Morrisons is transferring £2.1m of its Apprenticeship Levy fund to Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to help train the county’s future paramedics.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service runs the Pathway to Paramedic apprenticeship programme in Yorkshire and the Humber, which provides a career development route to becoming a paramedic. The two 13-month apprenticeships, delivered in-house by Yorkshire Ambulance Service, allow students to learn on the frontline and include classroom-based and blue-light driver training.

To help fund the programme, Morrisons has agreed to transfer £2.1 million from its Apprenticeship Levy over the next two years, which will pay for 200 apprentices to be trained. The first recruits start their programmes on 28 June 2021, with all students enrolled over the next six months.

The levy transfer from Morrisons means that the Trust will not have to access additional Government Apprenticeship Levy funding; the cost of this to the Trust would have been £100,000 (5%) and this can now be re-invested in patient care in the region.

Morrisons has supported the NHS throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, via a 10% NHS discount, an NHS Shopping Hour and NHS Food Boxes and is pleased to continue that support through its  Apprenticeship Levy fund. Under the rules of the scheme, companies are able to transfer 25% of their funds to other employers.

Launched in 2018, Yorkshire Ambulance Service was the first ambulance service to introduce the Ambulance Support Worker (emergency, urgent and non-urgent) apprenticeship. Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s Pathway to Paramedic initiative is made up of three apprenticeship programmes: Ambulance Support Worker, Associate Ambulance Practitioner (both delivered in-house by the YAS Academy) and the Paramedic Apprenticeship (delivered in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and Teesside University). The Trust’s Ambulance Support Worker apprenticeship programme recently won a gold award at the national 2021 Learning Awards held in February this year.

Clare Grainger, Group People Director at Morrisons, said: “Over the last year, NHS staff have faced an exceptional challenge – so we want to continue to do our bit to help. As a Yorkshire business, we felt that this was a good opportunity to use some of our Apprenticeship Levy funds to invest back into the region. We wish all of the 200 new Yorkshire Ambulance Service apprentices every luck as they embark upon their new paramedic career.”

Dawn Adams, Head of the YAS Academy, said: “We are very proud of our apprenticeship programmes and career development pathway.  The Trust is highly committed to the provision of apprenticeships and very much appreciates this generous support from Morrisons. Establishing apprenticeships within our organisation has really energised the workforce and we have been rewarded with some great staff who otherwise may not have come to work with us. We are committed to the training and development of our workforce through our apprenticeship scheme and see this as a vital step in ensuring a future generation of ambulance staff.”

Mike Curtis, Regional Director for North East and Yorkshire at Health Education England, said: “This large levy transfer gift is a huge success for all involved. The North East and Yorkshire HEE Apprenticeship Hub is especially grateful that a large Yorkshire based business has chosen to support a local NHS Trust and invest back into the region in this way. Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s pioneering example shows just what can be achieved when organisations work together to invest in apprenticeships, even during the most challenging time the service has ever seen. When organisations transfer levy into the NHS and social care it allows us to train more people, to have a more robust workforce and to better serve patients. An investment in NHS apprenticeships is an investment in the future.”

The Health Education England (HEE) Levy Transfer Service is managed in Yorkshire by the HEE Apprenticeship Hub. It facilitates the gifting of unused Levy to health employers within Yorkshire, to embed apprenticeships into their workforce. Yorkshire Ambulance Service contacted the HEE Apprenticeship Hub to seek Levy transfers to support their programmes.  Morrisons came forward via the Health Education England national apprenticeship teams links with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD).

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