Nursing apprenticeships are boosting the NHS workforce
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has reported its largest ever annual increase of registered nursing and midwifery professionals. There are now 716,607 nurses, midwives and nursing associates permanently registered to work in the UK – and increase of 18,370 from last year.
This increase is a welcome and necessary boost for the NHS. In these unprecedented times, we need nurses more now than ever. They’re the lifeblood of the NHS and have saved countless lives over the last year. But even before the pandemic emerged, the NHS was in dire need of nurses. In 2019, the Government pledged to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this parliament – and now they’re well on their way to keeping this promise.
Why have the number of nurses increased?
People who want to pursue a career in nursing now have 2 options – a traditional undergraduate nursing degree or a degree-level nursing apprenticeship.
Despite scrapping the tuition fee bursary a few years ago, the Government now provides at least £5,000 a year in free additional support for all nursing degree students. This extra financial support will help many students and may open up opportunities to students that otherwise wouldn’t have considered the course.
Nursing degree apprenticeships are starting to take off
Nursing degree apprenticeships are a fantastic option for aspiring nurses as they give people the opportunity to earn while they learn. Nurses train on the job and are paid a full-time wage throughout their training.
Nursing apprenticeships are available for everyone. Whether you’re just out of school or have been working in the NHS for years, they give everyone the opportunity to learn new skills, take an extra step on the ladder and join a rewarding career.
Lauren Payne, a nursing graduate at Cambridge University Hospital Foundation Trust said, ‘Apprenticeships give people the chance to develop and become a nurse over a longer period without the added financial pressure.’
The degree-level vocational courses were introduced 4 years ago, and have slowly started to gain traction in NHS trusts across the country. Over 1,800 new nursing apprentices have started their training over the last couple of years – with a 6% increase in applicants year on year.
Investing the apprenticeship levy in nursing
In total, the NHS pays £200 million into the apprenticeship levy every year, and trusts can use these levy funds to invest in nursing apprentices. So far, the NHS has invested 50% of its annual £200 million levy fund back into apprenticeship training. This is significantly more than last year, and trusts are moving in the right direction, but this still leaves £100 million in the pot.
NHS trusts are being encouraged to step up their apprenticeship recruitment and invest 100% of the levy back into training.
How to invest your trust’s levy funds in apprenticeship training
Each trust has its own levy funds to invest in apprenticeship training. To access the funds, you’ll need to register for an Apprenticeship Service (AS) account to see how much funding your trust has. You can also search, manage and pay for apprenticeships using your AS account.
To help you invest 100% of your levy funds in training opportunities, we’ve created an apprenticeship levy starter pack especially for NHS trusts. You’ll find out how to calculate your levy funds, create a training strategy and get the best ROI from your levy.
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