In 2016, The Department of Health unveiled a target of 100,000 new apprenticeships in the NHS in England by 2020. The government has confirmed degree-level nursing apprenticeships will be available from 2017.
The government first announced its plans for nursing degree apprenticeships in 2014 as a way of attracting the brightest healthcare assistants to the profession, who may otherwise lack the entry requirements for university.
Universities and colleges across England, using £4.5m of government funding, are set to offer 2,500 new degree-level apprenticeships, covering a range of sectors including healthcare.
Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon, said: “This multi-million pound fund will allow universities and colleges to work, that’s why we’ve launched degree apprenticeships that give people a real chance to earn while you learn, putting you on the fast-track to a top career.”
A range of roles will be created, from pharmacy services assistants to associate ambulance practitioners, as well as in areas including IT, hospitality and facilities. They are proven to broaden the routes into training and employment in the NHS and improve diversity within the workforce.
The introduction of nursing apprenticeships follows major changes to student nurses on traditional degree courses who will no longer receive bursaries and instead take out means-tested loans.
The first apprentice nurses could be working on wards from September, and once established, up to 1,000 apprentice nurses could join the NHS each year, which could be a step in the right direction in tackling the current staffing crisis.
David Lewis, managing director, integra people, warrington