A FORMER 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 a start.

Michelle Jackson trained as a dental nursing apprentice with NECC Training, which is now part of Northern Skills Group, the commercial training arm of Middlesbrough College.

She is now operations director at Love Dental on Team Valley, Gateshead, which draws patients from across the region.

After qualifying, she underwent sedation nurse training with the NECC, and worked her way up to her current role.

The practice uses innovative laser technology instead of drilling, which is unusual in the UK.

She said: “We really take our time with patients, because a lot of people who come here are phobic about dentistry.

“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.”

She has now taken on her own apprentice, Carley Smith, and plans a full training programme for her.

“We like to get our trainees 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,” she said.

“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 about 1,000 apprentices a 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 here at Middlesbrough College, you see all sides of a business and really grasp how things work,” he said.