitioner
  • Education Practitioner

This role is not just a job, it is a career that could take you into senior management, if that’s where you want to go.