First Community is committed to supporting apprenticeships and recognises the value of combining studying with practical, work-based learning.
A wide range of paid apprenticeships across a variety of roles and departments are offered at First Community, including:
- Accounting Professional level 7
- Dieticians Master’s level 7
- Digital & Technology Solutions Professional level 7
- Healthcare Science Practitioner – Audiologist level 6
- Nursing Associate level 5
- Pharmacy Services Assistant level 2
- Professional Accounting level 4
- Registered Nurse level 6
- Senior Healthcare Support Worker level 3
- Senior Leader level 7
As part of the organisation’s dedication to providing career development opportunities to its staff, currently First Community only recruits internally to its apprenticeship programme.
The best way to get on to one of our apprenticeships is by securing a role with us. Our current vacancies can be viewed here and do ensure you check the page regularly so you do not miss out on suitable role.
You can meet some of current apprentices and learn more about their learning journeys below.
Amy is an Audiology Assistant and is studying the Healthcare Science Audiology Practitioner degree apprenticeship.
She began her apprenticeship in January 2021 and is due to complete it in July 2025 and the apprenticeship will see her gain at BSc in Healthcare Science (Audiology).
She said: “I was motivated to do an apprenticeship because I want a career I can learn and evolve within, and I find Audiology very interesting. My learning is varied and includes attending classes in person at university as well as virtually.
“This is supported by workplace learning and placements in Audiology settings to practice and develop my skills. Alongside this I undertake research, self-guided learning, complete assignments and take exams to demonstrate learning.
“My favourite thing about the apprenticeship is clinical studies, I enjoy practising and learning about the different tests we can do on patients and it’s interesting to learn about how the tests work.
“I am learning about how to deal with the stress of working and studying, as well as learning about how to be a more empathetic, conscientious, and confident practitioner. Hearing loss has such a big impact on people’s lives and helping people with hearing loss is a very rewarding job.”
Kim is a Dietetic Assistant Practitioner studying a Master’s degree apprenticeship in Dietetics and Leadership. After studying for a degree in Human Nutrition, she took up a role as a dietetic assistant and was keen to learn more.
Motivated by her interest in dietetics, last January, she started her graduate apprenticeship, which will see her become a registered dietitian.
She said: “I have enjoyed learning additional skills that have made me more confident as a dietetic assistant. This has developed the scope of the role and enabled me to take on more responsibility.
"Being able to put my learning into practice in a supported environment has really helped me to develop the skills I have learned during my time at university.
"I have gained a lot of personal satisfaction after passing each module, it has been incredibly challenging, but I have felt a real sense of accomplishment and achievement.
“My advice to anyone considering the same apprenticeship would be to ensure you can dedicate the time outside of work to complete additional learning. Being able to manage your time well is so important to ensure you are keeping up to date with your studies, as well as managing your workload within your job.
"It has been a fantastic opportunity – I would recommend it to anyone interested in a career in Dietetics.”
Lucy is in the unique position of having completed not one but two apprenticeships since joining First Community.
In September 2019, Lucy started her first Nursing Associate Apprenticeship and qualified in July 2021. That October, she embarked on another two-year programme to consolidate her previous learning as a nursing associate and build on it further to achieve the full Registered Nurse degree.
In January 2023, Lucy submitted her final dissertation and she’ll complete her degree this summer.
She said: “I knew I wanted to go into nursing as I have always loved taking care of people and I always put people first. I just had to find a way to progress into a registered nurse without attending university full time as I didn’t feel very academic. I therefore applied for a job at Caterham Dene Hospital to gain experience in that field of work. I then learnt about the apprenticeship, and it was completely up my street.
“By working practically on a ward, I was able to get used to the working environment and had chances to observe and work alongside nurses which aided my knowledge and skills. I was able to gain an understanding of the structure of a nurse’s day on the ward.
“Apprenticeships are a great way of completing qualifications as you can work and use the theoretical knowledge in practice, as well as speaking to colleagues for help and support for assignment or questions.”
Wesley is completing a registered nurse degree apprenticeship. It’s a four-year, level 6 apprenticeship which he says will see him fulfil his dream of becoming a registered nurse once complete.
He said: “I have always had a passion for nursing, and during the Covid-19 period, the opportunity came up to join First Community and progress my nursing career. My manager knew I had a passion to progress and supported me to apply.
“Being able to work and study alongside each other, as well as the support I have received and continue to receive [is what I enjoy most about my apprenticeship].”
If you are exploring apprenticeships as part of your future career planning, read our top tips below.
Apprenticeships include the requirement to achieve English and Maths qualifications at GCSE grade 4 or above*. Achieving these before leaving full time education will give you a head start in your apprenticeship, and we recommend you focus on these qualifications during your compulsory schooling.
If you do not achieve the grade four, you will be supported to achieve this as part of the apprenticeship alongside the technical studies.
*There are specific adaptions for those with a special educational need, learning difficulty or disability to encourage fair access to apprenticeships.
Some apprenticeships require no existing qualifications to enrol. However, most degree apprenticeships have a requirement to first hold a minimum level 3 (broadly equivalent to 5 ‘A’ levels) qualification in a related subject.
You may choose to achieve this in full time education but did you know achieving a relevant level 3 apprenticeship will also count?
Researching the apprenticeship you wish to study and the universities offering them will give you an understanding of the qualifications you may need.
Please see below for an example of apprenticeship pathway to higher education.
Before choosing your future career, consider finding out more about the role and if you can get a taste of what it's like through work experience. You will gain valuable insight into the daily life of NHS staff which will help you get a feel for if it's for you.
Attend career events to talk to practitioners and find out what they love about the job, the challenges they face and why they recommend working with the NHS. Think through the questions you have and go prepared to grill them.
With the world at your fingertips, it is easy to access articles, presentations and research that will give you a better understanding of the healthcare environment. This will give you the edge at interviews and demonstrate your initiative and commitment to learning. If you need support visit your local library where qualified staff can assist with searches.
The professional bodies for different healthcare disciplines are often a good place to start and frequently publish articles and information which is available to non-members.