An Ellesmere Port apprentice is getting a valuable insight into dealing with supplies for the Countess of Chester Hospital thanks to a new initiative.
The hospital’s commercial procurement services has developed the apprenticeship scheme with West Cheshire College and two key industry sponsors.
Since February the department, which is responsible for all buying and stock management for the hospital, has employed two apprentices on an 18-month supply chain management apprenticeship scheme.
Sue Donaldson, purchase and supply manager at the Countess, said: “As a department we were experiencing a critical shortage of skilled staff which we needed to address. In partnership with our suppliers and through their sponsorship we have been able to develop an apprenticeship programme to support our long-term succession planning.”
She explained: “Traditionally it is very difficult to recruit people who have trained from an early age within procurement.
“An apprenticeship programme, which we could specifically tailor to meet the future demands of health care supply chains and procurement processes, was an ideal solution.
“We are now in a position to introduce young people into the profession, provide the bespoke training required for the job and develop them into valuable team members in the future.”
First in health care
The apprenticeship programme, sponsored by supply specialists Squadron Medical and Omnicell, is a first in health care helping to build links between manufacturers, distributors and suppliers and procurement functions in hospitals.
The two apprentices, one of whom is Tom Parsonage, 21, from Ellesmere Port, rotate every three months between the office-based processing side of procurement and the warehouse-based stock management side.
Tom, who has been working in the office processing orders, chasing up and dealing with suppliers, said: “The training has been fantastic. I’ve been learning on the job and have also been given the time and encouragement to develop. My knowledge is increasing every day.”
Maria Davison, managing director for business and employer engagement at the college, added: “The apprenticeship scheme with the Countess of Chester’s procurement department is a fantastic example of how we can work with businesses to develop a bespoke training solution for their specific needs.
“Not only is the hospital benefitting from this initiative but these two young people are receiving the training and support to develop the skills they need for their future careers.”