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Tuesday 15 June 2021
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Army apprentice
Photo (left to right): Apprentice Oliver Dutton, Major Ray Jolly, Lt. Col. Patricia Cook, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust's Lesley Moss MBE, Helen Murphy, Debbie Ward and Sue Hilton from Salford City College, and Support Officer George Hayden

Pioneering military apprenticeship programme launches in Salford

A local soldier has left regular service and joined the Army Medical Reserve in Salford.


Oliver Dutton, who is 27-years-old, is taking part in a pioneering Apprenticeship programme delivered by Salford City College and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.


Oliver is working towards a Level 3 qualification in Clinical Healthcare Support as part of his development as a Reservist in the Army Medical Services’ 207 Field Hospital based in Manchester, and is in partnership with key stakeholders in the Armed Forces Community Covenant.


Prior to his transfer to the Army Reserve, Oliver served at 22 Signal Regiment in Stafford, working as a Signals Communications Systems Operator. As part of his work in Signals, Oliver completed a tour of Afghanistan in 2012, where he was required to provide protection for Camp Scouter. He was also responsible for establishing and maintaining satellite communications with the UK.


During his time in Afghanistan he was trained to treat casualties of war, which is where he developed his passion for emergency medicine. He explained: “With that, I decided to pursue my passion. I wanted to start building a life back at home in Manchester, but also try and stay part of the military spectrum.”


Oliver’s father, who is a former Army Medic and Falklands veteran, put him in contact with the Commanding Officer of the 207 Field Hospital, the leading Reservist Medical unit in the North West, where Head of Learning and Development Ray Jolly suggested he undertake training to work as a Health Care Assistant.


Oliver is now enrolled on a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Clinical Healthcare Support with Salford City College, and is based at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust three days a week to complete the training required to achieve his qualification.


When he finishes his pioneering Apprenticeship programme, which will give him a Level 3 qualification, Oliver will become the first ever homegrown Army Reservist Health Care Assistant, with a platform to develop further as either a nurse or a paramedic.


As part of his training, Oliver is mentored by the Health & Social Care tutors at Salford City College, Support Officer from 207 Field Hospital George Hayden, and Patricia Cook, an Advanced Practitioner in Neurosurgery at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.


Patricia commented: “As a Clinical Practitioner at Salford and an Army Reservist, it is an honour and a privilege to support someone like Oliver with his transition from regular army service to a civilian role, in order to achieve his dream of working within the health service.

“The partnership between Salford Royal, the College, and the Field Hospital was quickly established and is flourishing. I trust that this is only the start of an exciting and fruitful working partnership that will continue to grow.”


Oliver explained: “The Apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to gain a vast knowledge in medicine, and gain vital experience in preparation for enrolling on my paramedic course. On top of this, I will be paid by the army to complete the course. I am extremely grateful and feel privileged to be offered this opportunity.”


Debbie Ward, Director of Work Based Learning at Salford City College, said: “We are delighted to have developed this unique partnership with the Army Field Hospital and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and hope that the success of Oliver’s Apprenticeship will allow us to grow our offer to support even more military employees looking to enhance their skillset.”


Colonel Nick Medway, the Commanding Officer of 207 Field Hospital explained: “We are extremely proud of our relationship with the local community. Thanks to the vision of Salford City College and Salford Royal NHS Trust, we are working in partnership to develop our Reservists within our community.


“This also acts as a platform for greater understanding of our role as Army Medics and indeed allowing us to engage with veterans whom might not otherwise identify themselves as ex-forces until they see a local Army Medic in their local hospital, being trained by their local college staff.  This is a fantastic initiative and a true representation of what the Armed Forces Community Covenant is all about.”


Lesley Moss MBE, Senior HR Services Manager at Salford Royal, said: “The Trust welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the Army Medical Services 207 Field Hospital and Salford City College on such a worthwhile programme, which recognises, appreciates and values Reservists with the Salford community.”