Designing better mental healthcare facilities

Encouraging more NHS EFM apprenticeships

NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England (HEE) have launched an NHS ‘Estates and Facilities Apprenticeship Challenge’ to support the greater use of apprenticeships in estates and facilities.

They are challenging NHS employers and wholly-owned subsidiaries to create 1,000 new apprenticeships starts in 2022/23. NHSE/I said: “This challenge forms a cornerstone of the NHS People Plan, which encourages an increasing number of young people into estates and facilities careers, and expands routes for professional development and training within our existing workforce. We are proud to already have an average of 450 apprentices in estates and facilities each year, encompassing roles ranging from engineering, plumbing, and facilities management, to domestic services, catering, and sustainability. We now want to set an ambitious new challenge to more than double the number of new apprenticeships in our workforce to 1,000. This includes both apprenticeships that upskill existing staff, and new ones for staff joining our workforce, using funding available through the Apprenticeship Levy.”

To achieve the goals, NHSE/I and HEE are asking leaders and managers to support the challenge by:

  • Using and promoting the new Estates and Facilities Apprenticeship Toolkit.
  • Raising the profile of current estates and facilities vacancies by using the vacancy portal so that vacancy adverts are optimised via their strategic partnership with
  • Actively considering apprenticeships within estates and facilities workforce plans for both new and existing staff to support with upskilling and retention, and attract new talent and address workforce shortages.
  • Re-designing existing vacancies to include an apprenticeship opportunity, to help make the roles more attractive to prospective candidates. will be supporting the challenge by promoting all estates and facilities vacancies across its sites nationally, and within the relevant local areas, assisting with elevating the profile of these roles, and providing advice on topics such as job content and diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Dedicated support and guidance from the Estates and Facilities Project Support Team is also available, with a guide on how to get involved accessible at

NHSE/I and HSE added: “By taking part in the challenge, you will be raising the profile of estates and facilities apprenticeships. You will also be sharing your vacancies with wider stakeholders in your region, which will attract a bigger talent pool of applicants.”


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