Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is the first NHS trust in the North-East to receive the prestigious Skills for Health Quality Mark for its delivery of apprenticeship programmes.

The trust, which runs the hospitals at Hexham, Wansbeck and North Tyneside, as well as the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, has one of the largest and most successful apprenticeship programmes in the NHS.

The scheme offers the opportunity to gain experience working within hospital, community and office-based environments. More than 95 per cent of Northumbria’s apprentices go on to employment, mostly within the trust or the wider NHS.

On receiving the award, chief executive at Northumbria Healthcare, Sir James Mackey, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of our apprenticeship team. We have such a strong commitment to creating employment opportunities for young people in North Tyneside and Northumberland.

“Our apprentices really are an asset to our organisation, always showing enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. I’d like to say a huge thank you to them, and all of the team, for continuing to make Northumbria a truly inspiring place to work.”

Northumbria excelled in all of the four areas of the awards criteria including ethics and values, health sector engagement/awareness, learning excellence and effectiveness of quality assurance arrangements.

Lynn Atkin, network services manager at Skills for Health, presenting the award said: “The trust has truly gone above and beyond to support and develop its apprentices. Not everyone wants to go down the academic route into work and these apprenticeship schemes are an important opportunity for many young people to gain vital skills for their future.”