A health trust is looking to hire 50 young trainees this week as part of its commitment to take on 300 apprentices by next year.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is seeking people to be part of its 9,000-strong team who work in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside.
The recruitment drive comes as apprentices at the trust are in the running to be named national apprentice team of the year.
For the first time, the trust is taking part in the Brathay Challenge, the official search to find the best apprentices in the country, and is the only health trust participating in the North of England.
Kelly Angus, head of human resources at the trust, said: “Young people have an enormous amount to offer the NHS and here at Northumbria Healthcare apprentices are a key part of our organisation.
“We are passionate about opening up opportunities for them to join us and take their first steps on the road to a promising career with the right help and support.
“Becoming an apprentice is an excellent way of getting a foot in the door of the world of work and learning important skills which will stand young people in good stead for the rest of their working lives.
“By joining us, apprentices will be learning from some of the very best. We also wish our apprentices who are taking part in the challenge the best of luck.” The trust, which has been running its apprenticeship programme for the last 10 years, is looking for apprentices to work in health and social care, business administration, estates and facilities, catering and supplies.
During the programme, apprentices will receive on-the-job training and earn while they learn.
Over 95% of Northumbria Healthcare apprentices gain employment with the trust and 19-year-old Elliot Smart, from Bedlington, is one person who has.
Elliot started as a health apprentice at Northumbria Healthcare in April 2013 and, after successfully completing his apprenticeship, now works as a healthcare assistant at Wansbeck General Hospital caring for people who have had hip and knee surgery.
He said: “Gaining experience by working on the frontline of healthcare has given me an enormous amount of confidence and motivation. I am always looking for a new challenge and joining Northumbria Healthcare has definitely given me that. No day is ever the same and there is always something happening that will get your adrenaline pumping.
“The support I have received from colleagues in a clinical setting and learning development has really helped me. I have enjoyed every day that I have spent with the trust so far and I was delighted to be able to secure a position in orthopaedics which has been my favourite area.”
The trust also offers 8-16 week introductory schemes to help people into apprentices. So far more than 40 young people have taken advantage of this.