If you’re a dental professional, chances are you will have heard of Tempdent. The company has a well-deserved reputation of successfully helping thousands of dental nurses, hygienists, dentists, practice managers and receptionists across the UK find placements and – for dental nurses – receive vital qualifications.
For this reason, you’d be forgiven for mistaking Tempdent for a large-scale organisation with numerous offices across the country. Yet surprisingly, and what makes Tempdent all the more impressive, is that its myriad of vital services are operated by one team based in London and a team of nationwide dental nurse qualification tutors and assessors, and is the brainchild of one woman – the company’s managing director and former dental nurse, Lorraine Nadel.
To celebrate Tempdent’s 20 years in business, Dentistry sat down with Lorraine to take a look back – and forward – at this remarkable company.
‘In 1996 I was working as a practice manager, and I saw a gap in the market for a dental nurse recruitment agency offering good quality candidates’, explains Lorraine. ‘So I set up Tempdent as a dental recruitment agency, initially just for the London area.’
Over the following 20 years, the dental nurse recruitment agency grew from a one-woman team in London, to a 65-person strong provider of online and classroom-based dental nursing qualifications and post-registration specialisms, CPD, and dental team recruitment across the whole of the UK.
Decades of success
‘One of the main changes for us has been the statutory registration of dental nurses’, says Lorraine, referring to the 2008 introduction of the statutory registration of dental nurses. ‘Being a recruitment agency in the late 1990s, having 80% of your nurses unqualified posed a massive threat to our business.’ It was the statutory registration of dental nurses that prompted Lorraine to introduce qualification training at Tempdent, a trailblazing business model that has since been emulated many times.
‘We were the first dental agency to offer training’, explains Lorraine. ‘And now that’s a model that a lot of other companies have picked up on and are doing. I’d like to think we do it the best but arguably we are the largest dental nursing training provider in the UK.’
With her keen eye on the market’s needs, Lorraine has rolled out Tempdent’s dental nurse training beyond the nation’s capital and it’s now available UK-wide. ‘Our training was initially carried in our classroom here in London, but then we took it to outside London via an online platform, which we’ve offered since from 2012. In 2015 we developed our own platform and we’ve now qualified hundreds and hundreds of nurses online, as well as face to face.’
Yet despite evolving in response to a changing market, Tempdent is not immune to economic headwinds. The double-dip recession and changing government priorities have meant that at times, this government-funded and Ofsted-inspected training provider has had to juggle cuts to funding, and the subsequent impact on its business. But as Lorraine says: ‘We’ve had to find our way around it, but we always have and we’ve always worked with it. We’re very proud to say that we’re a Ofsted Straight grade 2 training provider, and we have been for 13 years.
‘We really concentrate on quality, both in recruitment and in the training, because we’re not just here for now or tomorrow. We want to be here for numerous years to come and there’s a lot of competition around. We want our clients and candidates to have the best recruitment and learning experience with us as well.’
So what’s to come for Tempdent in its 21st year? The company certainly isn’t resting on its laurels, with numerous anniversary events planned, kicking off with a celebratory birthday party in December. ‘We’ve invited our staff and some temp dental nurses that have worked with us over the years, and some students that have excelled, as well as quite a few of our clients, to come and celebrate us’, says Lorraine. ‘We’re also celebrating the fact that our agency is now the preferred recruitment supplier to many practices – large and small – as well as a lot of dental corporates.’
Also in the coming year, Tempdent is launching its brand new online CPD that caters for the CPD needs of the entire dental team, not just dental nurses. Says Lorraine: ‘We started our CPD provision around 2006/2007, which we were in the practice and here in the office. But this coming year we’re launching our online CPD, which is very exciting.’
What’s more, Tempdent will also begin offering online post-registration dental nurse qualifications alongside its existing dental nurse qualifications. ‘Since 2006 we’ve offered a post-registration dental nursing qualification and specialist dental nursing qualifications for nurses that want to specialise in say, radiography, sedation or orthodontics. From January we’re launching our first post-registration online dental nurse course, which will take our great success rates in those specialist higher dental nursing qualifications across the UK.’
The new online post-registration specialist qualifications are a great complement to Tempdent’s current offering of dental nurse qualifications for unqualified dental nurses wishing to join the profession. The online specialist training allows qualified dental nurses a most convenient way to continue their training into the specialist area of their choice.
The first batch of CPD and the first post-registration specialist dental nursing qualification will be launched in January, and each quarter Tempdent will launch a new qualification and a new batch of CPD, with everything available online by the end of 2017.
One of the most exciting projects for Tempdent in its anniversary year is its partnership with Dentaid. Lorraine explains how teaming up with the dental charity – which is also celebrating its 20th year – came about. ‘We really like what they stand for. They provide mobile dental units to third world countries and also for homeless people in the UK. So we’re going to help on both fronts.
‘We want to raise money for their mobile dental units in Uganda but also we’re going to supply dental nurses – some of our temps and some of our own staff – to join them on their mobile units and help the homeless here.
‘We’ve always given back to the industry but this time we’re doing it in a strategic way – a whole year of fundraising. We’re so happy to partner with Dentaid because they raise awareness of dentistry in other countries – but also keep it close to home.’
To kick off the year-long partnership, Tempdent is hosting a charity ball on 2 December. ‘We’re sending out the invitations as we speak’, says Lorraine. ‘We’ve invited about 150 people and we gave away some tickets as prizes at The Dentistry Show. It’s going to be a great night’.
Twenty years and beyond
After such a successful initial 20 years, I ask Lorraine what we can expect from Tempdent over the next 20. Lorraine is certain that the company will continue to go from strength to strength.
‘On the recruitment side, whilst we’re a household name within London, what’s next is to make us a household name throughout the UK. Although we’re based in London, we’ve got assessors all over the country that provide training, so we really have a nationwide reach and we want to expand that.
‘We’ve always prided ourselves on employing people within the organisation that have worked and are qualified in the dental profession. We’ve stuck to what we know and have always had a workforce who knows the industry really well.
‘Despite growing from one person to a team of 65, we still very much hold a small company mentality whereby nothing’s a problem – nothing’s too much. If a small client has spent a couple of pounds with us and has a problem, we’ll give them as much attention as one of our corporate clients.
‘I think having people who love the industry and love the company, and have that background knowledge in the industry, has really helped us.’
Tempdent is the true embodiment of a little company with big ideas. And long may it continue.
For more information on Tempdent’s involvement with Dentaid, visit www.tempdent.co.uk.
Lorraine Nadel (left) started work as a dental nurse in 1991 and qualified 1992. She then qualified as an oral health educator in 1993. After a couple of years of working as a practice manager, Lorraine founded Tempdent in November 1996. Lorraine is very excited to be celebrating Tempdent’s 20th anniversary, and is very proud of its growth from a small London-based recruitment agency to one of the UK’s leading recruitment agency and training providers.