As part of the Government’s pledge to deliver 50,000 new nurses, a £172m fund has been made available to encourage the uptake of Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeships (RNDA).
The OU, as the largest provider of nursing apprenticeships in England, collaborated with NHS partners and other educators to lobby for this funding, providing evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee as part of their nursing apprenticeship inquiry. This is a significant investment to the development of the future nursing and healthcare workforce, and brings a welcome advantage for many NHS trusts, healthcare providers, their workers, and patients.
Healthcare organisations who already pay into the apprenticeship levy can utilise this for nursing apprenticeships, and this new HEE funding will also assist in covering some of the additional costs of training apprentices. The NHS, and organisations delivering 50% or more of their services to the NHS, will be able to access financial support to backfill apprentices’ training hours as they study and gain experience across a range of healthcare settings. Up until 31 January 2021 employers will also receive a financial bonus for each new apprentice they hire.
With over 500 nurse apprentices currently training with the OU across 68 employer partner organisations, we know that accessibility is one of the key benefits of the apprenticeship route into the nursing profession. The Open University’s Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship enables apprentices to continue to work and earn whilst they train to become a nurse. For employers, the apprenticeship provides the opportunity to develop their existing support staff to become Registered Nurses, as well as the option to recruit new talent to their organisation. Opening up nurse training to a wider pool of learners provides significant benefits for the individuals as well as their employers.
Fiona Dobson, Co-Qualifications Director, says "Many Health Care Assistants have children, elderly dependents, a mortgage, and just can’t afford to step away from the pay, benefits and pension of their existing contract. This has traditionally prevented many skilled and motivated staff from training to become a nurse. ‘Earn-while-you-learn’ degree apprenticeships allow employers to tap into their internal staff resource and ‘grow their own’ talent."
The OU currently offer Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeships in nursing fields for Adult, Children and young people, Learning disability, and Mental health. Discover more here.