Trailblazing Oral Health Practitioner Apprentices complete their courses

In a heartwarming celebration, the first group of Oral Health Apprentices received their awards in May. These trailblazing apprentices are officially the first to get the Royal Society of Public Health Diploma for Oral Health. 

The Oral Health Practitioner Apprenticeship is designed to support the NHS to recruit and keep new members of the dental nurse workforce. The seven Oral Health Apprentices are now fully qualified to work as oral health practitioners. They’ll deliver care and treatment to patients side-by-side with dentists. 

These apprentices come from dental offices in the Thames Valley and Wessex region. They were taught by experts from the Workforce Training and Education team at NHS England. 

This new and innovative programme is the only formal qualification of its kind. The curriculum covers areas like the links between common medical conditions and oral health; the anatomy of the head and neck; diet; and providing care to patients with dementia or mental health conditions. Armed with the ability to offer oral and systemic health guidance, the apprentices are well-prepared to provide essential behaviour change support, a cornerstone of holistic care. 

Michael Wheeler, who helps with dental workforce stuff at NHS England, said, “This apprenticeship is one of three that is designed to support recruitment and retention within the dental nurse workforce.

“The oral health practitioner apprenticeship will allow individuals to further progress to become dental hygienists and dental therapists, for which an apprenticeship route is currently being explored by NHS England and the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education. 

“This apprenticeship is designed to support widening participation into dental hygienist and dental therapist training.” 

Keep an eye on the Apprenticeship Guide for news of dental hygienist and dental therapist apprenticeships becoming available. 

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