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Nursing apprenticeships boost to deliver NHS Long Term Plan

That was the demand of Ruth May, England’s Chief Nursing Officer, as she called on NHS organisations to offer a greater number of nursing apprenticeships to local people in order to help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan and improve patient care.

Already, over the last couple of years, almost 1,800 new nursing apprentices have begun their training but NHS chiefs want to see thousands more be given the opportunity to earn alongside their learning.

Ms May met with 17 nurses in Cambridge, who were among the first in the country to complete their qualifications through the scheme, last week.

The new nursing apprentices are aimed at being a way to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to earn while they learn to provide care, with the new recruits being offered on-the-job training, free tuition fees and an annual wage.

With Government having committed to increasing the nursing workforce in England by 50,000, increased nursing apprentices have formed just one part of the healthcare service’s national recruitment campaign.

READ MORE: Apprenticeships must not repeat mistakes of the past, RCN warns

READ MORE: Hunt promises nursing apprenticeships in bid to deliver more flexible careers

Ms May said: “The NHS is providing world class care for more patients than ever before, and to carry on doing that we need 50,000 more nurses.

“Boosting the number of nursing apprentices is one important way we can achieve that goal, and as we deliver on our NHS Long Term Plan, we want local health service employers to ramp up the number of opportunities they offer to people in their areas.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “I’m a massive fan of Apprenticeships, and as the former Apprenticeships Minister, who introduced Nursing Apprenticeships, I’m thrilled to see so many people on Apprenticeships in the NHS.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to kickstart their career in healthcare and offer a flexible, alternative route into nursing where you can earn as you learn. Boosting the number of apprentices is an important step towards delivering our commitment to have 50,000 more nurses by 2024/25, and I want to see every Trust doing their part to help us achieve that.

“I’d like to welcome the thousands who have joined our NHS from all ages and backgrounds since the nursing apprenticeships were introduced, and hope to see many more starting over the coming years.”

In recently published guidance by NHS leaders, local organisations were asked to review their workforce plans for the coming year and ensure apprenticeships formed part of them, making full use of the available apprenticeship levy.

Cambridge University Hospital Trust has been leading the way so far, with plans to hire 100 nursing apprentices per year.


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