Walsall College has launched a range of new Dental Nursing courses to meet the growing skills shortage and support the industry, which is expected to grow rapidly over the next ten years.

The college is offering an advanced apprenticeship in Dental Nursing for students interested in starting a career in the area, as well as continuing professional development (CPD) courses, post qualifications in Dental Radiography and Oral Health Education, for practising nurses looking to update their skills in line with new industry requirements.

Due to a growing population, by 2025 dental nurses will be required to carry out 25 per cent of all direct patient care in addition to their role of supporting dentists, and as a result up to 48,000 more nurses are needed in the sector.

To deliver the new curriculum to professional standards, the college has appointed a new Dental Employer Responsive team, who have over 16 years of experience working in the industry between them, having worked as qualified dental nurses in hospitals, community and general practices.

Karen Roberts, Head of Employer Responsive in Dental at Walsall College, commented: “We are fully committed to addressing the skills shortage in the sector with our apprenticeship and CPD provision. We are also working in partnership with a growing number of dental practices to ensure our curriculum is shaped to meets their needs, as well as develop new courses in specialist areas to help upskill staff.

“The dental sector is one of the region’s fastest growing industries, which means there has never been a better time to train as a dental nurse and work towards a rewarding career.  Our apprenticeship programme will help students to take the first steps into the industry and learn all the key skills required to become a dental nurse, with a qualification recognised for registration with the General Dental Council; an essential requirement for all dental nurses.”

Dr Harish Ashley Purmah, Principal Dentist at Angel Dental Clinic in Sutton Coldfield, is currently working with the college to recruit an apprentice dental nurse. He said: “The team at Walsall College has a wealth of industry experience along with a developed understanding of the issues faced by clinics. I have every confidence that we will establish a long-term and successful partnership.

“The apprentice vacancy is a great opportunity for someone to work alongside a team of qualified dental professionals and gain the practical skills they need to succeed in their career.”

More and more school leavers are now taking up apprenticeships as A-levels and university are no longer seen as the only route to a successful career. Apprenticeships allow people to gain their qualifications in the workplace and earn a wage whilst working alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills.

James Norris, Assistant Principal for Commercial Development at Walsall College, commented: “Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and real work experience that will lead to greater employment prospects in the future, and are also a fantastic way for businesses to develop new talent and pass their knowledge on to the next generation of workers.”