The Manchester apprenticeship programme to train new mammography associates to support NHS breast screening and symptomatic services is set to continue in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to an innovative online approach.
The National Breast Imaging Academy (NBIA), hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), has adapted the one-year level 4 apprenticeship programme so that training can continue although routine breast screening is halted. The programme is delivered in partnership with Health Education England working across the North East.
Usually, apprentices would have five days’ clinical training (supervised one-to-one by a dedicated mammography trainer), as well as classroom based learning at the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, part of MFT. With both activities paused because of the pandemic, the NBIA team has developed a flexible approach to training so that a new cohort of apprentices can still start in September.
The apprenticeship programme covers clinical mammography, mammography science, professional practice, quality assurance, communication and team working, and health and safety. After qualifying, the apprentices will work in the NHS Breast Screening Programme and symptomatic breast units, undertaking routine mammography.
“Interactive workshops, virtual classroom learning and a dedicated online learning hub will deliver the curriculum and support the apprentices,” explained Lyndsay Kinnear, Training & Education Lead for Mammography at the Nightingale Centre. “The apprentices’ employer will provide their clinical training, with a practice educator from the NBIA team also delivering a day’s training at the apprentices’ workplace.”
“The apprenticeship is a key part of the NBIA’s training, recruitment and career development programme to tackle workforce shortages in NHS breast imaging. Demand will increase significantly once the national breast screening programme resumes, and being able to continue training mammography apprentices will make an important contribution to the early diagnosis of breast cancer.”
Applications to join the programme are now open to potential apprentices who are already employed in the NHS across England and looking to specialise in mammography. Find out more at https://nationalbreastimagingacademy.org/radiography/mammography-associate-apprenticeship/