A former North East apprentice who now runs a pioneering pain-free dental practice has been speaking of her path to success – and how she’s giving other young apprentices their own start.
Michelle Jackson trained as a dental nursing apprentice with NECC Training, which is now part of Northern Skills Group, the apprenticeship and training arm of Middlesbrough College.
She’s now operations director at Love Dental on Team Valley, Gateshead, which opened recently but is already drawing patients from across the region.
She said: “After qualifying, I went on to do sedation nurse training with NECC Training, and finally worked my way up to this role.”
The practice uses innovative laser technology instead of drilling, which is unusual in the UK.
“We really take our time with patients, because a lot of people come here are phobic about dentistry,” she said.
“They can visit us first to acclimatise themselves, and we’ll sit and have a chat and show them the equipment and how it works.”
Michelle has now recruited her own apprentice, Carley Smith, and plans full training programme for her.
“We like to get our learners really involved. For us, it’s all about the patients and building up a rapport with the nurse and the team, and we also like to help people to go further, working up extended dental nurse courses or other qualifications including hygiene and therapy.
“An apprenticeship is a great way to start your career – I can definitely recommend it for anyone wanting to get into this profession.”
Northern Skills Group trains around more than a thousand apprentices each year, and lead Peter Wilson said many go on to do extremely well in their careers.
“Because you learn on the job, as well as attending training within Northern Skills Groups’ regional centres, you see all sides of a business and really grasp how things work,” he said.
“Michelle’s story is a perfect example of the practical and professional route into a great career that apprenticeships can provide.”