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Degree apprenticeships offer new route into nursing

The first cohort of students studying degree apprenticeships in nursing at the University of East Anglia (UEA) enrolled on their course today (19 February).

Offered in collaboration with the students’ employers at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCHC), the apprenticeship provides an alternative route into nursing from the traditional degree, and enables students to work while they gain their professional qualifications.

The degree apprenticeships are employer-funded and students work at their NHS Trust, while undertaking placements and classroom-based learning that was developed collaboratively by UEA, NNUH and NCHC.

The first cohort is a mixture of Assistant Practitioners, Health Care Assistants, already working for either the NNUH or NCHC, along with some people who have never worked in health before.

On completion of the course, students will be able to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and will be supported to apply for band 5 nursing roles.

Coral Drane, Course Director for UEA’s Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, said: “This innovative programme was developed to help meet the continuing demand for nurses in the region.

“The ‘earn while you learn’ course means that people who would like a career change, or are interested in upskilling, but are unable to undertake a traditional full-time nursing degree because of financial implications, are now able to enter into the profession.”

Jeremy Over, NNUH Director of Workforce, said: “This degree apprenticeship offers a brand new and additional route for individuals to become a registered nurse and is a crucial component of how we are investing in the healthcare workforce of the future for NNUH”.

Anna Morgan, Director of Nursing and Quality at NCHC, added: “With the healthcare landscape changing fast and many more people requiring care over the next five years, we are proud to be offering this Apprenticeship programme to support nursing recruitment across Norfolk.

“Our work is to support these placements and to seek opportunities to continue to work with our partners and to develop the future NHS workforce.”

Matt Berry, who works at the NNUH and begins the course today, said: “I chose to study the nursing degree apprenticeship to gain more knowledge and acquire the skills to better understand nursing. This will help me to provide the best possible care I can.”

Charlotte Green, from NCHC and also on the course, added: “I’m really looking forward to meeting all the different professionals on the course and hearing their stories- you can learn so much from them.”

The programme is open to both new and existing members of staff at NCHC looking to be develop their role within healthcare. For more information, contact: Georgia Rickman, NCHC Talent for Care Coordinator: careerdevelopment@nchc.nhs.uk