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Nurse apprenticeships to begin in September 2017


Students will be able to start degree-level nurse apprenticeships from September 2017, the government has confirmed as it announced £4.5 million of funding will be given to universities to develop new courses launching next year.

Four universities will offer nurse apprenticeships from next autumn, while another that is involved in testing the forthcoming nursing associate role will also be given funding.

Universities and colleges across England are set to offer 5,200 new degree-level apprenticeships in 2017, covering a range of sectors including healthcare.

“This multi-million pound fund will allow universities and colleges to work with top employers to design high-quality degree apprenticeships”

Robert Halfon 

Nurse apprenticeships will be offered at the Universities of Derby, Gloucestershire, Greenwich, and Sunderland.

In addition, funding for creating a nursing associate apprenticeship will be given to the University of Wolverhampton in partnership with Walsall College, City of Wolverhampton College and Birmingham Metropolitan College.

The introduction of nurse apprenticeships comes at the same time as major changes to funding for student nurses on traditional pre-registration degree courses, who will no longer receive bursaries and instead have to take out a loan to cover tuition and living costs from September 2017.

The apprenticeships are designed as an alternative to traditional courses, with participants spending part of their time at university and the other part with their employer.

“Degree apprenticeships… give people a real chance to earn while you learn”

Robert Halfon

This is the first round of funding to be awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to course providers, as part of a two-year programme.

Skills and apprenticeships minister Robert Halfon said: “Apprenticeships work, that’s why we’ve launched degree apprenticeships that give people a real chance to earn while you learn, putting you on the fast track to a top career.

“This multi-million pound fund will allow universities and colleges to work with top employers to design high-quality degree apprenticeships that give people a ladder of opportunity, more choice and help shape Britain to become an apprentice nation.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Health unveiled a target of 100,000 new apprenticeships in the NHS in England by 2020.

The government first announced its plans for nursing degree apprenticeships in 2014 as a way of attracting the brightest healthcare assistants, who may lack the entry requirements for university, into the profession.

A government consultation on a draft version of the standard for degree-level nurse apprenticeships closed in September.

But responding to the consultation at the time, the Royal College of Nursing warned of the “serious risks” of how quickly the plans were being drawn up.

It said it supported apprenticeships “as part of increasing the provision of greater choice and variety of routes into registered nursing”.

But the union said there were “serious risks with the pace at which these reforms are being designed and implemented” and a lack of clarity around how it fitted with other changes being made to the education and training of the nursing workforce, including other apprenticeship routes in health and social care.


Readers' comments (68)

  • Hearing this is great news for myself, I'm currently a nursing assistant completing an access course to do my nurse training but the fear of struggling without a regular wage is terrifying. I'm hoping this will mean I have a better chance of being able to do my training! Does anyone have any information on the hours that will be worked, the salary and the time this degree will take to complete?


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  • Is it only your work who has to put you through for this course or you can apply on your own. Any information will be great.

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  • Taking out s loan to train as s nurse is madness would not recommend it as you not just have the stress of paying back the loan but the stress of a very badly run NHS

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  • With this and the new nursing associate role what kind of work will the registered nurse be undertaking??

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  • So really it undermines the qualifications needed to attend a brick university. A healthcare may be the brightest of the bunch with promise and potential but can I just ask why the reason is they haven't got the aptitude to gain a C in English and Math or at least an access course when it seems such an important entry requirement.

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  • Anonymous 7:04 - This person WILL be the Registered Nurse once she/he's qualified. Just a different route to the Nursing degree

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  • I'm currently on an access course to go to uni to become an adult nurse. I don't understand why take away the bursary next year only to reinstate it to fund this degree.

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  • I recommend caution with ideas to 'fast track' nursing, esp in a nationalised system which sees cost benefit when training is thorough. I'm a masters prepared nurse trained in the US, now UK resident, and have been working w NMC processes for more than a year to practice simply because I am US trained! Nothing can replace 'homegrown', well trained staff. But also consider refining current redundant NMC application processes. US has mandated minimum university degrees for all nurses for several years, and latest stats show an excess of newly trained US nurses. Consider the cost savings for inherent quality.

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  • RIP graduate entry nursing. Won't be long before the three year nursing degree is dropped in favour of degree 'level' apprenticeships as the only route into Registered nursing.
    Since 2010, the government has sought to put nurses firmly in their place (i.e. underfoot):
    - propaganda around pensions and reformed / slashed / robbed
    - role of the chief nurse demoted
    - A4C terms watered down
    - limits on agency pay
    - pay degradation due to inflation and poor yearly uplift
    - removal of bursary for students
    - likely further watering down of A4C (unsocial hours) in the post
    - and now watering down the graduate status of the profession.

    Don't be surprised when future 'renegotiations' involves downgrading registered nurse entry into A4C (or replacement system) to Band 4 - you heard it here first... the Government know we will moan and bitch about it, but ultimately will do nothing because we will never strike. Also, there is clearly a ready supply of HCAs who will readily take on the job (can't blame them), with little fuss.

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  • Anonymous, 10 NOVEMBER, 2016 10:50 PM.

    I predict exactly the same. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I can't see it happening. We are in a very sad place right now.

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