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Media Release

Date: 5 November 2021

RUH apprentice scheme tackles national radiographer shortage

A successful in-house apprenticeship scheme is helping the Radiology team at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust to tackle a national shortage of radiographers.

Radiographers help in the diagnosis of patients through capturing images of bones, organs and human tissue. They may work with X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or ultrasounds in a variety of places, from operating theatres to accident and emergency rooms.

Traditionally, Therapeutic Radiographers and Diagnostic Radiographers would join the hospital after graduating from university.

However, new apprenticeship pathways give those without suitable academic qualifications like A-levels the opportunity to learn on the job, gaining the relevant additional qualifications they need while studying with a variety of education providers, including Weston College.

These qualifications allow the individual to meet the entry requirements to undertake a BSc (hons) degree apprenticeship to become a state registered radiographer studying at either Exeter University or the University of the West of England (UWE).

With International Day of Radiology and World Radiography Day both falling on Monday 8 November, work is going on across the country to promote radiography as a career.

The RUH's Radiology team has two new qualified radiographers about to join them via the apprentice route, and recruiting is already completed for the next academic year.

One recently qualified apprentice, Pat Jenkins, said: "I was a Radiology Assistant for about five years, but I wanted to progress my career and the apprenticeship route was perfect for me.

"I worked at the RUH four days a week and then one day a week was spent at Weston College, studying for a UWE-accredited Foundation Degree. I've since gone on to get my Bachelor's Degree.

"The apprenticeship route appealed to me because you get so much on-the-job experience. Once I was qualified, I could step right in and join the team.

"Being a Radiographer is a fantastic job. There's so much variety – one day you could be working in A&E, the next Theatres. We also get to work collaboratively with departments across the hospital."

Suzanne Boyle, Clinical Education Lead, said: "The apprenticeships have opened up a new route for people to consider Radiology as a career and give them opportunities they may not have otherwise had.

"Nationally there is a shortage of radiographers so the apprenticeship scheme has been really successful in opening up radiology as a career for those people who may not have considered it before.

Sarah Bond, Radiology Team Leader, said: "The chance for vocational, on-the-job learning is much more appealing for a lot of people starting their career.

"It gives Radiology porters and Radiography Department Assistants the opportunity to take their first step into a career as a radiographer.

"We're committed to ensuring the RUH is an outstanding place to work, where staff can flourish, so we're proud to be the first profession in the RUH to have home grown graduates, who are a real credit to the team."

The apprenticeship scheme is run in-house and is currently only available to RUH Radiology employees.

ENDS

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