Bupa Care Services has been announced as a finalist in the ‘Best Apprenticeship’ category at the upcoming CIPD Management Awards.
The awards recognise companies putting employees first, with Bupa celebrated for creating clear pathways for career progression.
The commendation is for Bupa’s Care Leadership Programme, designed to fast-track colleagues into leadership roles within its care homes.
The scheme attracts around 70 new learners a year and since its launch, retention rates have jumped, rising from 63% to 95% amongst existing learners – far ahead of the industry average of 65.5%. The figure rises further amongst new learners, with 100% continuing for at least 12 months.
Cheryl McKown, Apprenticeship Manager for Bupa, commented: “Working with Lifetime Training we’ve created a truly unique programme, and we’re thrilled to see the finished product being so well received! It offers real value to our people and equips them with a foundation degree. More than this, it helps them to deliver for our residents and colleagues alike.
“Apprenticeships take dedication, as people balance their studies alongside their personal and professional lives, but I’m proud of the team who’ve stepped up to support them. Likewise, I’m pleased that we’ve developed talented colleagues already in the business.
“It’s a win win situation. I’m always hearing from colleagues they’re glad to find somewhere that cares about their career. Plus, with recruitment in the sector being notoriously competitive, this programme helps us retain key talent and attract more applicants into our care homes.”
The Care Leadership Programme is one strand of Bupa’s apprenticeship system, which was refreshed in 2017.
As part of the company’s commitment to apprenticeships, it appointed a dedicated apprenticeship team, as well as a network of Apprenticeship Champions, who work closely with individual care homes to ensure the apprenticeships are beneficial to all involved.
The application process has been streamlined – halving the enrolment time to eight weeks. A guide for managers and prospective learners was also created, setting out roles and responsibilities.
Other tools include a dashboard to track progress and identify where apprentices needed extra support, and the launch of ‘MyStudies @ Bupa’ – an online platform for learning and sharing success stories.
Learners from across Bupa’s care homes are grouped into cohorts so that they can stay in touch and learn from each other.
They are assigned personal mentors to guide them through the programme. Topics for discussion range from caring for personal physical and mental wellbeing and how to lead teams through change, which has proved especially useful during the pandemic.
Across the care home business, Bupa currently has nearly 500 apprentices, with roles covering all areas from housekeeping, catering and care, through to home-level and senior management.
The CIPD Management Awards will be held digitally on 28-29 September. Others nominated in the ‘Best Apprenticeship’ category include the Royal Navy and UBS.