How to rebuild your healthcare workforce after Covid-19

How to overcome the biggest challenges facing healthcare recruitment.

How to rebuild your care workforce after Covid-19

The health and care sector has experienced a year like no other. While the sector is used to shortages, increased patient numbers, increased ratios due to social distancing, and reduced staff numbers due to illness, shielding or self-isolation have added even more pressure than usual.

The sector needs staff. But even though millions of people have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, attracting staff into health and care is still a challenge. One of the main issues is training.

Health workers are highly skilled, highly motivated people who complete specialist training either before or during their role. Many people who may have lost their jobs over the last year, or are looking for a career change, don’t have the right skills for healthcare. One of the best ways to attract new recruits and give them the training and development they need to progress is with apprenticeships.

On-the-job training and development

Apprenticeships are a great way for employers to recruit the right people, grow talent and develop a skilled workforce. Apprentices learn on the job, so their training can be tailored to the employer and include the most relevant and up-to-date skills. Employers also gain resource on the ground from day one – helping ease the pressure of staff and skills shortages.

To encourage employers to hire new apprentices, the Government has introduced an increased incentive. Until September 2021, all employers that hire a new apprentice receive £3,000 for each new start. This is on top of the existing £1,000 payment for 16-18-year-old apprentices and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care plan.

This means some employers could qualify for up to £4,000 for hiring an apprentice, which is a fantastic incentive to encourage employers to hire sooner rather than later.

Apprenticeships are also a fantastic option for individuals. Apprentices don’t have to spend years training before they start work – they earn while they learn and get real-life experience from day one. Apprenticeship training costs are covered by the employer, so individuals don’t have to pay for their training.

There are apprenticeships available across all healthcare roles and levels – from degree-level nursing apprenticeships to level 2 health and social care.

Rewarding and successful careers

Many people have negative perceptions of the health and care sector – but while it's not for everyone, these views are changing.

The pandemic has highlighted the vital, valuable role healthcare plays in society. It’s positioned healthcare workers as heroes – which may not be a flawless rhetoric, but has raised the profile of the sector. Many people now see healthcare as an important career with plenty of room for progression – one that’s always in demand, ever-changing and full of potential.

This new positive public perception has already attracted new people to the sector. The number of new nursing applicants between January and June 2020 was 63% higher than the same period last year.

Clare Marchant, UCAS chief executive said, ‘We should celebrate seeing so many people keen to embark on a rewarding career in nursing. Inspirational stories throughout this pandemic have clearly sparked imaginations, with people from all walks of life applying.’


Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to recruit, train and retain high-quality staff in the health and care sector. Apprentices learn on the job and, if you pay the apprenticeship levy, training costs are completely covered. All employers qualify for the newly increased apprenticeship incentive, so there’s never been a better time to invest in apprenticeships.

If you’re an employer and you’d like to find out more about apprenticeships, download your top tips for employing apprenticeships: healthcare edition.

Download top tips


Or if you’re an individual looking to start a career as a health apprentice, download your top 10 tips to acing your apprenticeship application.


This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.