New pathways into the NHS – Degree Apprenticeships and Nursing Associates

New pathways into the NHS – Degree Apprenticeships and Nursing Associates

The NHS is currently experiencing nationwide staffing shortages, particularly in various key roles. In order to try and attract a wider pool of new recruits, two new exciting entry routes into NHS careers have been recently unveiled.

  • The degree apprenticeship route
  • The Nursing Associate route

I have already written a blog post introducing the new Nursing Associate role, ‘A new pathway into nursing.

We also feature Nursing Associate as a career profile within our careers guidance products, making it clear to interested people that this is a great new entry route into a nursing career, enabling them to gain hands-on skills and experience and the opportunity to study for the necessary qualifications to progress to a higher level.

From September 2017, students will be able to begin their health career by joining a degree-level Nursing apprenticeship. In order to support universities in the development of these courses, the government has promised £4.5m of funding.

Degree apprenticeships provide students with a wonderful university fee free route into a degree level career. They will finish the course by gaining a relevant degree in Nursing, and yet also possess a huge wealth of practical hands-on experience, and a job waiting for them. And of course, they will have been paid whilst working, and have had their university fees paid for them. Win, win win!

I only wish degree apprenticeships had been around when I was 18!

Nursing degree level apprenticeships will be offered at the following universities, from September 2017:

  • Derby
  • Gloucestershire
  • Greenwich
  • Sunderland.

The entry requirements will be the same as those for the full-time Nursing degree, which is normally around 112 UCAS tariff points, and five GCSE passes at grade C/4 or above in Maths, English and Science. The degree apprenticeships will usually last four years, with time spent at both university and at a healthcare provider.

Degree apprenticeships have also been announced in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy – two areas where there are currently severe staff shortages. A hospital trust in Lincolnshire will oversee the development of these two degree apprenticeships. Watch this space for more details.

A degree apprenticeship BSc (Hons) in Healthcare Science Practitioners including Biomedical Scientists has also been announced. Employers are being encouraged to work with their local universities to implement these degree apprenticeships in time for September 2017. These courses will take a minimum of 3 years to complete, and will provide an inclusive, viable route into degree level healthcare science roles, complementing the traditional academic route.

I have been able to find the following universities offering the Healthcare Science degree apprenticeship:

  • Plymouth
  • University of the West of England
  • University of Cumbria
  • Sheffield Hallam
  • Swansea.

The new Nursing Associate role, coupled with the new degree apprenticeships, offer new routes into health careers, overcoming potential barriers such as cost and lack of qualifications.

We all want to see our NHS thrive, and for this to happen, the service needs to be adequately staffed by properly skilled individuals who possess a passion to help and care for others. Hopefully these new measures will help get the right people on board; people who possibly could have been repelled by the fear of fees or lack of relevant qualifications, and lost to their true vocation.

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