University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is on the cusp of launching a “ground-breaking” nurse apprenticeship scheme for 2018, which is says will provide a “jobs boost to the region”.
The scheme, among the first of its kind in the UK, will see those recruited to the course combine vocational training with accredited qualifications, on a “journey” to full-time roles within the trust.
“This provides opportunities for staff to progress their nurse training whilst remaining a member of our workforce”
The nurse degree apprenticeship, being provided in partnership with University of Cumbria, will offer individuals the opportunity to train as a registered adult nurse.
It forms part of a national initiative being driven by the Department of Health in England that aims to begin training nursing staff via registered nurse degree apprenticeships.
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The first Morecambe Bay cohort of the nurse degree apprenticeship scheme is currently open to existing members of staff at the trust who wish to pursue a registered nurse qualification.
In order to be eligible to apply, candidates must hold a permanent contract within the trust and have completed their six-month probationary period.
Entry criteria is five GCSEs to include Maths and English and three A-Levels or equivalent. Applicants who do not have GCSE Maths and English can apply if they have successfully completed Level 2 Functional Skills in Maths and English.
It is anticipated this programme will commence in late February, though the University of Cumbria is still awaiting final approval of the programme pathway from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The programme is four years in length, but prior learning and qualifications will be taken into account on an individual basis, said the trust.
Trust deputy chief nurse Lynn Wyre said: “This is an extremely welcome development and provides opportunities for staff to progress their nurse training whilst remaining a member of our workforce.
“There is significant interest from staff for the programme, including form those who have successfully completed the healthcare support worker apprentice programme,” she noed.
“These apprenticeships will play a vital role in helping us fill positions in hard to recruit to areas”
Lauren Mawson, principal lecturer in professional practice at Cumbria University’s nursing department, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with UHMBT in becoming an early adopter of the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship Programme.
“The apprentices will receive the benefits of an employer supported vocational approach to learning as well as university higher education provision and support to achieve a BSc (Hons) Nursing qualification within four years,” she said.
A second scheme, the healthcare science associate apprenticeship will enable people to qualify as healthcare science associates and take up posts in pathology services.
Six existing trust staff members have already been selected for the apprenticeship, delivered in partnership with Kendal College, and will commence their training in January 2018.
Amanda O’Brien, the trust’s vocational services manager, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first in the country to be offering these exciting apprenticeship opportunities.
“I look forward to seeing 25 recruits to the Nurse Degree Apprenticeship later in the year,” she said. “These apprenticeships will play a vital role in helping us fill positions in hard to recruit to areas.”