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Nursing apprenticeships may not be sustainable

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Higher education could be more effective Higher education could be more effective than apprenticeships

The government must invest in nursing higher education, the RCN has said, after a report found that apprenticeships are not sustainable.

The report by the House of Commons Education Committee Nursing, Degree Apprenticeships: In Poor Health?, said that the idea that nursing degree apprenticeships were a realistic and sustainable route into the nursing profession was 'a mirage’.

'Nursing degree apprenticeships are far from the magic bullet the Government promised to grow nurse numbers and keep patients safe,’ said Dr Anne Corrin, RCN Head of Professional Learning and Development.

‘They are trapped in a tangle of regulation that offers cash-strapped employers little incentive to run schemes and recruit apprentices. Take up is very low. We support the recommendations in the report that seek to address these issues.

The warns that uptake of the apprenticeships has been slow and that there is ‘no evidence’ to show how the target of 400 nursing associates progressing to degree apprenticeships from 2019 will be met.

‘However, we are concerned the report suggests a more flexible approach to students’ learning status,’ added Dr Corrin. ‘The RCN is clear that the Government must commit to maintaining supernumerary status for nursing apprentices, so that they are not counted in staffing numbers. Supernumerary status is vital if apprenticeships are to provide the safe route into nursing that patients deserve.’

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we have an HCA who was hoping and planning to be supported to do a nursing apprentice ship , employer was willing to cover the percentage of course cost but unable to support her to do this as no funding towards backfill of the 22 hours per week she was expected to be supernumery . small employers like gp surgeries in primary care cannot afford to be paying one employee to train and another to cover her work load .
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