The Nottingham-based Trust is the first to offer the apprenticeship.
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has become a trailblazer for a brand-new apprenticeship scheme for peer support workers.
This is the first time the peer support workforce has had such an opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification.
A peer support worker is someone who uses their lived experience of mental health problems to support others struggling with their mental health.
The new role, designed to help people struggling with mental health difficulties, addiction problems and rough sleeping, was developed as part of the government’s commitment to increasing mental health and wellbeing support.
This apprenticeship is being delivered in collaboration with training provider West Nottinghamshire College, and the first cohort of apprentices are working towards a level 3 programme.
The eight apprentices currently working at the trust as peer support workers will have 20% of their time dedicated to learning, training and study time.
Cheryl McAulay-Wainwright is one of the new peer support apprentices at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
She spoke about being part of the trailblazing cohort: “I feel privileged to have been allowed to be part of the first peer support apprenticeship programme. This is an opportunity to become the best I can be in supporting people I meet on my peer journey.
“I hope that others seeing myself on this path, with all these possibilities, will inspire hope in them that they can also achieve this.”
Karen Millward, head of employer engagement at West Nottinghamshire College spoke about the value this apprenticeship scheme can provide for employers: “The peer worker role can be embedded into a variety of businesses, providing an additional layer of support using shared, lived experience as a safe basis for conversation.
“We are working with employers across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to embed this apprenticeship into their workforce.”