Apprenticeship Academy brings youthful energy to health board

An Apprenticeship Academy is creating a new generation of fresh talent for a health board and meeting the challenge of recruiting to specific professions.

Swansea Bay University Health Board (SBUHB) launched the academy in 2016, successfully training more than 250 apprentices across nine frameworks in the past five years alone. It has also tailored bespoke programmes when gaps or opportunities are identified.

With a focus on inclusivity and equality, SBUHB has effectually engaged with the local community to provide opportunities to those that may not have any qualifications or experience.

Now, SBUHB has been shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 as a Macro Employer of the Year finalist.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor is EAL.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at ICC Wales, Newport on March 22, 2024. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

“Our Health Care Support Worker Gateway programme provides a 12-month apprenticeship to gain experience in the role before moving into permanent posts,” said Ruth Evans, Apprentice Academy Manager.

“The wards and departments support the apprentices during their training and are rewarded with skilled and qualified staff ready to continue their careers. To date, 137 apprentices have been successful in gaining permanent posts within the organisation, ensuring increased understanding of values and the culture they create.”

SBUHB delivers its programmes in collaboration with college providers, Neath Port Talbot College and Gower College Swansea, and they provide opportunities to existing staff as well as the new apprentices.

In addition, the health board has developed stronger links with local schools, colleges and charities, successfully linking with the main drivers included in the Future Generations Act, Wales (2015).

In line with SBUHB values, the academy is constantly looking to improve their processes offering close partnerships with the two training provider partners.

“Through our excellent collaboration, SBUHB have successfully achieved mapping alignment of apprenticeship pathways against job descriptions, strengthening workforce development in line with organisational need and demand,” said Medi Williams, Commercial Bid Specialist, Gower College Swansea.

“The academy is enriching employee knowledge and promoting a culture of value, empowerment and learning agility.”

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Swansea Bay University Health Board and all the other finalists. “Today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s specialists, and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru allows us to recognise apprentices, work-based learning practitioners, and employers that have gone above and beyond,” he said.

“Their tenacity, passion, and commitment to growing their own careers, the careers of others, and the larger Welsh economy is inspiring. I wish each of the finalists the best of luck at the awards and with their future endeavours.”

Congratulating the finalists, Al Parkes, managing director at EAL, said: “As the specialist awarding organisation and skills partner for the engineering and manufacturing industry, apprenticeships in Wales are especially important to us.

“Apprenticeships play an important role in supporting personal progress through career opportunities and a sense of achievement, while ensuring that employers have the right skills at the right time to keep up with evolving industry needs.

“EAL is committed to encouraging employers to take on apprentices. Marking the achievements of employers, apprentices, and work-based learning practitioners at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is vital to this.”

For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: or call 03000 603000.
Picture caption:

Staff at Swansea Bay University Health Board.