Former apprentices reveal how to build a successful career in dentistry

2-minute read | Career stories

A dental apprenticeship is your opportunity to develop your skills in a hands-on role, gain a nationally-recognised qualification and earn whilst you learn. We employ approximately 700 apprentices who flourish and grow their careers in our friendly and supportive environment.

We love talking about how great our dental nurse apprenticeships are, but what better way to learn about our opportunities and find out how our former apprentices’ careers have developed, than to hear from our former apprentices directly.

We caught up with five of our past apprentices to find out more…

Zoe Cheasley

Zoe Cheasley has worked at Bupa Dental Care for over 14 years, enjoying a rewarding career in several different roles. Originally starting as an Apprentice Dental Nurse, she soon progressed into the world of practice management until heading over to recruitment to find future dentistry talent and promote Bupa Dental Care as an employer of choice. In the past month, she has moved into the role of Regional Lead Nurse and her opportunities are endless. Taking her vast amount of experience into account, Zoe shared her top piece of advice for someone looking to embark on a dental nurse apprenticeship:

“It’s really important to not be overwhelmed on the first few days in practice, you’re working with clinicians and nurses that have been doing it for years, so it’s normal to feel like you won’t understand everything straight away.”

“The support from within Bupa Dental Care and the learning provider is endless. This field of dentistry can be completely new to you but understand that no question is a silly question, we were all learning initially.”

Ellie Forrest

Ellie Forrest started as an apprentice dental nurse in 2019, and within two-and-a-half years, quickly took advantage of our career pathways and is now working as a Lead Dental Nurse. Her advice for her former apprentice self is:

“I qualified as a Dental Nurse in 2021 and would tell my former apprentice self to always take opportunities given to you and if not given – reach out to find them! Working and learning can be difficult to juggle as an apprentice, but always do things out of your comfort zone. Putting yourself in challenging situations will help you grow and expand your knowledge for the future. Always ask the questions you think are ‘silly’ – it can be scary to ask for help but your team within Bupa Dental Care are there to support you with their guidance and experience.”

Steph Tunnell

Moving into a Practice Manager role after qualifying as a Dental Nurse is a great way to progress your career, which is exactly the career path that Megan Backham and Stephanie Tunnell have taken. Stephanie said:

“It’s always good to have short-term and long-term career goals in mind. Always look for new opportunities to grow and be thinking of the next step you want to take; we are never the finished article”.

Megan Backham

Talking about her experience as an apprentice, Megan shared her five top tips:

  • Allow time in your week for revision and make sure you’re handing it in on time.
  • Always ask for help from your colleagues or tutor if you don’t understand what is being asked of you.
  • Make sure you join any webinars or support meetings available to you and watch them back if possible. They are very useful and will help you with your coursework!
  • Ensure you get as much time in the surgery as possible as this is the most valuable time.
  • Most importantly, enjoy it! Enjoy learning a new skill and embrace learning something new every day.

Harriet Arnold

Finally, we spoke to Harriet Arnold who has worked at Bupa Dental care for almost nine years. After successfully completing her dental nurse apprenticeship, she progressed to Lead Nurse, then Practice Manager and has recently joined our recruitment team in the role of Resourcing Business Partner.

Her top piece of advice is:

“Do not underestimate your potential; if you really want to achieve something, you will do it. We all have to start somewhere, so aim high and dream big”.

There’s a wealth of support available to new apprentices joining our team and our former apprentices are a testament to the vast array of career pathways and development opportunities we have available once you have qualified with us.

Want to find out more about embarking on an apprenticeship with us? From entry requirements to the interview process and benefits, click below to visit our apprenticeship page to learn more.

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