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How shared values are helping the NHS develop diverse management talent

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Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is constantly looking to develop the skills, knowledge and diversity of its workforce.

In a drive to boost the managerial capabilities of non-clinical staff, it is putting its first cohort of employees through The Open University’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.

Amanda Richmond, Widening Participation Lead at the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, ensures the apprenticeships are helping the organisation build a pipeline of capable, skilled staff.

It’s about upskilling the current workforce to help meet our overall objectives. We want every employee to reach their potential and be the best they can be, while also building the skills of the future workforce.

Amanda Richmond
Widening Participation Lead at the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust chose The Open University as its apprenticeship partner for several reasons. The learning model offered by The Open University fits with the Trust’s values around widening access to learning and development. “It gives people access to learning and a degree qualification when they haven’t followed the traditional university route, either because they weren’t able to or didn’t want to at the time. Those values are important to us.”

Tasmin Ali

The apprentices get to earn while they learn, which makes it an affordable option, which again increases accessibility. The Open University’s model of flexible, distance learning suits the needs of the Trust and the apprentices, but Amanda says the high levels of support and the provision of a dedicated tutor for each apprentice was also a really important factor.

On completion the apprentices gain an internationally recognised and highly regarded qualification. “With The Open University, the apprentices get a solid degree qualification from a very highly rated, respected organisation,” says Amanda.

The apprentices are part way through their studies, supported by Amanda, and she says the Trust is very impressed with the programme so far. One of the apprentices, Tasmin Ali, is doing the Level 6 Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship and was Highly Commended for a Health, Medical and Social Care Apprentice Award in the BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2020. Tasmin was also awarded the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Apprentice Ambassador of the Year by Health Education England in 2019.

Tasmin says she knew she wanted to work in the health and care sector and work in a management role ever since doing her A-Levels in 2017. However, she faced the dilemma of whether going to university or choosing an apprenticeship. Doing this apprenticeship enables her to achieve her ambitions, whilst also still being able to earn and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Tasmin has had two roles in the Trust while doing her apprenticeship. Currently, she is working as an Education Administrator, supporting clinical and non-clinical staff on their training requirements. She takes a very active role in the Trust’s Apprenticeship Roadshows, sharing her story with people in other organisations and with pupils at schools and colleges in the area. “It’s been so successful for me. I’ve achieved skills and knowledge and I want to tell others how it would benefit them too.”

On-the-job learning enables Tasmin to develop her academic and professional practice skills at the same time. It is also preparing her for a move into a managerial position.

Tasmin Ali – Surrey NHS - Apprentice Spotlight

Tasmin Ali – Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - Apprentice Spotlight Category sponsored by Pathway Group BAME Apprenticeship Awards celebrate talent and diversity. The BAME Apprenticeship Awards recognising British BAME Apprentices, their employers and learning providers. It aims to showcase outstanding BAME Apprentices. Showcase outstanding Employers supporting diversity. Create BAME Apprenticeship Leaders and Ambassadors. Encourage more people to take up Apprenticeships. Encourage employers to do more to recruit BAME Apprentices.

Posted by BAME Apprenticeship Awards on Thursday, 15 October 2020


Amanda says Tasmin’s skills and confidence have increased noticeably, even though she is only part way through her studies. “When I watch Tasmin talk to others at careers fairs I can see how much Tasmin has developed, especially recently through her Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. I’m very proud of her professionalism and credibility. She engages and inspires others to consider the possibilities of different pathways.”

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