Taking nursing to the next level with a Foundation Degree Apprenticeship

More than 30 healthcare staff have taken the next step to becoming a nurse by started a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Wolverhampton. 

The role of a Nursing Associate aims to bridge the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses, enabling nurses to spend more time on clinical duties and take more of a lead in decisions about patient care.

The latest cohort of Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprentices attended induction days at the University’s Walsall Campus during National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March 2019).

The 36 Apprentices are from a variety of healthcare settings and NHS trusts within the West Midlands, including the Walsall NHS Trust, Dudley NHS Trust, Black Country Partners, Sandwell and West Birmingham Acute NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG. There are also Apprentices from independent health organisations, such as BMI Healthcare.

Kelly Souter, from BMI Bath Clinic, is one of the new Nursing Associate Apprentices. She said: “The Apprenticeship route is particularly appealing to me because it means I can juggle family life and I can earn as I’m learning. I hope to gain the experience, skills and knowledge to become a nurse when I finish.”

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Steve Collins, from Dudley NHS Trust, added: “I have worked in healthcare for the last seven years and I feel now is the time to move on with my skills level and develop my knowledge to expand my career opportunities. We are paid as we work and learn so with family commitments it is the ideal route for me.”

Jackie Mitchell, Head of Apprenticeships within the University’s Institute of Health, said: “It’s a real privilege in National Apprenticeship Week to be working with the team to start a new cohort of Nursing Associate Apprentices at the Walsall campus.

“Across all of our seven nursing associate cohorts to date, the University has been working collaboratively with 15 employers within the UK since January 2017 in developing this new nursing role to meet local and national workforce plans.”

Lorna Kelly, from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “For providers of healthcare, Nursing Associate Apprentices are a ‘Win, Win, Win’ situation. The health provider organisation wins because it has the opportunity to contribute to the development of its staff by ensuring that Apprentices have the right skills, attitudes and behaviours to deliver high quality patient care. 

“The Apprentice ‘wins’ because it provides an access to education that they might not have otherwise been able to access. Most importantly, our patients ‘win’ - they are being looked after by staff who have an increased level of skills and knowledge.”

The Nursing Associate will play a key part within the multi-disciplinary workforce that is needed to respond to the future needs of the public and patients, and play an important role in expanding the healthcare workforce. Nursing Associate Apprentices will be highly trained, and work alongside healthcare support workers and qualified nurses focusing on the provision of quality patient care.

As well as the Nursing Associate Degree Apprenticeship, the University offers Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in Chartered Management (CMDA), Higher Apprenticeship in Construction Management with pathways for Civil Engineering & Built Environment, Chartered Surveyor, Chartered Legal Executive, Manufacturing Engineer, Design & Development Engineer, Civil Engineering, Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, Postgraduate Teaching, Digital and Technology Solutions Professional and Healthcare Science Practitioner (Respiratory & Sleep Physiology or Cardiac Physiology) Degree Apprenticeships.

Future Higher/Degree Apprenticeships will include Policing, Social Work, Building Control, Laboratory Science and Paramedic Degree Apprenticeships.

There are over 450 apprentices are already studying for Higher and Degree level qualifications at the University, which works with approximately 150 employers.

For more information about Degree Apprenticeships, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/apprenticeshiphub or call: 01902 321000.

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