Bournville College joined forces with Birmingham Children’s Hospital to help young people get on the career ladder by giving them an opportunity to train as Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs), specialising in anaesthetics and scrubs.

The scheme has enabled a number of youngsters to join the Theatre Cadet scheme. The two-year training programme is underpinned by an apprenticeship in Health, the theoretical part of which is delivered by Bournville College. In addition, the cadets spend three days per week at Birmingham Children’s Hospital learning practical skills from their tutors and mentors. This flexible and highly individualised programme will not only enable the cadets to start a rewarding career but also experience employment for the first time.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Gardner from Bournville who previously studied BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Health and Social Care at Bournville College, joined the Theatre Cadets scheme in June last year. He said: ‘I enjoyed studying health and social care previously and this training was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t miss. Working 10 hour shifts can be quite demanding at times but the rewards by far outweigh drawbacks. I now have a clear career plan and an excellent training under way that will help me with achieving my ambition of working as an ODP’.

Theatre Cadets have now embarked on a new stage of the training programme, working in operating theatres whilst supporting and learning from their mentors. Mary Tasewych, Theatres Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “It has been a challenge for us as a department taking on such a young work force and at first I think the cadets found it hard but they have all settled in and are enjoying their training.

“I would encourage other departments at BCH as well as other organisations to take up this challenge and help to develop the young workforce.”

Mark Farrant, Business Development Manager at Bournville College said: “The college and I have been working closely with Birmingham Children’s Hospital and their Learning and Development Team to run tailored and flexible apprenticeship programmes.

“The team at the hospital have enabled the college to be creative with delivery and run pathways for Clinical Support Workers, Perioperative Workers, Physiotherapy Assistants and now Theatre Cadets. It’s great that the hospital has given the opportunity to local youngsters seeking employment to become the next generation working in theatre helping to save children’s lives.”

Sarah Redfern, Widening Participation Facilitator for Birmingham Children’s Hospital added: “This is a fantastic opportunity and a brilliant way of introducing young people to careers in the NHS. The theatres team have embraced this programme fully and I am proud to be a part of that process.”

Whatever the size of your organisation, Bournville College specialises in delivering apprenticeships within a range of industries such as healthcare, logistics, railway engineering, manufacturing, business administration, construction and many more.

To discuss the requirements of your business, call Jennifer Johnson, Apprenticeship Programmes Manager at Bournville College on 0121 222 5656 or email