Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris (pictured) is today launching a new and innovative apprenticeship programme to advance the healthcare assistant role for care of the older person.

The launch of the Advanced Healthcare Assistant Practitioner programme will be held at Nursing Homes Ireland head office in Dublin at 12 noon today.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, said: “There is requirement to ensure our education system is responsive to social care needs of our ageing population. This programme marks an important milestone in the development of the healthcare assistant profession.

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“It will advance the professionalism and the skillset of the role, and enhance its standing as a profession. We hope it will lead to more people considering the immensely rewarding role of healthcare assistant as becoming a more attractive career prospect and support the professional and personal development of those already in the profession.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Griffith College to bring this highly innovative programme together to strengthen the career of healthcare assistant. We look forward to further engagement with Minister Harris and government on the critical matter of workforce planning for the care needs of our older population.”

The programme concept was initially proposed in 2018 and was developed through Griffith College in partnership with Nursing Homes Ireland and other consortium members.

Around 250 apprentices are expected to take part over the next three years, fulfilling employment within nursing homes while learning at Griffith College. Forty-two men and women began their participation in July and November 2021.

The two-year programme requires the apprentices to learn healthcare assistant skills while working within a older person care setting and attend 30 classroom days a year at Griffith College that supplement the practical skills gained.

Expanded knowledge, skills and competencies are attained by the apprentice healthcare assistants pursuing the Level 6 accreditation, with the defined pathway supporting them in achieving stability and providing motivation to complete the programme.

For nursing homes and healthcare employers, the apprentices will develop advanced skills to support care of the older person, providing enhanced support to nurses and strengthening the quality of care within the setting.  

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