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Healthcare Cleaning apprenticeship welcomed

Healthcare Cleaning operative apprenticeship is announced

A new healthcare cleaning apprenticeship has been announced and welcomed by industry bodies the Association for Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (AHCP) and WAMITAB.

Both organisations played an active role in the development of the Level 2 Healthcare Cleaning Operative apprenticeship standard. It is the only standard with a direct focus on cleaning and so will be important for the cleaning industry, and will help meet the huge demand for apprenticeships in the NHS.

In order to meet Government targets, the NHS had to start 28,000 apprenticeships in 2017/18, a 75% increase on 2016/17. The NHS has an Apprenticeship Levy worth £200m, which could be used to fund applicants.

The 12-month standard has a funding band of £4000 and is designed to support those working in healthcare environments that require specific attention to safety and infection control. This includes a range of both public and private sector environments including NHS hospitals, private hospitals, care homes (nursing and residential), GP practices, community health centres, educational establishments, leisure facilities and pharmaceutical retail outlets.

The apprenticeship involves responsibility for routine and non-routine cleaning, including detailed cleaning and rapid response cleaning to a hygienic standard of cleanliness set by organisational and policy guidelines.

An employer group including healthcare employers, with support from trade unions, universities, education, awarding organisations and industry associations have been focusing on developing an apprenticeship standard for cleaning in healthcare since 2019. Both AHCP and WAMITAB supported the employer group.

Delia Cannings, the National Lead for Education and Training for the AHCP, said: “There is a real thirst for regulated qualifications within the healthcare sector. NHS Trusts across the country are eager to commence a programme which has the fundamental healthcare cleaning aspects embedded.

“Going forward, the practical cleaning application will be delivered wrapped up in knowledge which is focused on the prevention of infection whilst embracing environmental awareness.

“The benefits of an apprenticeship tailored exactly to the needs of healthcare establishments are clear. Apprenticeship Levy funding will support the NHS to offer increased training opportunities, despite financial pressures.

“The apprenticeship programme will also encourage the use of the most up-to-date technology and help maintain the highest standards of cleanliness possible on NHS properties.”

The apprenticeship is open to graduates, non-graduates and school leavers working in England, with no upper age restriction. Delivery must be undertaken by an approved training provider and will include a mixture of on-the-job and a minimum of 20% off-the-job learning, which may be off-site or on employer premises but away from immediate work pressure.

Apprentices will be assessed via a knowledge test; observation with questioning and a structured interview, underpinned by a portfolio of evidence.

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