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06.03.14

New nursing apprenticeship receives robust industry support

A new degree level apprenticeship aimed at widening access to the nursing profession, has received cross-industry support this week.

Unveiled by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the apprenticeship will make sure there is an opportunity for talented care workers to progress into nursing – giving them a chance to advance their careers andmaking the most of their vocational experience of working as a healthcare assistant.

Sue Covill, director of employment services for NHS Employers, said:“Many employers are looking forward to implementing the degree level apprenticeship which not only supports their recruitment plans but also widens access into nursing for their local communities.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for compassionate people who have the right interests and aptitudes to forge a productive career in the NHS.”

The new apprenticeship will be targeted at the brightest and best healthcare assistants who have proven they can give high quality care to patients, but do not have the academic qualifications necessary to get on to a nursing degree.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock added: “We want the new norm to be for young people to either choose to go to university or begin an apprenticeship. This announcement is another step forward in making this the case.”

As part of the requirement that all new nurses must have a nursing degree, the apprenticeship will have the degree at its core. The trailblazer group who are developing it will be looking at how ensuring that on completion, apprentices will have all the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to perform nursing duties well and confidently, meeting their employer’s and professional registration requirements.

Sir Hugh Taylor, chairman of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Here at Guy’s and St Thomas’ we see great potential in the apprenticeship route to nursing. It is vital to a big employer like us, providing healthcare to a highly diverse community, to widen access to nursing from our local population and from our own workforce.

“Apprenticeships are already proving their worth for us in other areas of healthcare. This is a logical and exciting development.”

Also, as part of a commitment to making the NHS more compassionate, ministers have given the go ahead for a working group to develop a brand new apprenticeship standard. The scheme is one of the recommendations in the independent review carried out by Camilla Cavendish in the wake of the Francis Inquiry into the tragic events at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

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