An extra 2,000 student places for nurses and other clinicians are to be funded in Wales, ministers have announced.
The Welsh government said it will invest more than £82m into training healthcare professionals in 2013-14.
This will mean more than 2,000 new students and more than 6,100 current students will be funded by the government, according to health Minister Lesley Griffiths.
The funding will cover a range of future healthcare professionals including nurses, midwives, radiographers, paramedics and pharmacists.
The number of training places funded is based on workforce plans developed by NHS organisations and has been discussed with unions.
Ms Griffiths said: “High quality healthcare education is critical to support the delivery of health services in Wales both now and in the future.
“The extra nurses demonstrate our commitment to support young children living in disadvantaged areas by supporting an enhanced health visiting service,” she said.
“The number of training places for 2013-14 is based on what the NHS estimates it will need to maintain services from 2016 onwards,” she added. “This is based on a number of factors, including the age profile of staff, the number of people currently working and in training, and the course attrition rate.”
Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, welcomed an increase in student numbers, especially in children’s nursing places.
She said: “In 2011, we saw a 35% cut in the number of children’s nursing places…the RCN is delighted that the Welsh Government has increased training places for children’s nursing.”
Ms Donnelly added: “We were very pleased to give our views as a part of this commissioning process and we are pleased that our concerns have been reflected in the final figures.”