Thanks to the Trailblazer in Dental Health, launched under phase two of the Government’s new apprenticeships programme, talented young people will now have the opportunity to do an exciting apprenticeship in dental practice management.
The entry-level role will provide the foundational knowledge, skills and experience for individuals to advance and become a practice manager, area manager or regional manager, possibly leading to even more senior management roles in the future.
This is incredibly exciting for young people, who will have the chance to earn while they learn, develop their careers and become experts in their chosen field. The apprenticeships will significantly increase employment opportunities and help shape the future of dentistry.
Businesses too will benefit from offering these apprenticeships, as they will be able to ‘grow their own talent’ (www.gov.uk, 2014). Through quality training and monitoring, businesses can create a team of motivated and highly skilled staff who have a unique understanding of the company. Currently, nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice (96%) reports benefits to their business, including enhanced productivity and reduced staff turnover (www.apprenticeships.org.uk, 2014). Increased staff retention not only reduces expense and heightens performance, but strong, long-term connections are more easily developed between the practice and their clients.
Within the new framework, apprentices will need to demonstrate their competence through rigorous and synoptic assessment to ensure they are ready to progress. The system will be simplified and, through the routing of Government funding for the external training of apprentices via their employers, the quality and relevance of training will be enhanced. Overall, the changes will lead to an increasingly high calibre of graduates ready to progress in their selected careers.
Furthermore, new programmes such as the Practice Management Apprenticeship will be employer led – individual practices will set the selection criteria for their apprentices. However, guidelines state that most candidates are expected to have achieved a grade C or above in English and maths at GCSE level, and recommend that individuals hold A levels or applicable level three qualifications, although other relevant or prior experience may also be considered as an alternative.
Upon completion, individuals will attain a certificate in dental practice management. This professional qualification is still under development, but where employers feel there is evidence of higher academic aptitude, the apprentice could be fast tracked through the progression routes available to attain a diploma in dental business management or an MSc/MBA in the business of dentistry.
Following the 24-month apprenticeship, the newly qualified practice manager will be responsible for managing all non-clinical aspects within a specified practice or practices. They will lead the team by providing support and direction to enhance performance, skills and knowledge of all practice staff, to achieve excellent patient care and service. The practice manager will also establish and manage financial budgets and production targets in line with the practice strategy, goals and values.
At the head of this exciting development of dental health apprenticeships is Mustafa Mohammed, owner and founder of Genix Healthcare and Sparkle Dental Labs, and chair of the Trailblazer project in dental health.
Launched in 2012, Sparkle Dental Labs is now leading the way in the training and education of dental technicians, and with the integration of new dental health apprenticeships on the horizon, even more opportunities will be available to young people and businesses alike. The innovative Dental Practice Management Apprenticeship will significantly increase access to education and employment, boosting the national economy and UK dental industry.
www.apprenticeships.org.uk/employers/the-basics.aspx (2014) retrieved 13 August 2014
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 (2014) retrieved 13 August 2014
For additional information from the National Apprenticeship Service, please visit www.apprenticeship.org.uk.