In a major speech at today’s NHS Providers conference, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a new Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, which will open up a career in nursing to many more people.
The Nursing Degree Apprenticeship offers a new route into nursing, and will be open to those already working in the NHS or who aspire to have a career in nursing, but for whom the traditional full-time degree route is not appropriate.
Under the new scheme, as many as 1,000 nursing associates could join the NHS each year.
This new nursing role has been developed to support and complement registered nurses, with nursing associates trained to perform more complex tasks than healthcare assistants currently undertake, freeing up registered nurses’ time to focus on other, more challenging aspects of patient care.
Those who complete the apprenticeship will be able to count their training and experience towards a nursing degree, offering apprentices a clear pathway to becoming a graduate registered nurse. The role will be subject to statutory professional regulation, giving patients and employers the confidence that this will be an important part of the NHS of the future.
The role has already attracted significant interest, with training places on the pilot scheme doubled from 1,000 to 2,000.
The Government has committed to creating 100,000 apprenticeships within the NHS by 2020.
John Rogers, Chief Executive, Skills for Health, said: “We are very pleased to hear today’s announcement about the approval of the Apprenticeship Standard for the registered nurse. Skills for Health are supporting the development of a number of Trailblazer apprenticeship standards and this has included the standard for the registered nurse. Over the past two years we have worked closely with the Trailblazer Chairs, Terry Tucker and Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, employers and other key stakeholders to develop the standard for approval by the Department for Education. In the forthcoming months we will continue to work with this dedicated group of people to develop the End Point Assessment Plan.’