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Ladder for the Black Country helping to fill dental vacancies

The Ladder for the Black Country is working closely with employers in the health and social care sector that are looking to take on young people as apprentices.

There are many apprenticeship opportunities with dental practices that still need filling

Ladder co-ordinator Anne Moore said there were numerous vacancies within dental practices in the area.

"Talking to young people due to leave school this year, they believe that employers are not taking on apprenticeships, which in some industries is true, but not within care or related industries as these are vital services.

"With dental, NHS practices are limited, but private practice has continued as normal."

Holly Dowling has recently completed her dental nursing diploma level three.

Holly, who works at Abbey House Dental, Stone, did her apprenticeship trough Ladder member Performance Through People in Walsall.

Holly decided when she left school to apply to become a dental nurse and explained that she enjoys helping others and felt that becoming a dental nurse would be a great opportunity for her to do this.

She started her apprenticeship prior to the Covid 19 pandemic last year, but as the pandemic took hold, Holly was furloughed by her employer. Not wanting to stay at home, Holly opted to change to a new practice where they offered more private work and more procedures. Holly said that it was important to ensure that she kept up her surgery work, without which she would not have been able to complete her qualification.

Holly was also eager to learn new skills, which the new practice offered. As a teenager Holly was fitted with a brace to help straighten her smile, which she feels has made a tremendous difference to her confidence. The opportunity to move to a practice that offered more treatments and specialised in orthodontic work was an opportunity she felt she could not miss.

Holly explained that more and more patients are attending the practice asking for their smiles to be fixed or teeth whitened. This is mainly due to people, for the first time, seeing themselves on Zoom or team and not being happy with the portrait they portray.

Holly also explained that people’s teeth and smiles can be affected by ill health, certain sports, medication, or neglect. By supporting patients to improve their teeth and smiles increases their self-worth and confident. Holly said that seeing the joy and happiness these procedures can offer patients makes her job worthwhile.

The experience Holly has gained through her programme of learning has led her to want to progress to become an implant nurse. Further training in radiography and impression taking will be needed to support Holly to do this which Holly is keen to take on.

Whilst working towards her dental nursing qualification Holly contracted Covid-19. So as not to fall behind in her studies she arranged meetings, via teams, with her training advisor, Sam Sutton to continue with her training.

Sam, from Performance Through People, said that Holly was a very determined young person and despite having to move practice and becoming ill, Holly had fought to keep up with her studies, complete her work timely and to a good standard and achieve her goals, no matter what.

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