The Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has approved WAMITAB to offer End-Point Assessment for the new Level 2 Healthcare Cleaning Operative Apprenticeship.
An employer group - including healthcare employers, with support from trade unions, universities, education, awarding organisations and a number of industry associations - has been working on the development of the healthcare cleaning standard since 2019. WAMITAB and the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (ahcp) actively supported the employer group, which was led by the Cleaning and Support Services Association member, Exclusive Cleaning. The Healthcare Cleaning Apprenticeship was approved in February 2020 and it has also been welcomed by the British Cleaning Council.
The apprenticeship is the only standard with a direct focus on cleaning in healthcare. It will help meet the significant demand for apprenticeships in the NHS and wider healthcare sector. The NHS Apprenticeship Levy is worth some £200m and could be used to address critical skills needs across the UK health system. However, some Trusts have found it difficult to access the funds and suitable providers; workforce statistics released by NHS England and NHS Improvement last year revealed that from a total estates and facilities workforce of 98,482, only 416 were apprentices.
The apprenticeship standard, with an allocated funding band of £4000, will support those working in healthcare environments that require greater attention to safety and infection control. The 12-month apprenticeship involves responsibility for routine and non-routine cleaning, including detailed cleaning and rapid response cleaning to a hygienic standard of cleanliness set by organisational and policy guidelines.
Chris James, CEO at WAMITAB, says: “From the outset, WAMITAB Trustees committed to support the development of the Healthcare Cleaning Operative apprenticeship standard. It was crucial that WAMITAB, industry partners and Government stood shoulder to shoulder to develop and support its introduction. I strongly believe that at this pivotal point in UK history, no other apprenticeship could be more appropriate to the needs of society than healthcare cleaning.”
Delia Cannings, National Lead for Education & Training at ahcp, says: “I believe that the specialist work undertaken by healthcare cleaning teams requires professional acknowledgement. The new standard embeds the fundamental principles of cleaning as a science, whilst embracing the very essence of the risk assessment factors. The attention drawn to the cleaning industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic makes the timing perfect for the introduction of this apprenticeship, which facilitates the development of skills and knowledge; measures effectiveness and supports efficient service delivery.”
In its role as the End-point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), WAMITAB will provide apprentices, employers and training providers with support and guidance from the beginning of their programme. A range of materials will be provided to help prepare apprentices for their assessments such as example assessment materials and suggested reading lists to aid revision for the knowledge test.
In addition, WAMITAB is developing a Level 2 qualification which will align with the knowledge requirements of the Healthcare Cleaning Operative Apprenticeship. This qualification will be supported with a full training package, including workbooks, which could be used as part of the portfolio of evidence. Two of WAMITAB’s regulated qualifications: Level 1 Award in Cleaning Principles and the Level 1 Award in the Principles of Infection Prevention and Control, come with a complete package of training and assessment materials and could be offered outside of the Apprenticeship Levy funding to support the delivery of underpinning knowledge elements.