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Unemployed nurses given apprenticeships


The Scottish government is introducing a paid apprenticeship scheme for newly qualified nurses in response to the “very real challenges” faced by those trying to find jobs, Nursing Times has learnt.

The scheme will see some 350 newly qualified nurses who have been unable to find jobs at Agenda for Change band 5 undertake a year long apprenticeship.

A spokeswoman for NHS Education for Scotland said the scheme was in response to a shortage of nursing posts due to funding restrictions.

She told Nursing Times: “We recognise that the current financial context has presented very real challenges for newly registered nursing and midwifery staff in identifying job opportunities and it has, equally, limited the type of opportunities, which have previously been available for offer under the one year guarantee scheme.” 

The apprenticeships - which will be supernumerary and funded by the Scottish government - are to be offered in place of the one year job guarantee for newly qualified nurses and midwives.

The proposals are being finalised by government officials and groups, including health boards, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives, and are due to be published at the end of the month. Guidelines will prevent boards from using apprentices as cheap labour in place of other posts.

The draft document states: “Interns will not be trainees, but will be fully registered nurses and midwives with the same standard skills and competencies as other newly registered staff.”

RCN Scotland associate director of learning and development Ellen Hudson said newly qualified nurses had been particularly hit by cuts in posts.

“As nursing makes up 40% of the NHS workforce, many health boards are looking at cutting nurses’ wage bill,” she said. “The way they are doing this is around posts that would have gone to newly qualified nurses.”


Readers' comments (20)

  • Leave. Seriously. Exodus.

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  • Qualified yet supernumary on an understaffed ward. Explain?

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  • Apprenticeships??????? Are they taking the piss? We are not some spotty 16 year old learning a trade!

    There is a raft of evidence that PROVES that less Nursing posts means less clinical care and higher mortality rates for patients, that is a fact.

    Perhaps these moronic health boards should be held to account legally for putting profits above lives?

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  • what an insult and further money poured down the drain!

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  • I am trying to be positive. It sounds as though there will be more jobs opened up (which is still better than a dole queue). It will put more bodies on the ward, I wouldnt mind being "supernumerary" as I will be an extra staff nurse on a shift (much better than being understaffed).

    I am going to wait and see what they say at the end of the month. As long as I get full time hours on band 5 I am not going to complain. However if the hours are patchy and they try to pay less than band 5...

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  • wow, what an insult to nq nurses in Scotland. These people are not apprentices, they are graduate nurses. They do not need an apprenticeship, they need jobs. Simple as.

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  • The word apprenticeship means that you will be on minimum wage with no unsocial hours pay.

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  • I feel for the NQNs who've been struggling to get jobs, I really do. But they can hold out hope - there will be ones soon. I'm aware of nurses who 'temporarily' cut their hours when returning from injury. Now when there are vacancies on the ward they're not being allowed to increase their hours again as 'they're too expensive' - experience is obviously no longer valued as it costs more coming up for the 'cheaper' nurses, so long as you don't mind the lack of experienced nurses that will be there to mentor you.

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  • What a disgrace & insult to students studying for their degree. I'll be on the first plane out of Scotland when I graduate.

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  • In my experience the big problem when starting out is getting your foot in the door. I also adgere to the old adage of 'if you don't use it you'll lose it' so in my opinion if this scheme gives someone a foot in the door and also gives them practical experience then it must be of some value. Whether they call it an "apprenticeship" or whatever is immaterial - it gives us a chance to impress and show prospective employers what we can do.

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