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Open University Apprentice is hospital’s “Shining Light”

Open University apprentice, Robson Grant, is a “shining light” at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Recently named Apprentice of the Year, Robson is widening his skillset and boosting his career prospects through The Open University’s Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.

The partnership between MKUH and the OU is helping to deliver digital transformation across the hospital.

Active and Positive Contributions

Joe Harrison, Chief Executive at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explains how apprentices such as Robson are already making active and positive contributions towards improving outcomes for patients.

“The NHS recognises that digitisation is critical to get the best out of a limited workforce, and most importantly to get the best outcomes for our patients. We see digital degree apprenticeships as one way of doing this. We want to make sure that we attract and retain the best possible people into our health service and into Milton Keynes University Hospital, and we see the apprenticeship scheme as a way of doing it.”

Through the apprenticeship scheme, Joe is seeing increased engagement from apprentices early in their careers and pleased to see them making a strong contribution to the running of the hospital.

About the programme

The Open University’s Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship programme is a work-based programme that integrates academic and work-based learning, delivered flexibly around the demands of your workplace. It helps to develop the skills and behaviours required to create confident and capable digital and technology professionals.

Easy to manage around your life

Robson, who is focusing on software engineering, explains why he’s chosen to study for a degree apprenticeship with The Open University.

“I’m doing this apprenticeship because I’ll get four years dedicated software engineering work experience and I’ll be debt free- I don’t have to pay for it. It’s 100% increased my confidence. In two and a half years when I finish my apprenticeship I will be in the perfect situation.”

“I won an award to be apprentice of the year. I was shortlisted – there was about 800 nominations throughout the trust. It’s a massive confidence boost to feel like you’re doing something that’s impacting the hospital in itself.”

“The reason I chose The Open University apprenticeship over a physical university is you can manage your life around it a lot easier. It’s very flexible.”

Support is crucial

Robson works at MKUH, but as part of his apprenticeship he spends 20% of his time studying. Most of the time this is self-guided, but he has regular tutorials. His practice tutor also visits the workplace regularly to provide support for both employer and employee.

Robson Grant

Robson Grant, pictured at Milton Keynes University Hospital

Deputy Head of IT Applications, Ian Fabbro, explains:

“The practice tutor, Mo, engages with the apprentices in context and makes sure that they’re getting the right support that they need, not just being dropped into an office environment. We make sure we’ve got the right balance by providing them with the right opportunities, that they’ve got the support to learn but also that we’re getting value out of them. Mo ensures that the balance is there.”

Apprenticeships provide a real benefit

Ian continues:

“We have huge plans for the hospital, including some exciting digital transformation projects.

After a year in my role, I’ve started to really understand the benefit of having apprentices as part of the team; we have three in our IT development team at the moment. The scheme allows us to employ someone like Robson who can come in, start providing us value, and get an education from the OU. It’s something that previously we would never have been able to do.

It’s no longer the historical cliché about the apprentice making teas and coffees; Robson’s developing front end apps- the stuff that people see on their PCs, and he’s providing a real benefit.”

Robson concludes:

“I would recommend apprenticeships with The Open University to pretty much anyone no matter how old they are, who they are; anyone can do it. Even senior managers in a company, they can start doing an apprenticeship. It will help further their career in more ways than one.”

Find out more

Find out more about the Digital Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.

Read more about this partnership on the Tech Partnership Degrees website.

About Author

Liz works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She has over 15 years' marketing experience working across a range of sectors, from diamonds to shampoo. She has a BSc (Hons) in Management from UMIST. In her spare time, Liz is usually found on roller skates or off travelling, having adventures.

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