New initiative in nurse training as ‘apprenticeships’ introduced

It feels as if we are almost going back to the good old days where nurses trained on the job (and did not necessarily have degrees), though in modern parlance, everything now becomes an ‘apprenticeship’. Strikes me as a step in the right direction to have courses which are more accessible and which enable trainee nurses to earn as they learn. Potentially good news for young people wanting to enter the profession.

Nursing careers in England will be made more accessible through a new government package worth up to £172 million, which will enable healthcare employers to take on up to 2,000 nursing degree apprentices every year over the next 4 years.

The news comes as interest in health careers has surged, with the number of people looking for information on nursing on the NHS careers website rising by 138% between March and June.

Nursing degree apprenticeships provide a route into nursing where people can train to nationally recognised standards and earn as they learn, benefiting those for whom a full-time university course is not practical or preferred.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

I’m thrilled to see a rising interest in nursing careers, but we must ensure this fantastic career is truly diverse and open to all.

Nursing apprenticeships allow students to earn as they learn and this new funding will enable healthcare employers to hire thousands more, helping us to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.

Gillian Keegan, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister said:

Nursing apprenticeships are a brilliant way to start a truly rewarding career with our fantastic NHS.  Nurses are at the heart of our NHS and their care, compassion and support of patients save and transform lives across the country every day.

This multi-million pound funding boost will help to support thousands of apprentices to gain the skills they need, and earn while they learn. Apprenticeships are an excellent way for anyone, regardless of their background, to kick start their career or to progress.

NHS and other healthcare employers will receive £8,300 per placement per year for both new and existing apprenticeships. Nursing degree apprentices already receive a salary and have their tuition costs paid for through the apprenticeship programme. The funding will enable employers to meet the costs of taking on apprentices, including staffing costs while apprentices are undertaking education and training.

The nursing degree apprenticeship is a 4-year course with placements available in the 4 fields of adult, children, mental health and learning disability, after which students can qualify as fully registered nurses. NHS and social care employers currently train around 1,000 nurse apprentices every year.

In addition to this funding, employers in England will also benefit from a new payment announced last month of £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, up until 31 January 2021.

The news comes the week after the NHS People Plan was published setting out how the NHS will put staff wellbeing at its heart with a new recruitment, retention and support package. It sets out practical support for wellbeing such as safe spaces to rest and recuperate, wellbeing guardians and support to keep staff physically safe and healthy.

 

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