We were delighted to welcome our latest apprentice dental nurses to the Smile Together team in the summer of 2022 – Maisie Keen and Katie Putt in our Harleigh Road Dental Centre, and Karn Percival who was formerly our receptionist in Newquay and is now progressing her dental nursing career with us there. Not only are all three trainees working very effectively in the surgery environment, but they have also enthusiastically supported initiatives in the heart of local communities such as Smiles at Sea and Health for Homeless and helped to engage patients in important initiatives such as Mouth Cancer Action Month, putting together some amazing displays.

This is the third year Smile Together has taken on apprentice dental nurses, with tremendous success.

In 2021 Ty Norris joined us in Bodmin and Corey Wedlake joined us at The Lescudjack Centre in Penzance, but is often found supporting our team in Truro too! Both Ty and Corey excelled in their studies whilst successfully delivering in their roles throughout the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, popular with their clinical colleagues and our patients alike, and qualified as dental nurses in the summer of 2022, Ty with a distinction. She also successfully stood for election to our Shareholder Impact Board and joined us at the Cornwall Business Awards in 2022 where we won the Finance in Business Award.

Corey was successfully shortlisted for the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards 2021 in the special category of Community Champion and enjoyed attending the awards celebration that November. Ty was highly commended in the 2022 awards for ‘reaching exceptional levels of achievement and making a valuable contribution to our company’.

Corey continues to develop his dental nursing career with us, working predominantly in Penzance but supporting wherever required, including through our oral health pack donations project. Although Ty has sadly left us to pursue an equine career, this is ultimately to determine if she wishes to become a horse or human dentist, and either way we’re proud to have inspired her!

Ty and Corey had a tough act to follow given the outstanding success of our very first apprentice dental nurses, Thai Batchelor and Tanisha Doig, who joined Smile Together back in 2017 and remained with us upon qualification. Whilst Tanisha is now pursuing her orthodontic dental nursing career elsewhere, Thai continues her successful dental nursing career with us, working alongside our dentists and dental therapists and supporting our new trainees. Thai also has responsibility for our oral health recycling, with Harleigh Road being a registered Colgate TerraCycle location for patients and the wider community to deposit items for recycling.

Thai reflects on her apprenticeship experience: “I was so inspired by the Smile Together team that when I saw their apprenticeship opportunities being promoted I leapt at the chance to apply and was thrilled to be offered one of the two posts. Tanisha and I started in December 2017, gaining knowledge in all areas of dentistry from the urgent and emergency service through to routine private care. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially the in-house mentoring that I received from the dental nurses and dentists who were so supportive. As the first dental nurse apprentices for Smile Together, Tanisha and I worked together to achieve our qualifications, studying, revising and helping each other throughout the course and were both very excited to be offered full-time dental nurse positions upon completion of our qualification. It really is a great place to both start and develop your dental nursing career.”

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