Government to double nursing apprenticeship numbers

The plan comes after the a pre-election pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2024. 

Ian Snug
10 August 2020
nursing students on the ward

Nursing apprenticeships provide an alternative to the traditional undergraduate route into nursing.

The Government has announced plans to double the number of nursing apprenticeships.

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A new financial package worth up to £172 million will enable healthcare employers to take on up to 2,000 nursing degree apprentices every year over the next four years.

The news comes as interest in health careers has surged amid with COVID-19 pandemic, 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 an alternative to the traditional undergraduate route into nursing, benefiting those for whom a full-time university course is not practical or preferred.

Earn as they learn.

The nursing degree apprenticeship is a four-year course with placements available in the four 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.

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The scheme comes after the a pre-election pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2024.

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.”

Falls short.

Mike Adams, Royal College of Nursing Director for England, also commented on the announcement: “This increase in places is a welcome step and we hope it will make a career in nursing more accessible for those fortunate enough to secure a place.

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“It does, however, fall short of the wider investment needed to educate enough registered nurses for the future, ensuring health and care services have the staff needed.

“It is also the case that a full time three year nursing degree remains the fastest way to deliver a registered nurse through education.

“The Government must abolish self-funded tuition fees for all nursing students as well as introducing universal living maintenance grants that reflect actual student need if it is truly committed on delivering the 50,000 more nurses they promised.”

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