The department for Business Innovation and Skills has launched the Trailblazers programme – a series of employer-led projects designed to simplify the existing system and give people the skills employers need to grow and compete.
MP Matthew Hancock, parliamentary under-secretary of state for further education, skills and lifelong learning says: 'National apprenticeship week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
'We want to see apprenticeships become the new norm for all ambitious young people and employers who are dedicated to growing their own talent and increasing the skills base of the nation.
'I would like to thank everyone who has been involved with Trailblazer for their commitment to apprenticeships and traineeships'
Delivery of the Trailblazers programme will follow a staged approach.
The Government aims to continue to grow the programme in 2013/14 and 2014/15, with employers creating a range of new apprenticeship standards and assessment approaches in different sectors and occupations.
The two academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17 will be the key period of transition to full implementation of the reforms.
The stated aim is that from 2017/18, all new apprenticeship starts will be on the new standards (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2013).
The Trailblazers group in dentistry is a working group that includes the Association of Dental Groups, Dental Laboratories Association, Dental Technologists Association and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
It also includes dental employers: 211 Dental, Den Dental, Genix Healthcare, Integrated Dental Holdings (IDH), Oasis Healthcare, Rodericks Dental and Smile Care Group.
Furthermore, it includes the dental laboratories: Attenborough Dental Laboratories Ltd, Barry Appleby, Costech Elite, First Impressions Denture Centre, JW Dental Ceramics, Kestrel Dental, Knight Dental Design, S4S Dental Laboratory and Sparkle Dental Labs.
Chair for the Trailblazers programme in dentistry is Mustafa Mohammed, managing director of Genix Healthcare and Sparkle Dental Labs, he says: 'I am really very excited to be involved with the Trailblazers initiative and encourage other likeminded individuals to join us in leading the development of standards for apprenticeships in our sector.
'I am extremely passionate about developing apprenticeships for both dental nurses and technicians, as I believe this would really help to encourage careers within the dental industry within the UK, while also working to raise standards.
'In terms of the nurse apprenticeship the idea would be for us to put our heads together as representatives of the sector and look at how we feel improvements could be made to existing schemes that are in place.
'The dental technician apprenticeship will really help the dental sector in this country, as it will mean more jobs for dental technicians, stopping the recent decline.
'Once trained the new technicians will be able to follow a structured career path, and perhaps focus their skills on a particular department, thus shaping their own future within the profession.'
David Worskett, chairman of the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), says: 'I believe we really need to make much more use of the apprenticeship route for training in dentistry, as with other sectors of the economy.
'The ADG is absolutely delighted to support the initiative in the dental sector as we think it can be good for dental professionals and for patients.'
Professor Stephen Dunne, head of the Dental Practice & Policy department at King’s College London, says: 'I am delighted to be involved in this exciting initiative.
'Apprenticeships could play a major role in the training and career development of dental nurses and dental technicians.'
Richard Daniels, chief executive of the Dental Laboratories Association says: 'The Dental Laboratories Association is delighted to be a part of the Trailblazers initiative for setting up an apprenticeship in dental technology.
'As an organisation, we have committed significant resources into this project with skills for health, so to see the Trailblazers group bring together associations and dental laboratories from across the UK is a fantastic step in the right direction.
'Whilst dental technology has some excellent providers of education, there is still room for a work based apprenticeship to allow those who prefer the vocational route into a career as a professional dental technician.'
Barry Appleby, president of the Dental Technologists Association, says: 'I'm delighted that the Dental Technologists Association will be part of the Trailblazer apprenticeship initiative and we look forward to working towards the creation of training pathways that will aid the development of dental technologists, with the skills and abilities necessary to meet the needs of dental laboratories of the 21st century.'
To find out more about the Trailblazers programme, and how your company could get involved, contact Mustafa Mohammed via [email protected].
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2013) ‘The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Guidance for Trailblazers’ HM Government, [Online] Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287276/bis-14-p194-future-of-apprenticeships-in-england-guidance-for-trailblazers-revised-version-2.pdf [Accessed 18 February 2014].