Birmingham City University welcomes first cohort of Nursing apprentices amidst battle to plug skills gap

Birmingham City University has welcomed its first cohort of nursing apprentices, as an MPs’ report revealed a growing shortage of nurses across the UK.

The University opened its doors to the first group of 15 apprentices on the course last week (week commencing 12 September), which allows them to earn while they learn.

The Registered Nursing Degree Apprenticeship is a work-integrated degree enabling people to train as an apprentice to become a graduate registered nurse.

The course, which has been developed in collaboration with local NHS partners and employers across the region, aims to provide an additional route into the profession to help tackle skills gaps and boost the nursing workforce.

Learners are able to study across the four fields of nursing: Adult, Child, Learning Disabilities or Mental Health, and is aimed at those already working within the healthcare field.

The course is designed to comply with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2018) educational standards in line with the Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education occupational standards.

A government report published last week revealed a growing shortage of nurses in the UK, noting that the “pace of progress on increasing the number of nurses in the NHS is too slow.”

Nursing apprenticeships provide an alternative pathway into the profession, which course leaders believe could be crucial in attracting more to enter the profession.

Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing Helen Holder, who is Course Leader of the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship, said: “I’m excited to be involved in the launch of this addition to Birmingham City University’s growing number of routes of access into nursing, to meet the needs of the health service and ultimately our service users.

“During the course, apprentices will be nurtured in their own workplace and on placement, with regular tripartite reviews to monitor progress, involving support from their manager, University academic assessor and other clinical team members, with the ultimate goal of becoming a registered nurse with the NMC.

“As Course Leader, I wish them luck and look forward to supporting them throughout their learning journey.”

Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship project lead Jim Chapman added: “This course offers learners an additional route into the nursing profession. It has come about through authentic collaboration with NHS employers in the region and underlines the University’s position in the heart of this city.”

Practice Placement Manager Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and Project Manager for Birmingham and Solihull Learning Disability and Autism Workstream Raksana Begum said: “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to help develop our existing workforce.

“The degree apprenticeship has offered our healthcare assistants a career route that they may not have found attainable without financial support.

“The guarantee of employment at the end has also helped reassure apprentices that we are committed to developing and retaining our workforce. We look forward to seeing our staff grow and develop and are hopeful that this is the first cohort of many.”