First Nursing Degree Apprenticeship launched by Combined Healthcare

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust has launched its first Nursing Degree Apprenticeship programme (Mental Health pathway) in collaboration with academic partner University of Derby. 

The three-year, full-time degree apprenticeship has been implemented following funding secured by Health Education England (HEE) and Combined’s Trust Board, and announced during National Apprenticeship Week 2021. HEE’s funding of £8,300 per apprentice, per year supports the government’s commitment to increase the nursing workforce by 50,000 by 2025

“The apprenticeship programme presents a new route into nursing at Combined Healthcare – in collaboration with University of Derby – for our communities,” said Kenny Laing, Executive Director of Nursing & Quality, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust. “It allows us to grow our own cohort of nurses in conjunction with the government’s campaign to increase the nursing workforce, and we look forward to welcoming the first apprentices here in March.”  

“As an inclusive Trust, our aim is to encourage a diverse range of applicants for these apprenticeships; candidates who are representative of our local communities, supporting our widening participation focus,” said Shajeda Ahmed, Director of People, OD & Inclusion. “It’s a celebration of team working to secure the funding and turn the apprenticeship programme around within very tight timescales and in a pandemic year – the apprentices will benefit the Trust and our communities, so thank you to all colleagues involved including Nursing, Widening Participation/OD, Finance, HR and Recruitment.” 

Dr Paula Holt MBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care, University of Derby, said: “Apprenticeships are now one of a number of routes into nursing and the healthcare professions, and I am delighted that we are working with the Trust to offer this new opportunity.

“The chance to learn ‘on the job’ in care settings, with mentoring and guidance from experienced colleagues, provides that vital real world experience which complements the academic programme our students follow, and prepares them so well for their future careers. 

“The challenge of the pandemic and the pressure it is currently placing on the NHS will fully immerse the apprentices in what is a hugely rewarding career, as well as enabling them to play their part by offering vital additional support to those working on the frontline.”

The cohort will commence on 1 March 2021.