Bupa Dental Care celebrates National Apprenticeship Week with inspiring stories from dental nurse apprentices.
As we approach National Apprenticeship Week from 5 to 11 February, Bupa Dental Care’s latest research that shows 76% of healthcare workers feel that their job makes a real difference to society.
However, 27% of those outside the healthcare sector lack the confidence to switch careers. Despite this, 57% are willing to take the leap if it includes on-the-job training, with 31% recognising that learning is crucial for career progression.
To inspire others, here are five success stories of dental nurse apprentices who have embraced change and seized the opportunity to grow their careers.
Jodie Hodkinson is weeks away from the finish line
Jodie Hodkinson started her apprenticeship at Bupa Dental Care St Anne’s in Manchester when she was 16. Two years on, she’s in the final stretch, with her last exam just weeks away. Jodie spends four days in surgery and one day studying. Her main interests are working alongside the oral surgeon and learning about infection control and decontamination. She ensures that all health and safety requirements are met.
Recently, she was awarded the Apprentice Title at Bupa’s Everyday Hero Awards, demonstrating all she does to support the team – a real rising star.
Jaimee Mitchell doesn’t want her apprenticeship to end
Jaimee Mitchell, 20, from Cardiff is one year into her dental nursing apprenticeship at Bupa Dental Care Penarth. She explained: ‘Despite having no qualifications or prior experience in dentistry, I applied for an apprenticeship in 2022. I didn’t expect to be selected, so when I was offered the position, it was the best thing ever. I have found my happy place here.’
Jaimee advises students that their grades do not define them and there are so many options available out there.
Danika Gibson turned her dreams into reality
Danika Gibson fulfilled her dream of pursuing a career in dentistry by starting an apprenticeship at Bupa Dental Care Thornton-Cleveleys in 2021. She had previously worked in various cafes, bars, and pubs, but decided to switch to nursing through an apprenticeship programme to explore her interests. Danika recently qualified and is now looking forward to the future, with aspirations of becoming a dentist.
Georgina Hilton moved from property to dental nursing
Georgina Hilton made a career change from an estate agency administrator to a dental nurse apprentice at Bupa Dental Care Great Dunmow in 2022. She encourages aspiring dental nurses to believe in themselves and embrace the chance to never stop learning.
‘There will be challenges along the way, but know you are capable of anything you set your mind to,’ she said.
Portia Martin found her purpose in transforming smiles
Portia Martin, a dental nurse at Worcester City, St Mary’s Street, shared: ‘Before joining Bupa, I felt lost. My apprenticeship has helped me find purpose and direction.’
Portia loves caring for patients and making a difference in people’s lives, adding: ‘It’s a fulfilling and rewarding career that offers constant learning opportunities.’
Emma Taggart went from care assistant to Apprentice of the Year nominee
Emma Taggart began her career as a care assistant. She later switched to dentistry and completed her apprenticeship in August 2023. She enjoyed the opportunity to study and work at the same time. Her hard work paid off when she was nominated as Apprentice of the Year in Northern Ireland. Emma now has her sights set on becoming a hygienist.
Your path to success
Bupa Dental Care has a wide range of apprenticeships available across the UK for applicants aged 16 and above. These programmes last between 18-24 months. They offer hands-on experience, which can lead to numerous career pathways within the dental sector. There are no specific qualifications required to apply for these apprenticeships. The program provides support for achieving necessary certifications during the training.
Sam Williams, people director at Bupa Dental Care, said: ‘At Bupa Dental Care, our apprenticeship programmes are designed to equip individuals with the skills needed to thrive in an ever-evolving work landscape.
‘Our apprentices play a vital role in delivering high-quality care and services to patients nationwide. We currently have 650 apprentices building their nursing careers with us.
‘Embarking on a new career journey can be intimidating, and our research shows that it’s normal and understandable to feel apprehensive. However, an apprenticeship with us provides a reassuring way to try something new and take that initial step into a different sector and the world of work.
‘For those considering a change, our dental apprentices benefit from industry-leading training, ensuring they gain a recognised qualification while receiving comprehensive support to balance work, study and life.
‘Joining Bupa Dental Care opens doors to structured career pathways, competitive compensation, and enticing benefits. While stepping into something new can be a significant move, I encourage anyone seeking a fresh challenge to reach out. We’re here to support your journey.’
To view all our available apprenticeships, visit careers.bupa.co.uk/our-apprenticeships.