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Shropshire Hospital leads the way with first Orthotics Apprenticeship

20/02/2017 - 13:36

Teri Jones at RJAH

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, in partnership with SBC Training, is leading the way with apprenticeships by recruiting a young person to train as an Orthotics Technician.


The Oswestry-based hospital , which is world renowned for the treatment of musculo-skeletal problems, has invested in the Orthotics Department which now employs eight technicians and services hospitals across the country. 


It now produces approximately 5000 individually designed devices per year to support or correct skeletal deformities or weaknesses.


Teri Jones is the first apprentice and has hit the ground running developing the skills she needs to provide effective braces and supports for patients. She attends day release at SBC Training, based in Shrewsbury, to complete the qualifications and skills she needs to support her in her new role.  


She said: "I am finding the training in precision hand skills very useful and look forward to moving on to machining and design, including computer aided design."


Back at the hospital she is also gaining essential knowledge of bio-mechanics and anatomy. After leaving school Teri followed a full time course in graphic design and originally took up a job in this area of work.  However she felt that she wanted something more practical and is thoroughly enjoying the apprenticeship at the hospital.


Lance Jones, Production Manager in the Department of Orthotics Manufacture, is delighted with how Teri is settling in.

He said: "There is a shortage of skilled orthotics technicians and I was really pleased when the Trust agreed to invest in an apprentice. 

"The role of an orthotics technician within the NHS is quite unique with only a handful of ‘in-house’ manufacturing departments in the country but there has been no recognised qualification. With the introduction of an apprenticeship programme the hospital will now have a robust continuity plan for the future.

"Teri will be in training for two years, moving round all areas of the department to develop her skills.  The other members of the team are enjoying getting involved in her training as learning how to train others and pass on their valuable skills is also developing them.

"When Teri becomes a fully skilled member of staff we hope to add another apprentice to our numbers."

News posted by Rachel Arrowsmith